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Fall has been just spectacular in the Berkshires. In the leaf-peeping industry, bus tours to the New England area always try to come during the two traditional peak weeks (second and third week in October), when most of the trees have turned their vibrant colors and the trees are still full with leaves.   This year, the entire month of October was peak viewing!  The moderate temperatures kept the leaves in the yellow-orange color spectrum with an occasional fire red tree tossed in for a surprise.  Week after week, the leaves refused to fall off and I kept on taking picture after picture of beautiful trees.  I selected a variety of leaves for my art class to use when we did leaf rubbings with crayons and then the children filled each leaf in with watercolors.  My son collected (ok I collected most of them!) over ten black and rust brown woolie bears for a school project, created a habitat, and faithfully fed them apples and dandelion leaves and soaked white cotton balls with water so that they could drink. In this spirit of fall, I created my second treasure box from a recycled cigar box.  I kept it simple at first with a golden orange maple leaf on the top with a dark brown border.  If you look closely, you will see a woolie bear on the front right of the box.  Inside, I continued the fall colors with four more leaves in a pile. I imagine someone using this treasure box to keep those mementos that help us remember the passing of the seasons.

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Fall Colors

Fall Colors

Mid-October was the peak of fall colors in the Berkshires and “leaf peepers” have left, but in different spots there are still some brilliant trees and colors. It is like a special present to still find a tree full of leaves. I found this group of trees as I made my way to Lakeview Orchard in Lanesborough, MA to purchase some cider donuts. These donuts are so delicious and I mailed a dozen down to my brother-in-law in Texas as a surprise. I paint from my photographs so I try to be observant and stop and take pictures when I am out and about. This group of trees actually took two different tries; the first time was earlier in the fall and the shadows were too dark, but a few weeks later as I passed by, the sun was out and this photo turned out the way I wanted. Watch for this image in a future painting at my website http://www.mjnicole.com