5 Art Journal Prompts to Guide Creativity in Autumn
by Yvonne Hanson
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. Albert Camus
Autumn has always been our favourite time of year. With it’s orange orange orange, the brilliant colours of the trees pressed against a crisp blue sky, the early dark evenings and pumpkins glowing and candles warming. Many famous painters have created a legacy of autumn masterpieces – look up Claude Monet, Thomas Cole, Vincen Van Gogh or just google Famous Autumn Paintings and there’ll be 3,550,000+ hits. And what a palette! From red to orange to yellow to bourbon and purple – lime greens and dark greens browns and what textures!
Yvonne was visiting Manitoba in September when she wrote this list of creative prompts to inspire your creativity this Autumn. The image shows one of her journal pages and illustrates prompt number 3.
Go for a walk through a forested area or through a public park.
Collect leaves on your travels and press them into your journal. When the leaves have dried completely, paste them onto a page using acid-free glue or double-sided tape. Try to identify each leaf and write a description beside it of the plant that it came from. If a leaf changes colour after being dried, try to describe its original colours as well.
Early autumn is the peak time for garden pests such as insects and caterpillars.
Next time you’re near a garden, become an amateur biologist: try to find as many varieties of insect as possible. Draw a simplistic diagram of each one in your journal (even just the general shape) and describe the colour and the area where you found it. Was it under a leaf? Clinging to a stem? Buried in soil? Try to identify the species of each bug, and pay attention to colouration, markings, and body segments.
Many artists struggle with using colour effectively in their artwork.
Luckily, autumn is the most colourful time of year and an excellent time to practice capturing different hues. Trace around an upside-down bottle cap to fill a page with small circles. Using watercolour or acrylic paints, fill in each circle with two or three colours that can be seen together at this time of year. Do your best to capture the yellows, greens, and oranges of the trees, the browns and reds of the forest floor, and the blues and greys of the midday sky. Pay attention to complementary colours. A travel-sized watercolour set is ideal for this activity.
If you enjoy writing creatively, dedicate a page in your journal to writing about the autumn weather.
Be as descriptive as possible, and try to write at least two lines each day. Record the colour of the sky, the strength of the wind, the density of the rain, and the form of the clouds.
If you frequently find yourself cooped-up indoors by the inhospitable autumn weather, it may be a good time to try out some new recipes.
Pumpkin, zucchini, squash, and carrots are all excellent ingredient choices. Make a list of your favourite autumn harvest ingredients on a left-side page in your journal, and record some basic recipes using these ingredients on the rightside. When you make each dish, take note of what you liked about it and what you would improve for next time. You can even use a small sample of each dish to make a stain beside the recipe in your journal.