Sunday, September 2, 2012

September Song...

"September Song" - oil on canvas 30x24 inches

Oh it's a long, long while from may to December
But the days grow short when you reach September
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
And you ain't got time for the waiting game

When the days dwindle down to a precious few
September... November
And these few golden days I'd share with you
Those golden days I'll share with you

This has been the project that has captured most of my thoughts... time and interest over the summer. It has been in my mind constantly... gradually emerged out of the mists of my imagination and planning... and is finally on canvas.

There are a few canvases in one's life which have special personal meaning... which reveal and reflect memories and events worth remembering about one's life. This canvas will always remain that for me... and by the manner in which it has already been received... many others feel similarly and are attracted to it. Perhaps... it might become my second foray into the giclee world! Food for thought and consideration with my partner in crime!

As I reviewed the folder of jpegs that I had collected labelled "River Vesper in Process", I realized that the final outcome... the canvas itself spoke more eloquently on its own... rather than being accompanied by the  description and numerous jpegs at different stages to describe how I arrived at the end of the creative process. Even the title "River Vesper" seemed somehow to be just as redundant. While it did eloquently offer insight into my deep feelings of almost religious respect for the River that I have lived most of my life... this newer and larger version of the the 7x5 inch panel created months ago offered much more to the viewer. Visually... the additional attention to line and detail in the skiff and the deeper sense of mood and more accurate aerial perspective are radically changed and improved upon in my mind. In a phrase... it better expresses my original feeling and intentions. So I have posted the image on its own for you to enjoy.

Rewind back to the introduction of the post. "September Song" ranks with the most beloved of my personal playlist. Co-written by Maxwell Anderson and Kurt Weil for the Broadway play "Knickerbocker Holiday"  in 1930... it has become a classic and since then has been reworked and returned successfully to the hit charts by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughn Sammy Davis Jr, Willy Nelson, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, Lionel Hampton, Gracie Allen, Ray Coniff, Eddie Duchin, Dion and the Belmonts, Montovani, Gordon McRae....  and the list goes on endlessly.Need I say more? This particularly popular classic has been performed in every conceivable musical genre... and by the icons in each. And why? Because the melody in concert with the "lyrics-beyond-lyrics"... reach into the very soul of every human being who embraces music in their lives. The work knows no borders... and has  few equals in contemporary music!

"September Song" offers a universal connection to the bitter-sweet feelings we all share about the departure of summer... closing the cottage... the beginning of school... empty nesting... saying goodbye to relatives and summer friends. While the feelings are not at all sadness on a tragic level... they are indeed felt whenever the events mentioned above reoccur... and usually they do in the each and every September.

Perhaps my being a teacher... knowing that the arrival of September meant that  my freedom to realize and enjoy some of my own needs... amongst them time with my own family and painting space was slip-sliding away. But it dates much earlier than that period in my life. I felt that nostalgic twinge heavy-heartedly delivering my US summer friends to the wharf here in Rockport... knowing that we would not see each other until next summer. Too... in those early years of growing up at the Narrows, I would miss the seemingly endless warm summer mornings of early rising to search out fish.... berries and solitude in the quiet Island places.

On a purely lyrical interpretation of the song... it is about treasuring the years left in one's life and in the joy of spending them ... with that "special " Someone... to watch over "You". I am indeed blessed to be sharing my life with such a person... "Someone Special" in these autumn days of my own journey. "I" am deeply blessed... as I know many of you are as well... to share your own journey with your own Someone Special.

I would appreciate hearing back what feelings... if any... this painting conjures up from within you. Does September sing a special song for you? Does it harken back happier times?...

I wonder!...

Good Painting to ALL!!!


  1. September is one of my favourite months, new term, new beginnings. I associate September with the smell of new pencils and books - a memory of school, it feels full of possibilities. Your painting to me has the same feeling. A quick step off into the boat and new adventures down river to be had, maybe not literally but in the world of fiction with the colder months to come.
    I like the more muted palette of this one and stronger tonal contrasts.

  2. Good morning Lisa!... It is plain to see that "You" have returned much of your "child within." Your memories of adventures passed serve to fuel your optimism and vision of adventures to come.

    It is those muted hues and tones of autumn... those lasting briefly after the blaze of flaming reds and golds which I love best. I am happy that you find these qualities in this painting. Mission accomplished!

    Thanks for dropping by... and for sharing your own treasured memories of September.

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  3. I can always count on a magnificent piece and heartfelt words from you, Bruce. This post is no different in that regard. I always LOVE September. When I was a kid, I never could wait to go back to school in the fall. I love the changing of the leaves, the smells of autumn in the air, the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas to come... The song "Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go..." is a song that always brought up all these things in my imagination as some good old fashioned homeyness as well. Sigh...(Your maple sugar paintings for some reason also give rise to those same types of thoughts and feelings, for some reason - I know it isn't even the same season...)

  4. September is indeed the month. Weather changes. Colours become bolder. Life is good. Looking forward to the IPAP Paint Out. Very nicely done Bruce! Congratulations.

  5. Good Morning Sherry!... I am always thrilled to visit with you because... there still is so much "kid" in "You... despite the years!

    You have put it well! September is the month of great anticipation - the joy in every child's life! Change and adventure are the constant companions of childhood. Sadly... as we age and leave childhood (some of us)... change becomes threatening and we spend most of our hours and precious time resisting change.

    Thank you for sharing your September song... and upbeat feelings Sherry!

    Happy Fall!
    Warmest regards,

  6. Hi Phil!... Life is... as good as you make it! Looking forward to fall painting in the Park and in the Islands.

    A brief window of special painting opportunity... and my favourite time to be alone with Creation!

    Good luck with your painting!

  7. A powerful piece, Bruce! And it's a perfect fit with the song.

    In your painting, I see a reaching upward as though imploring Heaven and the Host. I see this in the bow of the boat...ladder posts on the dock...the far tree line..and most of all in those almost human branches curving and stretching Heavenward. They look absolutely prayerful.

    My "Someone Special" is under the care of our Lord. So I know they both are watching over me as I listen to the last few bars of my "Autumn Song".

    You are indeed Blessed...Good painting,

  8. Dear Dean!... Powerful and deeply encouraging words... and "I" thank "You" for taking the time to send them along!

    "Prayerful" is a perfect description because the place that I go out to en plein air is indeed my place of worship and prayer Dean!

    It is in that place that "I" feel His" presence... his love and His forgiveness!

    "I" am deeply blessed to have "Some One Special" at my side... and others in the company of your "Someone Special"...

    We are both deeply blessed!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  9. This September is not like any other for me. The end of September used to signify the end of my companies financial year end and, as the accountant, that triggered the onset of 3 months intensive work through to Xmas. So September was my last bit of freedom for a while. However, I retired early this year so the end of September no longer has any relevance to me, so I am enjoying the month without the sense of impending gloom that I used to have.
    Your painting is superb, as always. I love the composition as I find my eyes drawn to the distant 'shack'. Great work Bruce.
    Warmest Regards

  10. Hi there John!... Always nice to hear from you ... and always elevating in spirit as well! Thank you for that!

    Welcome to the ranks of the "re-tired"... meaning a new set of tires to travel on! HA HA! Isn't it wonderful to discover... that there is indeed ... "life after work"??? Enjoy!

    While my career choice was teaching... I am able to carry on my work in that field... choosing my assignments... hours and teach my own "curriculum"... subject to no predetermined expectations "from above"... as you felt in your own line of work!

    It would appear from all of the comments and yours as well... that the painting and particularly its composition works!

    My full intention is that your eye gets back to that distant boat house... a place that not only is used for boat docking and storage... but in its upper reaches in this neck-o-the-woods... most often serve as summer quarters for cottagers... their children...or their overflow of guest visitors.

    Thanks for the sharing of your own September feelings John! I wish you a long... happy and healthy retirement... full of great painting opportunities!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  11. Wonderful evocative painting Bruce and a beautiful post all of which I identify with. Still all and all September is a month I love.
    Though at times it can be melancholy for many of us...


  12. Hi there Jeffrey!... I share you sentiments entirely about September! It is a moody month of extreme change for both the natural and human world!

    I so look forward to fall painting with the colour change so vivid and exalting... and also... this year ... that we get the River back from noisier less courteous traffic that rules the waves throughout the summer.

    Melancholy is only one part of the full range of human emotional experience. I think that it makes artists better interpreters of the human experience to have felt that moment... and others... as we do!

    Thanks for dropping by and for sharing your thoughts about September!

    Good Fall Painting!
    Warmest regards,