September in many places wraps warm sun in cooler air, bestowing upon us “a ripe sheaf of many golden days” (As Lucy Maud Montgomery, best known for her children’s novel, Anne of Green Gables, wrote) that bewitch the eyes of artists and melt the hearts of romantics.

Lit by low yet still warming sun, departing summer “has assumed/an aspect tenderly illumed,” as Wordsworth writes, a fragile beauty that paradoxically mirrors the sense of suspension and uncertainty suggested by “the gentlest look of spring.”

Poet Helen Hunt Jackson spoke of  “the secret/Which makes September fair,” the beauty of the light, and with it, September’s habitual gift of “summer’s best of weather,/And autumn’s best of cheer.” Her poem September paints us the following:

The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian’s bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed.
Its hidden silk has spun.

(from “September,” first published in 1898)

Blue Gentians, 19th c. botanical illustration

Fewer birds fly, but the fields and roadsides sing with the drowsy buzz of insects while the late wildflowers bloom. Gone is the honeysuckle, while:

“here and there, blood-tinted as an ember,
Some crimson poppy of a late delight
Atoning in its splendor for the flight
Of summer blooms and joys­.
This is September.

(from “September” by Lucy Maude Montgomery)

Mark Shasha, Prickly Bunch, 11×14

Autumn Yellows Win in Salon

Peggy Immel’s painting of Aspens snagged the top spot in the Plein Air Salon’s “Over 65” category in July.

Winner of the Plein Air Salon’s July competition in the over 65 caters, Peggy Immel was born in Phoenix, Arizona, lived in Boston for over thirty years, and ultimately returned to her western roots when she and her husband, Steve settled in Taos, New Mexico, where they now live.

“Each painting begins with an idea,” she says. “Sometimes that idea is inspired by the light, or a color scheme, or the pattern of light and dark. And sometimes it is a philosophical idea, or a poem or a short phrase that provides the spark. The idea always generates a visual point of view and from there the painting begins. I enjoy contrast and the visual tension it brings, so I include it in many aspects of my work, from the texture of the paint to the value patterns in the painting itself. And, as I paint, I continuously remind myself about my reasons for beginning the painting in the first place with the final goal of producing a painting that conveys all of this to the viewer.”

Plein Air magazine’s monthly salon is an open competition that culminates in a lavish award gala with big cash prizes for the best paintings overall in multiple categories. Visit the Plein Air Salon website for your chance to enter your work in the monthly contest, from which the finalists for the grand prizes will be drawn.

In the paint,