I have spent the last two days on other things - and not on art... Well, actually I DID spend this evening on art, but my oldest's art, not mine. He is applying to the NCSU School of Art and Design (he's accepted at NCSU, but there is a separate process for Art and Design) and in a few weeks he has a portfolio interview. We were looking over his art from the last few years and discussing what pieces stand out and why. The decisions and the portfolio are his to make - but as his art teacher (we home school) I'm doing some mentoring. I also gave him a crash course on my watercolor setup, how the paints behave, the half a dozen most important things to remember when handling these tools, and invited him to tackle something on one of the 19x19 pages I have stretched and waiting. He wasn't sure he wanted to use my best brush - but maybe my second best... It's been a long time since he tried paint (he prefers the precision of pencils and ink) but he quickly gains some form of mastery of nearly any medium - art is created with the brain, the materials can be anything at hand.
So tonight I offer something I wrote but didn't post back in October...
In the mountains autumn sent us several days of blowing mist. If the day is gentle enough, every surface will collect these tiny droplets. I've returned with every hair of my beard, mustache, eyebrows, and eyelashes jeweled, and if I was wearing my beret ("a raspberry beret - the kind you get from a secondhand store") it would also be seeded with these tiny pearls.
We rarely have misty days at home. On Sunday drives to church down Old Eighty Six, there are long stretches where the phone and electrical lines spoon from pole to pole, just several feet apart. The large red spiders (with the black and white striped stocking legs) make webs at regular intervals, and these days reveal a quarter mile of arachnid construction, as evenly spaced as homes in a subdivision, or like postage stamps in the rolls of a hundred my mother used to buy when we were kids.
Our most spectacular autumn weaver is the garden Argiope, or Black and Yellow Garden Spider. I took this photo in the mountains, but we have one every year somewhere in our extensive flower beds. This year ours was in the Joe Pye Weed of the bed we call Australia. They make this stitch down the center of the web, and usually sit in the center of the web, with their legs in pairs, so they look like an "X." I have read that this combination of things makes them invisible to birds.