October Afternoon

FallAfternoon, Haymakers' Bench

I was wondering when I was ever going to finish this pastel as I tromped down the hillside to my magnificent view.There were mounds of  sienna orange earth made by some small burrowing animals. I marveled at how bright they were against the soft pale peachy dun earth.

When I started this drawing, it was just after the big September rains. There were wonderful mini landscapes of red earth canyons from the flooding. Primroses, bright as spring, had popped out again, as well as spiderwort and pink purple desert asters.The cactus were fat. And there were scattered bouquets of a small yellow daisy like flower whose small leaves were a wonderful blue green. I love the second spring that the monsoons give to this rugged sandy desert. The blue grama grass seed heads, dark purple feathers, had formed an ethereal landscape swaying a foot above the earth.In the late afternoon light they were limned with yellow white light. They had yet to dry turn into small straw colored curves.

Now it was mid October. Shadows had already changed. The primroses were gone, but asters remained.The buckwheat was turning from a pinky burnt orange into a wonderful bright rust. The short clumps of grasses surrounding the grama grass seed stalks had turned a fiery red orange that looked like small flickering flames in the low light.There was also another grass whose stalks are magenta with teeny beige offshoots and white tips that give an astounding display in the late light. I’ve dubbed it firecracker grass.

October afternoon

That last afternoon I was dubious that I’d be able to finish the pastel, as the wind was gusty and clouds were scudding past. After securing my easel by hanging my knapsack laden with rock on the clip of the easel’s back leg, I started to draw. After a bit the wind stopped, and all was still. The sun was warm, the air clear with that wonderful October sweetness….just right!  I felt blessed by this window of utter perfection. And so I finally did finish my drawing. Walking back up the hill on the soft pale orange earth, I was  content in the perfection of this soft afternoon, the glowing rock, fantastical junipers, the flickering flames of the blue grama grass. Their seed heads had dried, becoming a mass of floating blond eyebrows.

6 thoughts on “October Afternoon

  1. You are ever an inspiration. I love seeing the world through your eyes, both in writing and in your pastels. Thank you!

  2. Carolyn J.

    What a lovely Sunday morning treat! Thank you for sharing both the art and your thoughts. It’s still and sunny here in Bluff this morning…at least for a little while.

    1. thank you Carolyn. I hope too to get to Bluff to draw in a bit warmer climes sometime this winter. Aren’t we lucky!

  3. joan wentworth

    Scotty! I am so happy to see your work again. I have been, characteristically, out of touch, but would so love to reestablish contact with you. I am in NYC—big apartment; you can stay. Please come to the city next time you are in the northeast. This painting is absolutely breathtaking. Can I afford it? I have to search your site. I have been spending every summer in Crete for years now. Kostas and I split over 3 years ago, so life is really good! Love to hear for you. All the best, Scotty.

    Sent from my iPad


  4. So beautiful Scotty! Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

  5. Nice! Love your description of the grasses. And the painting! So fun to read this and practically breathe the soft October air, when now all is in a wintry fog and the ground is covered with snow, fire blazing inside.

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