Thursday, November 04, 2010

Impressions of Fall

Have been out walking our road for many hours through the changing of the season. At all different times of the day - morning, noon, early evening, dusk.

Have taken a whole lot of photos of the trees and their incredible colors. None of them seemed to speak to me. And then I thought, what is it about the fall that makes it so beautiful. For me, it is the overall impression of the different colors and how they make layers and patches within a particular landscape or frame in my head.

And so for a few days, I decided to set my camera to manual focus and to blur the photos on purpose. This exercise was so much fun because the way the colors were recorded on my camera was actually how I thought they were looking in my head.

And then I started thinking about Monet as he lost his eyesight at the end of his life and painted his waterlily series at Giverny. Would he have painted that landmark series of great art like that if his eyesight had not been going? And how would he have painted leaves changing in autumn in New England?

What do animals see in the wild as they are whizzing down a hill in pursuit of something? What does a person with limited vision see?

When I took an oil painting class about a decade ago, the teacher always told us to squint - to see what we were getting with the paint - to not get lost in the details. I think this is what these photos do - they show the sheer beauty of the layers of color. All of the different color values of the leaves on an individual tree build together to make a single image or impression.

If I were to take these same photos today, they would be grey and brown as all the leaves are falling off the trees.

We will have rain for the next few days and November will surely be upon us. Boy, I will miss the color. I will get be looking to feed the color addiction with my knitting and hopefully some painting and other creating.

As I was driving here to the Town Hall to post these photos, I started thinking about my knitting and in particular felting and how that technique also softens an intense colorful Fair Isle pattern and mutes it down and makes it lovely and impressionistic.

Something for you all to ponder as you go about your day.


Julie said...

Wow...what beautiful photos and what a fantastic idea! It makes me want to bust out my camera and see what I can capture in a colorful blur. BTW, I love, love, love your blog! Not only do I get inspired with my knitting and art, it grounds me and makes me see life in a new way.

Deborah said...

Great post! When I'm outdoors painting, I'll sometimes take my glasses off (it's not quite as blurry as the photos) to simplify the scene. Today I was noticing the warm charcoal tree branches against the bright blue sky and creamy white clouds; the last of the red leaves were hanging on--the colors would make a great fair isle palette.

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy your walking posts. You often comment on things I enjoy too, or point out something I'd missed and that I look for the next time (I'm a fellow New Englander). I have a blog about exploring New England on foot. It's

I didn't know that tidbit about Monet. I'm going to have to go take a look at that series online. The RadioLab podcast did an interesting piece on how Agatha Christy dealt with losing her vocabulary as she aged. I think the episode is called Vanishing Words.

Thank you for your continuing inspiration.

Virginia said...

Mmm. I love fall color. We had this one outrageously bright orangey red tree across the street and it lost its leaves so quickly...

Definitely into the November doldrums now.

Jeanne said...

I was absolutely thinking this exact same thing the other day- not every thought but along the same line. I do like details so I end up painting small things like bugs and leaves and things. However I would really love to be able to pull back sometime and "squint" (same thoughts in my mind) and paint a picture and I thought about maybe taking some pictures to help me as well, but I think I see the colors in my mind a tad more focused, but the overall sweep is what I would like to attempt someday.
Thank you for your post! I just came across your blog the other day through another blog somewhere. I bookmarked it because I was just talking to my daughter the night before about getting a farm "with Horses and a barn and chickens" she said, "of course I answered" and I decided sheep as well because wool would be neat, and not have to kill anything like a pig (I know people eat sheep too) or even a cow. But I don't even know how to knit and have only tried crocheting when I was 7 so I guess I have a lot to learn. It's a good thing I'll have plenty of time before I can afford any of it.

Sharon said...

I learned to take my glasses off when I was spending most of my crafting as a quilter. It helped me add and edit my blocks as needed. Thanks Kristin.

Amy S. said...

Kristin, your post made me think of the poem "Monet Refuses the Operation" by Lisel Muller. If you don't know this poem, it can be found at this link:

--or just google the name of the poem. I love your ideas about photography and color!

Kathleen said...

I love your photos - being a basically blind person without my glasses I often take them off or peak over/under them to "see" something. I do this when laying out my quilt pieces before sewing them - it helps get the right overall layout - and I ALWAYS take my glasses off when hanging Christmas lights - it helps me to make sure they are even.

Dianne@sheepdreams said...

Great thought-provoking post! We still have a few leaves clinging to the trees here in Kentucky, so I'll try your technique. Color in nature is my main source of inspiration when dyeing wool from my sheep. I love the idea of taking unfocused pictures for color studies.

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