28 in. (71.1 cm) wide x 22 in. (55.9 cm) high, Oil on Panel
I have often written about the vibrancy of colors on rainy days. This field of Cherry trees in the fall is a good example. Not all the colors are accentuated by low contrast lighting, however. The violet shades benefit while the yellow shades become duller. Maybe that’s why shade loving flowers tend to be violet or blue and sun loving flowers are more often yellow or orange.
In any case, this heavily overcast day, in late-afternoon, glowed with violet undertones. Although cherry leaves are brilliant red in the fall, the leaves that reflected light were violet. In the swale the Sumac and other shrubs turned from pink to violet. And this shift to the violet in dull lighting is accentuated by distance. The yellow leaves of the maples on the other side of the field are duller than they would be on a sunny day while the orange leaves have shifted so much that they appear violet.
One of my pleasures in painting is the enhanced awareness that it brings of features that I had not noticed before. When I first started this painting I was overwhelmed by the blazing reds. Focusing on the details of the trees helped me notice the spectrum of colors near the tips of each branch, blending from red at the bottom through maroon and ochre to bright green at the tops. I don’t know why but the tips of the branches are the last to turn red. They stand out against the red background.
These Black Cherry Trees (Prunus serotina) are distinguished from other types of Cherry by the reddish brown bark and the long, curved leaves. They are new colonists in an abandoned farm in Southern Ontario. Sprinkled throughout the field are young Sumac shrubs (Rhus typhina). If there is any competition for red cherry leaves in the plant kingdom it is the Sumac (or Black Tupelo, but that’s another story).