Tag Archives: autumn in the valley

Autumn in the Valley

Autumn in the Valley, pastel painting, 31" x 27", 2009

Autumn in the Valley, pastel painting, 31″ x 27″, 2009

Autumn in the Watershed

Sloping hills blaze with autumn color at a rocky, rippled bend in Chartiers Creek, yet on the horizon deep gray-purple clouds hover; although the day was sunny I remember it being distinctly chilly with a sharpness to the breeze, especially on the water in a canoe, and winter is literally on the horizon.

For two reasons the scene was reminiscent and inspiring: first, that I rounded the bend to see this natural splendor in all its detail, brilliant color, fluttering leaves, rippling water, changing clouds, happening all on its own with no help from me or any other human (read the poem, below) ; and, second, it was an example of that “change of season” with the gray-purple clouds of winter arriving on the horizon, two seasons blending into one another. I needed to share this image, and it was so moving that the inspiration also became a poem, and the title for my third annual poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, Change of Season.

detail of painting

Detail of upper clouds.

And again, no, I couldn’t paint while paddling, and my little digital photos didn’t do the scene justice, yet other than wading down the creek and setting up an easel in the middle of the water, there was no other way of painting this. To take the scene from the tiny digital image to the full-size painting took a good bit of memory and visualization; it’s a good thing I’m very familiar with scenes like this. I don’t often work at this level of detail, especially at this size, but in order to share what I took from this moment, I found myself worker ever deeper into the minutiae of the scene so that others, viewing it, could hear the light lapping of the water, watch the clouds move, feel the warm sun on your back but the chill wind on your face, and the glory of those tree-covered hills.

detail of painting

Detail of that moment of change.

You really have to get into “the zone”, though, while working at that level on the painting, letting go of your space, yourself, to get back to that moment and all your perceptions from that time. I still go there when I look at the original, which was purchased and made a gift to Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall and hangs in the Reception Hall.

In the mini-ecosystem in the valley along Chartiers Creek, the color show begins a little later and the trees keep their leaves a little longer, perhaps because of the extra humidity along the water through the dry heat of late summer. The diversity of species is generally much greater in both the trees and the understory brush and grasses, which encourages a greater diversity of foliage color and shape. When the show begins, it’s absolutely breathtaking and it gets more stunning every day until a November storm rips the last of the leaves away.

detail of painting

Detail of reflections on the water.

This area of the creek is approximately below Rosslyn Farms, between Carnegie and Crafton. In this area, the creek’s channel was widened and dredged deeper and the banks made more sloping through the Fulton Flood Control Project, allowing all the runoff from upstream communities to flow ever faster down the valley without overflowing the banks or backing up into Carnegie, as had happened prior to the Project. Also, many of the trees were removed from the banks up to a certain level. Still, even with that modification, the channel remains beautiful and inviting in this lovely and unseen area of Chartiers Creek.

You can find a full-size giclee plus various sizes of digital prints, framed and unframed in my Etsy shop.

A Poem Inspired by the Scene

I actually wrote a poem about the scene before I did the painting, so inspiring was that particular moment.

Effortless

I paddled the canoe around the bend,
And was faced with the effortless beauty of the panorama,
The trees in all their colors, the sky with changing clouds,
The water moving and reflecting simultaneously,
All perfectly arranged,
I realized that my creations are but raindrops in a puddle,
Wisps of cloud that change and dissipate
My solitary accomplishments borne of great effort
Would never equal this one solitary scene
Or the one I would have seen the day before or the day after
Evolved on its own, no one to frame it and display it and promote it
As it quietly exists through the day.
We humans sometimes get to think everything happens because of us
But these trees and grasses and hills arrange themselves
And create great beauty effortlessly
Simply in the process of their everyday existence.
So I did a painting that can never match the original
So that I may remember my place.

Read the rest of the poetry from my annual poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, in 2009 entitled Change of Season.

Art On Sale

All my autumn artwork is on sale until the Winter Solstice. Read this post to find out more and how to use your discount code.

About Art of the Watershed

A series of seasonal images of the Lower Chartiers Watershed

pastel painting of snowy woods with stream at dusk

Dusk in the Woods, pastel © B.E.Kazmarski

“I have travelled a good deal in Concord,” said Henry David Thoreau in Walden, his paradox of exploring a small town and its surroundings teaching him as much about human life and the interactions of nature as if he had traveled rare and exotic places about the globe.

I’d love to paint faraway exotic places, but in the interests of time I stay close to home for my hiking, bicycling, canoeing, walking and painting excursions, that being the valley where the Lower Chartiers Creek flows.

I’ve seen some exquisite sights on my adventures, and committed them to various media. The most moving are the ones I’ve chosen to paint large and in detail so that I might convey at least a portion of the grandeur that moved me beyond awe to action, sharing the places right around us though most people would never see them. Thus was born the series offering an image indicative of the watershed in each season.

Visit my website to see the full set of paintings included in the “Art of the Watershed” series.

Autumn in the Valley availability

You can find a full-size giclee plus various sizes of digital prints, framed and unframed in my Etsy shop.

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My Autumn Gallery

painting of birch trees with autumn leaves

Birches 2: Radiance, ink and watercolor, 2002, © B. E. Kazmarski

As the Harvest Moon has passed and October approaches, I’m sensing signs of autumn everywhere, in the angle and color of sunlight, leaves beginning to change from green to their autumn garb, geese flying south and my bird feeders mobbed by birds on some days, and cooler days and nights.

Just as I have galleries of summer and winter artwork, so do I have a gallery of autumn artwork; I’ll feature just a few here in this post, but you can read about others in my Etsy gallery. As much of autumn artwork has to do with trees doing their autumn thing, and Western Pennsylvania is largely tree covered, I’ve had a lot of material to work with through the years. Some are painted en plein air, but some are studio pieces, like the birch trees above.

And I can offer an infinite number of things on Etsy, but sometimes it’s easier to let you choose what you want. Please scroll to the end for details.

Birches 1 and 2

painting of birch trees with autumn leavs

Birches 1: Autumn Showers, oil pastel, 1999 © B.E. Kazmarski

From the time I met the paper birch in our front yard I have always been attracted to the delicately detailed white bark of birch trees which seemed to emit its own faint light in any season. Here, in the darkness of the woods, the grouping of white trunks looks like a crowd clustered for discussion, decorated by a maple branch in Birches 1: Autumn Showers.

The technique was an experiment borne of an off-hand remark from a fellow artist. I had just been experimenting with oil pastels, which at first felt like slippery crayons but soon grew to have their own life as I understood the best ways to achieve the colors and textures I wanted. The artist friend mentioned that you could also work with them using turpentine, either softening the crayons in it or drawing on the paper, then painting turpentine over the oil pastel to blend or spread. I chose to use a combination of these as well as wetting the paper with the turpentine and drawing on that area with the oil pastel. The resulting painting actually looks dimensional, and I know it’s only because of the different textures in the work.

Birches 2, detail

Here’s a detail of Birches 2: Radiance.

We have lovely birch groves here in Western Pennsylvania, and this image was reminiscent of one I had encountered while hiking somewhere near me. Not just the white bark, but the contrast with the thin dark twigs and ripples in the bark, is eye-catching, but that autumn display of yellow leaves is nearly blinding. Add a few other leaves to the mix and it becomes a classic autumn scene.

This painting is a real favorite in any color or size; I think others react to the details and the colors as I did when I saw the scene and visualized the painting.

The original is quite large, 22″ x 23″, and drawn in a very fine line black ink. I used a technical pen (a Rapidograph, if anyone remembers those) to draw all the details of the birch trees, taking nearly three weeks just to draw the trees. Even though I’d been visualizing it with the color added for the leaves, after all that work I was hesitant to start painting into the drawing for fear I’d mess it up and ruin all that work. But I got over that and began filling in the leaves in all shades of yellow.

Other subjects too

I’ll review other individual paintings as well, including their meaning to me at the time I painted them since, for some reason, most of my autumn paintings have a story having something to do with family, or my career, and even my cats.

painting of autumn street scene

View from Beechwood

View from Beechwood

This was another entry into Carnegie Painted, even though I’d done the painting years before, just out of college, long before I’d decided to devote my career to art. I had given it to my mother as a gift, and when she moved from her home to assisted living the painting moved with her until she had no wall space for it.

When I took it back I decided to enter it in the show and make prints of it. I marvel that I created this when I did, 1983, and I know how much my mother enjoyed it.

painting of deserted cottages by lake

Deserted Cottages, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Deserted Cottages

I painted this painting “Deserted Cottages” en plein air at a deserted campground in North East along Lake Erie. It was just a quick thing at the end of the day because the sun was going down and the light was changing fast, but I’d been painting all day and I was well warmed up. After years of enjoying this painting I posted the story and reconnected with a friend from high school; I’ll write about this some time soon, but I sold the original, and have prints.

Autumn Wildflower Harvest

Autumn Wildflower Harvest

It was one of those moments that completely overtakes me–the extraordinary in the ordinary. I had gathered these wildflowers on the way home from work during one of those too-brief, clear September evenings, warm, but with a creeping chill in the shadows. Goldenrod and fall asters are just about my favorites, so I brought some home and placed them in the vase on the table on my deck. You can read more about the time of this painting in The Artist’s Life: The Splendor of Autumn on The Creative Cat. I still have the original and can also make prints.

Autumn in the Valley

Autumn in the Valley

Sloping hills blaze with autumn color at a rocky, rippled bend in Chartiers Creek, yet on the horizon deep gray-purple clouds hover; although the day was sunny I remember it being distinctly chilly with a sharpness to the breeze, especially on the water in a canoe, and winter is literally on the horizon. I sold the original painting, but have many varieties of prints available.

Squashes, oil pastel

Squashes

This is the piece my customer commissioned to coordinate with “Green Apples“, also in this gallery. We discussed several subjects, but as the summer waned and she mentioned golds and earth tones, I knew it had to be squashes.

Ordering Custom Artwork

I have several originals still available, but I also have prints of each of them, framed and unframed, in all sizes from 8″ x  10″ to the full size of the painting, whatever that may be, and in grades from high quality digital to high quality giclee. I’d love to see any of these as canvas prints, which I make individually per order because these are not standard sizes and I need to purchase custom materials but my test prints have been extraordinary, especially with this autumn gallery.

I can offer an infinite number of things on Etsy, but sometimes it’s easier to let you choose what you want. Please read my page for Ordering Custom Artwork on The Creative Cat to see the possibilities you can choose from, and don’t hesitate to ask questions!


Autumn in the Valley

Autumn in the Valley, pastel painting, 31" x 27", 2009

Autumn in the Watershed

Sloping hills blaze with autumn color at a rocky, rippled bend in Chartiers Creek, yet on the horizon deep gray-purple clouds hover; although the day was sunny I remember it being distinctly chilly with a sharpness to the breeze, especially on the water in a canoe, and winter is literally on the horizon.

For two reasons the scene was reminiscent and inspiring: first, that I rounded the bend to see this natural splendor in all its detail, brilliant color, fluttering leaves, rippling water, changing clouds, happening all on its own with no help from me or any other human (read the poem, below) ; and, second, it was an example of that “change of season” with the gray-purple clouds of winter arriving on the horizon, two seasons blending into one another. I needed to share this image, and it was so moving that the inspiration also became a poem, and the title for my third annual poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, Change of Season.

detail of painting

Detail of upper clouds.

And again, no, I couldn’t paint while paddling, and my little digital photos didn’t do the scene justice, yet other than wading down the creek and setting up an easel in the middle of the water, there was no other way of painting this. To take the scene from the tiny digital image to the full-size painting took a good bit of memory and visualization; it’s a good thing I’m very familiar with scenes like this. I don’t often work at this level of detail, especially at this size, but in order to share what I took from this moment, I found myself worker ever deeper into the minutiae of the scene so that others, viewing it, could hear the light lapping of the water, watch the clouds move, feel the warm sun on your back but the chill wind on your face, and the glory of those tree-covered hills.

detail of painting

Detail of that moment of change.

You really have to get into “the zone”, though, while working at that level on the painting, letting go of your space, yourself, to get back to that moment and all your perceptions from that time. I still go there when I look at the original, which was purchased and made a gift to Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall and hangs in the Reception Hall.

In the mini-ecosystem in the valley along Chartiers Creek, the color show begins a little later and the trees keep their leaves a little longer, perhaps because of the extra humidity along the water through the dry heat of late summer. The diversity of species is generally much greater in both the trees and the understory brush and grasses, which encourages a greater diversity of foliage color and shape. When the show begins, it’s absolutely breathtaking and it gets more stunning every day until a November storm rips the last of the leaves away.

detail of painting

Detail of reflections on the water.

This area of the creek is approximately below Rosslyn Farms, between Carnegie and Crafton. In this area, the creek’s channel was widened and dredged deeper and the banks made more sloping through the Fulton Flood Control Project, allowing all the runoff from upstream communities to flow ever faster down the valley without overflowing the banks or backing up into Carnegie, as had happened prior to the Project. Also, many of the trees were removed from the banks up to a certain level. Still, even with that modification, the channel remains beautiful and inviting in this lovely and unseen area of Chartiers Creek.

You can find a full-size giclee plus various sizes of digital prints, framed and unframed in my Etsy shop.

A Poem Inspired by the Scene

I actually wrote a poem about the scene before I did the painting, so inspiring was that particular moment.

Effortless

I paddled the canoe around the bend,
And was faced with the effortless beauty of the panorama,
The trees in all their colors, the sky with changing clouds,
The water moving and reflecting simultaneously,
All perfectly arranged,
I realized that my creations are but raindrops in a puddle,
Wisps of cloud that change and dissipate
My solitary accomplishments borne of great effort
Would never equal this one solitary scene
Or the one I would have seen the day before or the day after
Evolved on its own, no one to frame it and display it and promote it
As it quietly exists through the day.
We humans sometimes get to think everything happens because of us
But these trees and grasses and hills arrange themselves
And create great beauty effortlessly
Simply in the process of their everyday existence.
So I did a painting that can never match the original
So that I may remember my place.

Read the rest of the poetry from my annual poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, in 2009 entitled Change of Season.

About Art of the Watershed

A series of seasonal images of the Lower Chartiers Watershed

pastel painting of snowy woods with stream at dusk

Dusk in the Woods, pastel © B.E.Kazmarski

“I have travelled a good deal in Concord,” said Henry David Thoreau in Walden, his paradox of exploring a small town and its surroundings teaching him as much about human life and the interactions of nature as if he had traveled rare and exotic places about the globe.

I’d love to paint faraway exotic places, but in the interests of time I stay close to home for my hiking, bicycling, canoeing, walking and painting excursions, that being the valley where the Lower Chartiers Creek flows.

I’ve seen some exquisite sights on my adventures, and committed them to various media. The most moving are the ones I’ve chosen to paint large and in detail so that I might convey at least a portion of the grandeur that moved me beyond awe to action, sharing the places right around us though most people would never see them. Thus was born the series offering an image indicative of the watershed in each season.

Visit my website to see the full set of paintings included in the “Art of the Watershed” series.

Autumn in the Valley availability

You can find a full-size giclee plus various sizes of digital prints, framed and unframed in my Etsy shop.


My Autumn Gallery

painting of birch trees with autumn leaves

Birches 2: Radiance, ink and watercolor, 2002, © B. E. Kazmarski

As the Harvest Moon has passed and the Autumnal Equinox approaches, I’m sensing signs of autumn everywhere, in the angle and color of sunlight, leaves beginning to change from green to their autumn garb, geese flying south and my bird feeders mobbed by birds on some day, and cooler days and nights.

Just as I have galleries of summer and winter artwork, so do I have a gallery of autumn artwork; I’ll feature just a few here in this post, but you can read about others in my Etsy gallery. As much of autumn artwork has to do with trees doing their autumn thing, and Western Pennsylvania is largely tree covered, I’ve had a lot of material to work with through the years. Some are painted en plein air, but some are studio pieces, like the birch trees above.

Birches 1 and 2

painting of birch trees with autumn leavs

Birches 1: Autumn Showers, oil pastel, 1999 © B.E. Kazmarski

From the time I met the paper birch in our front yard I have always been attracted to the delicately detailed white bark of birch trees which seemed to emit its own faint light in any season. Here, in the darkness of the woods, the grouping of white trunks looks like a crowd clustered for discussion, decorated by a maple branch in Birches 1: Autumn Showers.

The technique was an experiment borne of an off-hand remark from a fellow artist. I had just been experimenting with oil pastels, which at first felt like slippery crayons but soon grew to have their own life as I understood the best ways to achieve the colors and textures I wanted. The artist friend mentioned that you could also work with them using turpentine, either softening the crayons in it or drawing on the paper, then painting turpentine over the oil pastel to blend or spread. I chose to use a combination of these as well as wetting the paper with the turpentine and drawing on that area with the oil pastel. The resulting painting actually looks dimensional, and I know it’s only because of the different textures in the work.

Birches 2, detail

Here’s a detail of Birches 2: Radiance.

We have lovely birch groves here in Western Pennsylvania, and this image was reminiscent of one I had encountered while hiking somewhere near me. Not just the white bark, but the contrast with the thin dark twigs and ripples in the bark, is eye-catching, but that autumn display of yellow leaves is nearly blinding. Add a few other leaves to the mix and it becomes a classic autumn scene.

This painting is a real favorite in any color or size; I think others react to the details and the colors as I did when I saw the scene and visualized the painting.

The original is quite large, 22″ x 23″, and drawn in a very fine line black ink. I used a technical pen (a Rapidograph, if anyone remembers those) to draw all the details of the birch trees, taking nearly three weeks just to draw the trees. Even though I’d been visualizing it with the color added for the leaves, after all that work I was hesitant to start painting into the drawing for fear I’d mess it up and ruin all that work. But I got over that and began filling in the leaves in all shades of yellow.

Other subjects too

painting of autumn street scene

View from Beechwood

I’ll review other individual paintings as well, including their meaning to me at the time I painted them since, for some reason, most of my autumn paintings have a story having something to do with family, or my career, and even my cats.

I do have most of those stories posted along with the images on Etsy.

I have several originals still available, but I also have prints of each of them, framed and unframed, in all sizes from 8″ x  10″ to the full size of the painting, whatever that may be, and in grades from high quality digital to high quality giclee.

painting of cottages

Deserted Cottages

Autumn Harvest

Autumn in the Valley

Squashes


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