I began work on Elegiac in the waning days of summer, at a time when the fall color in the forest had already begun to take hold. Even in a particularly beautiful fall like this one, the transition from summer to winter through autumn is swift here.
Summer has always been the hardest time of year for me to paint, the season I find hardest to relate to, and consequently hard to explore on canvas. It seems fitting, then, that a painting intended as the summer counterpart to my winter painting Epiphany should become not a celebration of summer but an elegy to its passing. Fall is my favorite, as much for the frisson of its warning of approaching winter as for its bright beauty.
Elegiac, in its making, became an adventure in the wilderness of my feelings about this rapid annual transition. Its more complex tapestry of colors seemed essential to conveying the fecundity of summer and the brilliance of beginning autumn. I set out to celebrate the sun's summer radiance, and it does burn through the forest here much as it did in its seasonal ascent in Epiphany. But I think, too, it seems to suggest its imminent waning, as it begins to ride lower in the sky and the days are growing rapidly shorter.
In the far North, the light and the land remind us constantly--if we pay attention--that warmth and softness are fleeting, and are just punctuations in a place that's more about drama and challenge than comfort and ease.