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  • Jennifer Gillen

The Light of Late September

As September comes to a close the light through my studio windows is changing. It casts sharper shadows. There is this thing that light does when humidity dissipates. It becomes cleaner. Colors and shapes seem more brilliant and defined in a way that is almost blinding to me. Soon, the shady leaves of the garden will drop and the light will seem even more piercing.


This change in light is a cue. For me, it means that it is time to change my activities. The cool, dry weather presents the perfect environment for sourcing new photo references for painting. Summer heat is too oppressive for long, contemplative garden walks. With temperatures dropping into the 70s, I’m looking forward to a new drawing project at the Dallas Arboretum. It’s a little idea I have about making mini landscape drawings of a patches of foliage—Durer style.

The Great Piece of Turf, Albrecht Durer, 1503

Fall also means a slowing down of exhibitions. Over the summer, I showed nine of my paintings in seven separate exhibitions. It was both exhilarating and exhausting. Each exhibition required framing, packaging, delivering and then showing up for the social events. I really enjoyed most of the process, but it took away from my time to create. The exhibition calls will reappear in the early spring of 2022. I’ll be ready by then to enter another batch of opportunities to show my work. Until then, it’s time to work. There are still many paintings planned for completing my current series.


My painting, “Ave Maria” at the 2021 Fort Worth Community Art Center’s Juried Show in early September 2021.

My inspiration level is high as I enter into a season of creating. There is a second series of paintings bubbling up in concept currently. I’m feeling inspired to mute my palette a little and to work with less obviously beautiful subjects. I just finished reading an inspiring novel that was filled with tons of botanical images (written not pictured). It’s begging for representation in paint even though the author’s words were beautiful. I’m also feeling a pull toward the practice of detailed drawing.


So for now, the social events are winding down and I’m preparing to reenter the reclusive studio life. While it’s still here, I’ll make the most of this clear and brilliant fall.


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