Soft Autumn Landscapes
August 26, 2011 by Christine Scaman
It means a lot that so many of you feel the same recognition and reinforcement of colour by seeing it depicted in natural scenes that I do. Kristin sent me some photos of Belgium that spoke to her strongly of Soft Autumn. I can see that she and I are on identical wavelengths about this Season. I thank her for sharing these very evocative images with us.
In Dress For Your Landscape: True Summer, we talked about how certain colours, shapes, textures, and textiles all go together for a reason and why some just never belong. When the natural presentation is familiar and real to us, every element elevates every other. Colour is information, in landscapes or on people. We evolved to see, hear, smell, and feel certain information together and understand it instinctively. We each emanate a natural landscape of colours and they look so right when we don’t add in all manner of discordant notes.
In 12 Season personal colour analysis, Soft Autumn describes the natural colouring of a person whose inborn colours mostly resemble the True Autumn Season, but are cooled and grayed a bit because of the small influence of Summer’s medium muted blue. Because contribution is coming in from a warm and a cool True Season (True Autumn and True Summer), this is one of the 8 Neutral Seasons.
Even in these photos, the colours are telling you so much about the time of day, the position of the sun, the temperature, the time of the year. If you took pictures of a leaf on a tree in your backyard every hour for 24 hours, it would never show the same green twice. That’s what the Seasons are, essentially. They are the progression of the changing perception of colour in different lighting as the planet changes position relative to the sun, on a daily or yearly scale, through 12 steps.
I like how these pics have both Soft Autumn colors and a soft Autumn character. Feminine and elegant, with a pleasing earthiness and quiet strength. These pics helped me “make sense” of this palette and made me excited about wearing it. Honestly, my first impression was that Softs were a bit boring, (too neutral, too muted), but I see now that this palette can have a very pleasing, elegant glow.
Every part of these landscapes fits so well.
– The late afternoon, warm, comfortable light makes every colour glow with heat that is more full-bodied, not bouncy like Spring’s. Soft Autumn is Amaretto sliding down your throat, not whisky, not Sprite, and not green tea. The nectar, not the juice.
– The more solid substance of the stone walls and their rough surface says Autumn’s more robust strength. Do you know those Old Village paint colours? SA is much like that. They always have names like Colonial, Williamsburg, Chesapeake, you know.
On any of those pages, choose any Options&Price > Paint Sample Boards> View Colors (in red in the Online Purchase box). You will see an assortment of (mostly) SA colours, and certainly SA feelings. Architecturally, it feels like beautiful barns and covered bridges. Ralph Lauren ads and luxury Land Rovers, not Testarossas. Autumn is practical. They look real and right in clothes you could actually get something done in.
– The presence of water tells of a Summer component, but it’s never the bigger role. There is a drier feeling. Spring and Summer colours feel wetter, from petal to mist to fountain to lake. This landscape looks gorgeous with one element of water – a wavy line in a print, a scarf design, a leaf.
– This is mellow warmth, so think of every meaning of that adjective. To mellow out means to relax, to destress, to settle in, and contemplate another day. “I worked at this” looks are never less right. Soft Autumn looks like real life. She usually doesn’t look very different with and without her best makeup, compared to many of her sisters.
– The colour span is medium. Not real hot or cold, sunny or shaded, dark or light. Similar types of colours flowing together.
– This is not Spring’s hedonism. Soft Autumn is more homespun than hippie, though there’s a similar type of crunchy granola freedom about both. Here, we have a more organic seduction, as earthiness can be quite erotic. If you’re over 45? 50? and you remember Neil Diamond’s early material, the jeans, the long hair, the gravel in the voice, you may know what I’m saying. Hot August Night, you know?
Too often, the expression of passion through quiet is misjudged to be low, but that’s not so. Leave flash to someone else. Believe that others fully sense the extreme physicality of understated heat. We feel so grateful for the absence of force that we give more of ourselves back. Nothing rattles our cage, no visual element is aggressive, not a single one. We feel less guarded or inhibited, more open to reveal, more receptive to consider, more willing to play, I’m not using these words by accident. Soft Autumn is the most smoothly sensual Season. Everyone is highly tuned to getting the message the way Nature made it, whatever your variation. 10 million years of evolution gives us no other choice, when flash was just getting started.
In a wide V-neck, broom yellow sweater, knit loosely enough to see some skin, a mid-calf stone gray skirt in a cotton knit heavy enough to cling and move over curves, a favorite leather belt slung low over her hips, vintage brown equestrian or Frye boots, and a natural stone pendant around her neck, Soft Autumn is as much invitation to light someone’s fire as anyone can be when colour is working with them (because the definition of colour wealth is like the definition of financial wealth, right? “Your money is working for you, not the other way round.” Just substitute the word colour.) No blingy thing could raise the attraction and neither would a jeweled boat in one of those canals or a flying carpet going past the steeple below.
– We feel unthreatened and heaven knows there’s value in that. Nothing is asked of us. I have often thought that I like myself best in this company, probably because it is so undemanding. There’s no pressure to adjust to anything sudden or extreme. The contentment of sitting at a cafe, sipping a latte, knowing I don’t have to be anywhere, I couldn’t feel more ease. Soft Autumn’s landscape is almost hypnotic, lulled by the steady rhythm, but entirely without the innocence of a lullaby.
– What Kristin captured here is really important. She didn’t send maple trees in October, a jaguar, or a pumpkin patch. This palette has definite coolness compared to the True Autumn parent. She has a great perception of Soft Autumn. The tendency people have is to see it as warmer than it is, but since it’s primarily Soft, it is more gray than orange or yellow. And she even got the grays right! Quite fabulous.
The words got away from me again so we have another To Be Continued post. In the next section, how to translate the landscape in clothes and makeup, and some talk about blue.