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Sunday, 4 October 2015

Ochre

 There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, thanks to their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.
Pablo Picasso
Victoria Finlay, Colour, (Hodder and Stoughton, 2002) p. 224

We've had a reprieve from the brusque onset of autumn this past week with chilly mornings giving way to bright sunshine and warmth; a last chance to soak up the lazy memories of our hot summer and to gear up for what is ahead.  This year, for the first time in a long, long time, I am most happy to welcome autumn.  I do not wish to make this post about my troubles but I have known for a while that one day in autumn would bring me solace and more peace of mind and that thought has served to embellish this season which so many of you embrace.

Yellow, or more specifically ochre, is always at the forefront of my mind when summer fades into autumn and I wish to paint yellow spots everywhere in the hope that they become, perhaps not suns as such, but poignant moments of joy for the children and I.  We all know that yellow has long-standing connotations of jealousy, illness and ageing but the gold of autumn days can be mellow and rich.  I see drowsy bumblebees, thick pollen, honey and the more seasonal apples and pears which feed my imagination of the golden fruits which pepper fairy tales.  Their taste conjures up the sweet smell of beehives, honeycomb and the fragrance of flowers mixed in with a pear-drop of acid-flavoured green.

Autumn also calls to my mind Jean-Baptiste De La Quintinie (1624 - 88), the gardener who tended the Sun King's potager and orchards.  A man far removed from the frivolities enjoyed by the royal family and courtiers staged in the gardens and palace of Versailles, an alleged introvert who sought solace amongst the espaliered pear and apple trees which he dedicated his life to. "The eyes find so much to rejoice in that one's mind does not want for more distraction", wrote De La Quintinie in his thousand-page gardening handbook.  We cannot argue with his love of pears, apples and fruit in general nor can we dispute his evocative written description of their intense colours and rich assortment of textures and tastes.
 The pictures above are of my version of Carrie Bostick Hoge's simple and most lovely pattern Louise Light and details of my two most recent hares both of which bear a touch of ochre too.

Many of you will already know that dear Annie Cholewa is hosting a readalong of Girl In A Green Gown: The History And Mystery Of The Arnolfini Portrait.  I am savouring this book and would urge you gently to join in with Annie.  Finally if you are interested in reading a little more about Louis XIV's gardener you can find an article which I wrote for Hortus Magazine in winter 2008.

Warmest wishes to you all for a mellow October.  I'm hoping that I will be returning more frequently here if any of you are still around? :-)

Stephanie x


53 comments:

  1. Lovely to see you here again, Stephanie. You write so beautifully, your words are a delight to read. You capture the colour and the whimsy of nature with such ease I can picture and sense your autumn as we welcome our spring here in Australia. I wish you well in the days and months ahead. Thinking of you, and hoping you continue to find peace, kind regards from Marian Ennis xx

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  2. I'm still around and enjoying seeing your beautiful blogpost Stephanie! It's funny that you should mention yellow. It was only yesterday I kept seeing people dressed in shades of yellow and wondered is it the fashion now or am I just noticing the colour more at the moment. I love your new cardigan, you have such a gift of putting colours together and you look beautiful wearing it! I wish you a peaceful and beautiful autumn.
    Jess xx

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  3. Of course we are still around and we are all,( especially me), sending you positive thoughts for healing with all you have been going through. I love the color of beautiful yellow you have features. The sweater is gorgeous as is your bunny.

    Wishing you a happy week,
    Meredith

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  4. My dear Stephanie, as always your blog brings me such pleasure and happiness to read. As I sit here on this Autumnal day the blue sky of the last week has given way to a varying shade of grey. It's as though the season is dressing her own child in preparation for the deepening cold of Autumn that is to come!
    I do hope you and your family are well and the warmth of the shawl of love that you wrap around your family encaptured a season full of memories to share around the open fire of the Winter that follows, before you can throw it aside to welcome in the Spring that comes knocking on your door next year.
    Until that day, I leave you with my love and friendship and a final word just to say... I look forward to your next blog.
    Mandy xxx

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  5. I think you paint the most wonderful picture with your words and I am definitely still here and wanting to see and hear more. Glad you are hanging on in there for better days. It takes time but they do come. Sending you my love.😘💋💐

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  6. Lovely to see you back and to read your beautiful words and see your gorgeous photos. Sending you good wishes.

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  7. lovely to hear from you again.We had to cancel our proposed to the Loire Valley in August because my husband was ill

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  8. OF COURSE I'm still here beautiful Stephanie! How I wish I could come to your part of the world and we could have tea and laughs and walks. What fun that would be! You look absolutely glowing and glorious in your yellow sweater - I was just having a chat with another blogger pal about how I'm having an obsession with yellow right now - I want to paint the inside of my front door a vibrant lemon yellow, to stave off the grey grey grey that is such a hallmark of the Pacific Northwest Winters! xo to you and your children - here's to a lovely fall for us all :)

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  9. Good to see you here. Your bunny creations are always so lovely and special. I so like your version of this pattern. Ochre, that is a new color word now in my vocabulary. I like it.

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  10. I actually love yellow all year around and have painted our den and dining room is sunny rich yellow which makes me feel like it's a sunny day all year. LOVE your bunny! And your sweater is magnifique! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  11. Dear Stephanie,
    I'm so happy to hear from you again here. So happy with your kind words too. Ochre is indeed the coloru of october with its golden lights and fruits.
    Your cardigan is lovely and a perfect match with your hair!
    No need to say, I'm in love with the two Mademoiselles here.
    An you remind me that I still have to order "The girl in the green gown".
    I indeed hope we'll meet soon, dearest Stephanie....(I'll write you an e-mail soon)
    Much love,
    Amélie

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  12. Yes! I'm still here and so glad to read your latest post full of creative goodness growing in your life, Stephanie...such a pretty sweater and two lovely hares you have made. Thanks for your reading recommendations. Temperate breezes are blowing colorful leaves from our trees and causing puffy white clouds to scuttle across the sun, gently muting the afternoon light from gold to lemon here near the base of Mt. Hood in Oregon today. Wishing you a good week, xx

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  13. Of course your readers are still here! Lovely to hear from you. Your hares are beautiful, and just right for the time of year, ochre is a perfect autumn colour isn't it. xx

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  14. Glad to see your back staphanie and are ready to embrace Autumn ,and all the lovely things that autumn brings ,the autumn colours are yummy ,just like your cardigan and rabbit ,whishing you a peaceful week xx

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  15. Diane in Ireland5 October 2015 at 08:53

    Still here, Stephanie. And so are you! Still standing, still creating and writing so beautifully. I hope the autumn has brought the peace of mind you've been awaiting and so deserve. Looking forward to hearing more. Love to you and your precious children xx

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  16. Welcome back. I love the ochre paired with berry, from palest juice stained pink through to the rich blackberry tones. Perfectly autumnal!!

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  17. Still around Stephanie and lovely to catch up.

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  18. Oh my I do love your sweater so :) You are beautiful.

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  19. Stephanie, I am delighted to see a post from you as a new season begins.

    Ochre is a color that I've used lots in my painting, oil or watercolor. It seems to add something to other colors it meets. It's a good friend.

    I'd say that the pictures in your post show that companionship very well. What lovely creations you've shown us!

    Ahh...that book. I have it on loan from the library...and must begin reading it this week. My tower to books is getting quite out of control. Thank you for the reminder.

    I send you and yours lots of love. xo

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  20. So lovely to see you here again dear Stephanie and sounding much happier than before. Your images are beautiful, you look beautiful in your cardigan with your dainty bouquet of bright cosmos flowers. I love ochre/ yellow in all of its hues, a happy colour for me and the rich, opulent colours of Autumn.
    Lots of love to you and the children.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  21. …. that little ochre bag …. awwwww !!!
    Lovely you are back, Stephanie!
    xxxxx Ale

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  22. Chere Stephanie, je suis tres contente de voir tes photos. Elles sont sublimes! C'est tellement soulageant de te sentir heureuse, de nouveau. Et tes travaux, tu le sais deja touchent la perfection. Ochre, cette nuance me donne envie de vivre et de rever! Ca fait longtemps que je suis absente de blogland, j'essaierai de rattraper.
    A bientot
    Olympia

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  23. Dear Stephanie, Lovely to see you again and hope the autumn will ease your pain. Sarah x

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  24. Hi Stephanie, I'm still here and always happy to see a new post from you. I really love your cardigan. The colors are beautiful and it looks lovely on you. I hope you and the girls are all doing well.

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  25. Hi Stephanie,

    I just wrote you a message, but I think I clicked it away by accident. I not, you receive two comments from me :-)

    You have been on my mind a lot. Hope you and the children are well and manage to bring some happiness into your lives again? I know how hard it must be at times.

    Your ochre cardigan looks beautiful on you! I always thought that yellow did not suit blonds, but quite the contrary! I bought an ochre skirt recently that has rapidly become one of my favourits!

    Wishing you a happy week! Take care.

    Madelief x

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  26. It's so nice to see you back -- and with a bonus: Ochre. Your new sweater (jumper?) is just beautiful -- as are you bunnies -- as always. Happy, Happy Fall -- enjoy these beautiful days!

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  27. How nice it was to click on a post from you.
    Yellow is an autumn colour that I love, especially when paired with the red of maple leaves.
    Thank you for the book recommendation . I will look for it.

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  28. only a true artist would see how perfectly the ochre and pink and pale grey would come together in that simple sweater.....it's absolutely lovely! And your words..... to write like that!! So glad to see you back in this space (although I have been enjoying a peek at instagram posts occasionally!!!)
    xo
    steph

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  29. I'm always glad to read your lovely posts Stephanie and your ochre cardi looks lovely on you. Jane xx

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  30. I'm always glad to read your lovely posts Stephanie and your ochre cardi looks lovely on you. Jane xx

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  31. Yellow was also associated with madness, I believe. However, it has been one of my favourite colours since childhood - and after reading your beautifully eloquent plea on its behalf, who could not embrace yellow, in all its manifestations?

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  32. You look gorgeous. Bring on yellow - my take on yellow is sunshine, life and a new day. Your words and blog are eloquent and engaging as always. Have a lovely day as my has been made reading your blog :)

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  33. That is a fabulous knit and you look quite marvellous in it. Funnily enough I don't think of ochre as yellow, to me it is quite another colour altogther and a much loved one.

    I am so sorry the Girl in a Green Gown readalong has stalled. It will be back just as soon as the current round of calamities involving the Aged Ps lets up.

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  34. Your words are delightful. I love reading them. The sweater is gorgeous as is your bunny. How's everything? I hope all is well. Thanks for sharing!

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  35. Dear Stephanie,
    I can relate so well to your opening words. At the end of the summer when the weather and life's stresses were both relentlessly hot, I felt that autumn would bring physical and mental relief, and I looked forward so much to the apples getting ripe on my own espaliered apple trees. The change of season did bring expected relief, but after last week's tragic events, you and your family have been on my mind, and I hope you are all well?

    Love,
    Keri

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