Late autumn is not a popular subject for landscapes.
Artists prefer golden septembers and octobers. How much better! November palette does not sell, it’s dark, muddy and depressive as Van Gogh’s last painting. It is about dying, for heaven’s sake, not a revival in the Bottichellian sense of the primavera! Who would want to have a gloomy November on their wall (except maybe Swiss people, who generally do not buy garish paintings because afterwards they can’t explain to their neighbours why they did it, and show-off there is a sin deadlier than adultery)?
This is unjust! Late autumn has its own unique beauty.
In pre-winter all the “temporary” aspects of a landscape are removed. November let’s you get to the bottom of things. Only the enduring stuff remains visible. The Nature offers you to contemplate the beauty of its skeleton, its backbone and gist.
The Nature is going NUDE for you.
But not for long. It likes its modesty protected, and the white cloak will soon drape it. An artist may have no more than a couple of weeks to enjoy, contemplate and communicate this wonder.
November is not about colours. November is about the NAKEDESS OF NATURE, persistence, ability to endure and survive. Painting late autumn takes more technical skills (especially drawing ability, because lines and shapes will often take precedence over color).
I took this picture the other day in a nearby park. It illustrates an interesting aspect of late autumn that many artists neglect.
Look at how graphically clear silhouettes and shapes of the trees are reflected in the water. As if the artist switched from oils to watercolours halfway through the picture. Yes, it is the water: it has slowed down, because there’s more ice in it. It has not yet become a skating rink, it may not be even covered by ice, but there’s a micro-thin icy layer which is not mirror-reflective, but light distorting.
Let’s have a look at a collection of great and good late autumn art, accompanied by a view on why it’s great or good!