Glowing Embers

What is it about this time of year that can send us into a creative tailspin? Yes, the sunlight has diminished in hours and intensity, and that can account for part of the mood changes, no question. But, as we were walking through the bare forest and fields this morning, it occurred to us that it can also be caused by the riot of fall colors we just enjoyed. Painting in the light of those blazing days made for an easy glory on canvas or paper, with incredible color schemes available and no end to mixing colors. Now that it is over, we feel kind of like the morning after a really sensational party, stumbling around in the wreckage and dazed by the cornucopia we just consumed. We are suffering from a visual hangover, and it takes some getting used to.

Photograph of Euonymus Alatus Monstrosa in the Forest  © J. Hulsey
Photograph of Euonymus Alatus Monstrosa in the Forest © J. Hulsey

This is the part of the year which makes us draw deeply on our inner resources and sense of purpose as artists, and that in itself is a good thing to revisit every once in awhile. Having to really search hard for compelling subject matter in a landscape devoid of entertaining mountains, oceans, soaring cliffs or pristine alpine lakes sharpens the eye and broadens the spirit. Each one of us owns a landscape nearby, wherever we live. The best subject for any artist to explore is the one closest at hand. Delve deep into the commonplace and you will be rewarded with a jewel that belongs only to you. This is how artists differentiate themselves and forge reputations as individuals. What is it that uniquely moves us? Trust in that and look no further.

Today, we found that our burning bushes (euonymous alatus monstrosa) had been seeded by birds across our property and the neighbor’s. As we walked through the naked forest, we were delighted and inspired to find little spots of bright red and orange leaves shining in the early morning sunlight. They are distributed randomly, but perfectly, along our way like little necklaces and crowns of color against the amber and brown leaves. And, each year they will get larger and create a new subject to paint, just when we need it. It is not a big thing, but it reminds us that we need not feel that winter’s hand is heavy upon our shoulders. Nature also has a light touch and that alone should inspire the explorer in all of us.

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–John and Ann

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John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

About John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

John Hulsey and his wife, Ann Trusty created the website, The Artist's Road - Painting the World's Beautiful Places.  The Artist's Road inspires with practical art tips and painting techniques for the traveling artist, video painting tutorials and demonstrations, workshop resources, artist profiles and interviews and remarkable painting locations.  The Artist's Road is an artist community for oil, watercolor and pastel artists.  Articles cover intriguing art travel experiences artists have had while painting the world's beautiful places. "I believe I must speak through my art, for the preservation of Nature and the natural landscape from which I take my inspiration and living." John Hulsey is an accomplished artist, author and teacher who has been working professionally for over thirty years. In addition to producing new work for exhibition and teaching workshops, Mr. Hulsey continues to write educational articles about painting for national art magazines, including Watercolor magazine and American Artist Magazine. He has been selected as a "Master Painter of the United States" by International Artist Magazine where his work was previously chosen to be included in the top ten of their international landscape painting competition. He was awarded residencies at Yosemite, Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks. "I strive in my art to celebrate the mysteries of Nature - the fleeting light on the landscape, the unimaginable diversity of creatures, the beauty of each leaf and flower." Ann Trusty  is an accomplished third generation artist whose work embodies the natural world and is created through direct observation and translation of her subjects into her paintings. She has found inspiration in the dancing light across the water of the Hudson River (where she had a studio for ten years), as well as the big sky and waving tall grasses of the open plains of the Midwest (her current home). Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States, France and Turkey in both museum and gallery exhibitions, and has been reviewed favorably by the New York Times.

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