Early this November, the colors of autumn stormed into Sonoma County, lighting up the countryside in vivid gold, orange, and maroon. Entire vineyards washed hillsides in color almost overnight, making even the most ordinary views extraordinary.
To take advantage of the beauty, I headed out to sketch under partly cloudy skies, donning a hat and sweatshirt to keep warm. I wanted to paint a nearby pear tree that I discovered hidden behind some bushes while walking the dogs.
The pear treeâ€™s trunk is split from top to bottom, as if struck by lightning, and is now withering from age and decay. Its canopy contains few leaves, but surprisingly, produces an abundance of tiny pears. At its base, a small blackberry bush wraps the treeâ€™s trunk in thorns.
At this time of year, the weather can be moody, changing from hour to hour and making the need for coats and gloves unpredictable. Since it was mostly sunny when I left the house, I thought that my hat and sweatshirt would be sufficient, but the weather turned cold and cloudy as I sketched, and by the time I finished painting, I was shivering. Sprinkles of rain dotted my page, and I covered the painting until the weather passed. Then I packed up my gear and headed home for some hot tea and a warm fire.