The Autumn Lake

Brendan’s favorite season of the year had always been autumn.

Everything about it captivated him. The vibrant waves of scarlet and honey-like yellow that washed over the trees each time this part of year came around had always struck him as beautiful, and the rich, earthy scent on the wind had an ever-so-slight tinge of sweetness on it that he couldn’t quite place, but had loved ever since his childhood.

He inhaled, savoring the sharp chill of the morning air, then exhaled as the sudden bite of cold sent a euphoric ripple throughout his body. He had grown fond of the cold over the years; large amounts of heat had always made him feel sick, but the frosty embrace of the cold was relaxing to him.

Picking up one of his brushes and his palette, he began to mix together various watercolor paints, making sure to thoroughly clean the brush with water between each combination. He felt calm and peaceful today, and his thoughts of autumn had inspired him to travel to a nearby lake and capture the scenic beauty of it — as well as the flora surrounding it — on a canvas.

The area was, for the most part, still. Only a light breeze was blowing through the branches of the tall sugar maples today, and while he was sure that countless critters were scuttling around in the vicinity, he couldn’t see or hear them. He preferred for his surroundings to be this way when he did his work; heavy winds and the pitter-patter, pitter-patter of fauna had their charm, but they often distracted him from his artistic focus. He enjoyed the melodic chirping of birds, though.

Readying one of his flatter brushes, he dipped it into the torquoise solution he had mixed, and set to work bringing the lake to life on the page. He began to drag the brush back and forth against the paper, occasionally looking up at the lake in front of him for reference. After several minutes, he had most of the water painted; he got one of the smaller brushes and began to carefully fill in the edges of the lake. Once that was done, he took in a sharp inhale of cool air before washing out the bristles of the small brush and collecting some dark blue paint on their tips. He deftly stroked the brush side to side, creating streaks of dark blue against the lighter shade to make a shimmering effect.

He stood back and looked closely over his work so far, nodding in satisfaction. He was happy with how the lake looked, but he wasn’t finished with it yet. However, he would come back to complete it later on, as he needed the paint to dry for the next step. He chose to focus on the ground and the trees next, which was the most complex part of the scene — and, thus, would be the most time-consuming.

He washed out his brushes and set the large, flat one aside for now, as he would need to use more precise strokes for this part of the painting. He got out an assortment of other brushes and began, first painting the dark brown land that surrounded the lake as well as the trunks and branches of the sugar maple and pine trees that stood looming near the water’s edge, then working on the leaves. Ultimately, he chose to focus on the sugar maple leaves first; they were ablaze with a gorgeous variety of autumn’s finest colors, and he wanted to ensure that his work faithfully reflected that.

Very slowly, but surely, he filled the barren sugar maples with large bushels of fiercely vibrant vegetation. It took several hours of miniscule strokes, twirls, and flicks of the brushes — and he had to mirror the trees in the reflection of the water once the paint used for the lake had finished drying — but when all was said and done, he was very pleased with how it had turned out. He then painted the dark green needles of the pine trees, which took a lot less time to do since they were all the same color, aside from a few different shades. Upon finishing, he took in a large whiff of the autumn air, stretched, and checked his phone’s clock.

It was now afternoon, and the chill in the air had been mitigated somewhat by the sun that was now situated high in the sky. He decided to take a break and eat the lunch that he had brought with him, checking his messages and taking a few photographs of the breathtaking scenery with his device’s camera while doing so. Once he was finished, it was time to complete the final step of the painting: the sky.

He pondered which paint to use, finally settling on a baby blue color. He got his flat brush back out and loaded it up with a thick amount of the paint, filling in the negative space left on the canvas with broad swipes. Then, he took a smaller brush and filled in the areas of white around the horizon and the trees. When he was finished, he stood back once more for a final look at his work.

He was overjoyed with the piece. It wasn’t amazing — after all, he was but an amateur — but it was, in his opinion, one of his best personal works, and he was proud of what he created. To him, being able to translate his love of the autumn season down on a canvas in a way that he was satisfied with was all he needed.

After packing everything up and getting ready to go, he took in a satisfying breath of crisp, cool air in his lungs. Suddenly the aroma of autumn entered his nostrils again, and he savored the earthy, sweet scent.

After taking one final look at the lake and all of the beautiful, striking trees that surrounded it, he set off for home.

Autumn would always be Brendan’s favorite season.



Hey, all.

Thanks for reading this piece. It’s not really supposed to mean anything, other then being some simple practice before my Fictional Writing Workshop university class begins. And I’m not actually a painter, I’m a writer, so if I described painting techniques in a non-realistic way or something, that’s why. I just had a desire to see if I could describe painting in words in a way that was enjoyable to read, as well as describe a setting in a half-decent manner.

I guess one thing I would say about this little story is that it definitely conveys why I love autumn. In case you hadn’t noticed, the “protagonist” literally shares a name with me; I didn’t feel like creating an OC just for this dumb little thing, so I just made Yours Truly a character. Also, I tried to do something clever with the beginning and the end of the story. Let me know if you figure out what it is!

Anyway, let me know what you think, either in the comments here or on my Twitter, which you can find by checking the widgets on the blog.


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