Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hello to Autumn - Pam Johnson Brickell

Spartina alterniflora
Here in the low country of South Carolina, our trees do not rush to change their leaves to the colors of orange, yellow, red, burgundy and purple we so love in Autumn. For that matter, Mother Nature doesn't abruptly turn the temperature down either!

Telltale signs that the hot, humid days of summer are finally going to come to a close revolve around the shortening of daylight, the observation of Hickory and Oak tree's bounty of fruit, Beautyberry and Sparkleberry bush's berry colors changing from green to magenta and black respectively, Devil's Walking Stick tree and Poke Weed fruit formation, and best of all, the color change of the cord grass in the salt marsh.

It seem's like just yesterday the smooth cord grass, Spartina alterniflora, turned it's beautiful, almost electric green. Over the last couple of weeks I've begun to note a plethora of greens and both raw and burnt sienna tones evolving. Altogether a feast for the eyes :)

Now that the Autumnal Equinox is upon us, what changes are you noticing in your neck of the woods?

In the above plein air sketch, I used Derwent watercolor pencils in an AquaBee Super Deluxe Sketchbook. It may have taken all of 10 minutes, but as I painted the below canvas in my studio, I could still feel the warm morning air and recall the smell of the pluff mud where the Great Egrets, Wood Storks and Ibis love to dine.

What's for Breakfast?


  1. Lovely paintings. I love the birds in the painting foraging for food. I am noticing the days getting shorter. The summer flowers dying off. I feel like it just started and now is gone already. Its been like summer in temps tho but soon that will be gone too.

  2. You really captured the subtle early fall colors, IS different in different parts of the country (and world!), that's part of what makes this blog so useful.

  3. Thank you, Cris! I think no matter where we live, summer seems to zoom on by. Cooler temps and less humidity will be welcomed here. I miss the immediate switch to fall in the Northeast but love the subtle ease into autumn in the South. We do get some striking leaf color - just not large areas since most of our trees stay green throughout the year.

    Thanks, Kate! I love how this blog helps us round out our Earthy knowledge. That we learn through art makes it all the more personal and special. I feel like I've traveled all over the world from the comfort of my chair :) The blog is such a great learning tool. I sure hope home schoolers and regular schools check in from time to time.

  4. What a nice combination of a plein air capture and your studio painting which holds the same flavor.

  5. VEry nice work, Pam. In Rome the cooler temperatures and shorter days have prompted a second flowering of plants, and it looks more like spring...although I saw the first leaves of lime-trees on the pavement. I love their heart shapes and soft golden colour against the deep gray asphalt.

  6. Thank you, Elva, Concetta and Linda!

    Concetta, I'd love to see those lime-tree leaves :)


We'd love to hear from you, your questions, comments, observations! Please feel free to comment, feedback is important to us.