Monte Urgull on an Autumn afternoon

November 2010 – Acrylic on canvas, 60 x  50cm

This is definitely the last of the Autumn paintings! It feels distinctly wintery now & I can see snow on the mountains inland. All it’s done here though is rain heavily or hail for  just about the last month. Usually I prefer to paint from as recent as possible inspirations, but they’ve been a bit lacking which is why I ended up looking back to an afternoon in the park at the end of October. I think it must have been one of the last warm & sunny days. I’ve begun to feel more & more distanced from that time & so in the end I really wanted to get this painting finished- it didn’t seem right any more!  Now I think I’d better just admit that winter’s here & move onto something else!

This is the first time I have finally got round to attempting a painting of (part of) Donostia/San Sebastian. (This sometimes confuses tourists who aren’t too sure about going to Donosti when they really wanted to go to San Sebastian, but the latter is simply the Spanish name for the former Basque one.)

This view is from a park & so although for a city Donostia is very good for having lots of trees in general, what I have chosen to paint here is the extreme treed view! Most places you experience here involve streets & tall appartment blocks. But I like the fact that in a city you can still find these places despite all the continual construction. Obviously this has an impact – for example  15 years ago I used to hear wrynecks (that’s a type of bird in case you weren’t sure) in this area every spring but they no longer seem to pass through. I also remember seeing some sort of pine marten, but not now.

In this park though, you do still see buzzards & booted eagles, so at least something remains & I hope it continues to do so. There is something special about being in a city & looking up to see an eagle.

Recently I have noticed mothers showing their small children the Christmas tree with all its lights &  decorations. It’s nice to see people sharing these moments with their children &  of course there’s something a bit magical about it, but it made me think how important it is to try to also take that approach with less typically “special” things & to point out the magic in those things to children as well.

At the school I teach in we have one or two hours in our timetable where you have to be available in case someone is away. This means you can be sent to supervise any class, of any subject, from two year olds to eighteens! (I should say that if you get sent to two year olds there is generally someone else there as well.)

Today I got two year olds & one little boy wasn’t very happy, so to distract him from wanting his “ama” (mummy) I picked him up & showed him all the trees blowing in the wind & pointed out the colours, the clouds, the rain drops so on & it was lovely to see how he became quite absorbed with it all. Unfortunately  there isn’t usually much time for that sort of thing in a school situation especially when you’re dealing with lots of children!

Monte Urgull en una tarde otoñal

!He escrito demasiado aqui! Entonces no voy a traducir todo – solo decir que este es lo que se ve desde el parque de Puio. Me encanta como Donostia tiene muchos arboles y que estos sitios siguen existiendo a pesar de toda la construccion. Claro  que hay consequencias negativas para la naturaleza entonces aun mas importante respectar lo que todavia existe.

Mont Urgull un après midi d’automne

Cette vue est du parc de Puio à San Sébastian.


10 thoughts on “Monte Urgull on an Autumn afternoon

  1. I love all the different images in this painting, the trees in the front, the buildings, the mountain with the statue. The tree shapes contrast nicely with the buildings and the statue.

  2. How much more special this is for the addition of the two dark trees in the foreground. This may seem a bit odd, but I won’t be able to look at this painting without thinking of your story of the little two year old and you holding him up to share the view outside the window; you allowing the world in for him to ponder. Two trees overlooking their surroundings? Beautiful, Sonya.

  3. Thank-you Leslie – you’re right about the trees, I think they definitely had to be there. As for looking out of the window, I’ve always done that whenever I can, so any excuse!

  4. Ya, like what Carol mention, i really like the diferent shapes and colors of this painting. The forest in the foreground, the distance town and the statue at the background. Nice work there Sonya.

  5. I enjoyed the moment you shared with the child from your class almost as much as this painting. There was an episode from Autumn Watch on the BBC last year where Simon King went looking for Falcons in the centre of London. Your comments about eagles in the city made a picture. I love this painting, but then I love all your work. Your style is so unique and very, very special.

  6. You always say such kind things. (I should just say the child wasn’t actually in one of my classes, it was a substitution – a bit like mass baby-sitting in this case!) Most of my timetable (which happily is not totally full time) is involved with giving art classes to 8 classes ranging from 8 to 11 year olds each week.

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