Saturday, August 31, 2019

Adieu... to August... and Summertime Dreams

It struck me today in the darkness of my pre-dawn vigil that summer's strength and vigour was rapidly declining. Not just in the later appearance of morning's light which was so visibly obvious... but as well in the other sounds and aromas that accompany summer.

There is is a certain sense of increased "ripeness" in the fields. Young maples have in many places already begun to show the rich color which all maples attain each fall. Now golden grain crops in the fields already have begun being cut and harvested. Hay is resting in bales... awaiting transport to the barns where they will await their winter use as fodder for livestock.

At first light this morning, I was joined on the balcony by the usually shy and suspicious hummingbirds. I suspect that they were forced into risking contact by the growing scarcity of flowering garden plants that they are customarily drawn to... either in the open fields... or in nearby  private gardens. We know from many years of enjoying their presence in our gardens and at Deb's feeder stations that there is sudden surge in their feeding habits in late August.

This event signals their knowledge and memory of their long southward journey. They are forced by instinct to set aside usual timidity and to give over to a feeling of necessity. This impulse seems to replace whatever safeguards they usually observe and practice. We will miss them... but Deb remarked that they at least found us in our new home. Almost certainly they seem to return to safe feeding havens each spring.

Cooler night and morning temperatures certainly alert one to "changes in the air". I enjoy this period of transition. It offers me the opportunity to adjust my painting activity and thinking about new themes and ideas. I am happy to know now that I am able to regain my plein air preferences.

I edged back into being outdoors during the past week... carefully at first and limiting my speed and scale of work. I will continue to build gradually... knowing with certainty that my body and gait are certainly weakened and require more rebuilding and time to heal. I work in the outdoor pool every evening... where I have it to myself almost every evening. The workout is less demanding because it is not weight bearing. But all muscles do receive full benefit from the activity.

I chose a nearby location where I [believed] that I could  maintain some essence of quiet and undisturbed solitude. Misjudgment... but not wholly so. Just kept my head down and painting. I took the painting to a lay in stage and decided to bring it back inside to consider what it lacked... or needed added for a second run. It certainly lacked "finish"... and polish.

This afternoon, I decided not to return to Kingston Mills Lock to complete it. I felt that it had enough in it to drive a strong finish based upon what my memory and recall could work with. The on site work was very loose... to the point of being "iffy". The inside treatment tightened things up. But I feel that the final outcome incorporates the best of both approaches.

In any event... let's call it "done".

                                               "Inspiration... alongside perspiration"...

I felt that the idea contained within my words in the title for the post cover the feelings that I have tried to express about August... and Dreams. Summer is fleeting at best. So are dreams. Dreams represent cherished hope. While Summer and Dreams share a vision of limitless time. Life says otherwise.

"Yesterday's Dreams" - oil on canvas 10 x 12 inches- Kingston Mills Lock

I chose this tiny summer retreat... perched forgotten on a granite finger reaching into the languid, lily-choked inlet on Colonel By Lake,  just above the Rideau Canal Locks #45 and 46 at Kingston Mills. I have customarily visited... and on occasion, I have even painted this jaunty, but neglected summer relic. Never... in the thirty odd years that have passed can I recall any sort of flurry of summer activity, or excitement there.

Surely... it must have enjoyed its 'day in the sun'. Somewhere... someone must have shared precious summer moments and memories within these walls and along its quiet shores.

I wonder...  Maybe next year????

Stay tuned...

Good Painting to ALL!!


  1. So glad that you are mended enough to get out painting that is very good news! Good for heart and soul. I feel quite sad for that lovely house with its cheerful blue roof if it's not in use. If it was mine you would have a job to keep me away - a lovely subject for painting. Here's to many more days 'out there'.

  2. Hi there Lisa,

    Thank you for stopping by and for adding in your own thoughts about the subject. I too share your thought of sadness at its lonely plight. It is indeed attractive to my eye and my own search for a perfect mix of beauty and solitude. It certainly qualifies on both counts in my own mind... "still waters"... for certain and it does soothe my soul.

    I will continue to put forth the effort to continue to paint outdoors. I feel so invigorated by the sights... sounds and energy that Nature streams "live" when I am "out there".

    I know that you and I both share an uncommon love of the environment in which we are blessed to find on our doorstep. I wish you rich walks along your wonderful beach reserves and many seaside treasures to fuel your painting themes.

    Warmest regards,

  3. Hi Bruce,

    This piece certainly fits the title. The house, with its distinctive roof, on its isolated promontory, has an air of loneliness and faded glory. It encourages the mind to wander, and wonder about its history and inhabitants. 'Yesterday's Dreams' indeed!

    All the best,

  4. Good evening Keith!... Yes, you and I show a definite affinity and love of recording such relics from our past. Their voices still speak deeply to us and its our passion and reverence for heritage and the people who created it.

    Thanks for sharing your feelings and observations. I greatly appreciate them Keith.

    Warmest regards... and happy Fall Painting!

  5. Your loose and painterly approach has added wonder and poetry to this lonely little house - so glad you are well enough to plein air paint.

  6. Hi Susan!... We share a predilection to embrace the painterly approach and impressionism to fuel our need to create and express our thoughts and ideas.

    These approaches evoke wonder and invite participation by our viewer to interpret ... as they wish. That's exactly what draws me to your paintings. Though your subjects physically around you on the outside, they "speak" from the inside... out.

    Thank you for your kind words of encouragement and support. They mean so much... coming from you!

    Warmest regards,

  7. Hello Bruce, I came on over from Susan's blog because I really enjoyed the comment you left regarding rejection and the wonderful meeting that came from it. Your painting is full of life and marvelous brushwork. KUDOS!

  8. Hi Julie.... Welcome to my blog! I am most heartened and greatly encouraged to have "kindred spirits" like Susan and yourself to come visit... and value what you discover here in my work.

    Like yourself... I could hardly be called "emerging"... and yet in many respects I am. As an educator I continue to believe (and teach/preach) lol that creativity is integral to growing as an artist... and indeed as a human being. I strive to do so in every aspect of my life.

    I hope that you will visit regularly, or whenever you are able... if you are so inclined. I will bookmark your site and become a regular at your door. I love the vitality... freshness and spirit of risking that is so obviously in each of your wonderful works.

    Thanks for dropping by and offering your valuable thoughts!

    Warmest regards... good fall painting!

    PS Grant MacDonald... the artist I mentioned who attended the Artist League in New York offered this piece of advice to me in my visit to his home.

    "Don't stop painting what exists only in your heart and mind alone. But be prepared to accept that entering juried competitions and knocking on gallerists doors will very often bring you face to face with rejection. Always remember - it is but one opinion!!"

    That has become my mantra... and brought me to this very moment in my long and joyous art journey.