Winter leaf

A fallen Photinia leaf lies on mossy brickwork, intersected by a blade of grass. Watercolour on paper – 31 x 23 cm


A single winter leaf, mottled and patched, lingers on a twig. It is a lonely image that also speaks of endurance. Though the leaf will soon drop, it still glows with an inner light.

The title comes from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Some people will doubtless see this painting of a winter leaf as sad. I have no problem with that. It is sad because all beauty is transient. I think we need to reflect on that much more in these days of climate disaster.

You might also like these red berries or these November leaves.