Frankfurt in October

Autumn leaf 1509 blog

Autumn Leaf (A4 ink and watercolour 2014)

Every year in October I travel to Frankfurt for the book fair. It’s an inspiring time to be in Germany. The days are often warm, as if the summer can’t bear to let go, but the trees are already starting to turn red, gold and brown.

How often have I picked up a particularly beautiful leaf and put it somewhere – intending to draw or paint it later – then forgetten about it, finding a brown and shrivelled thing weeks later. This time of year is transience made visible, when everything changes from day to day, nature drawing down the shutters for winter.

The book fair is an international expression of creativity. The world’s publishers set out their stalls in five or six halls, some with three floors per hall. Those of us who are mainly English-speaking can only feel humbled walking through, say, the Norwegian or Dutch sections, seeing books by writers largely unknown outside of their own languages. There is so much that we can never know.

On the theme of creativity, this morning I read an interview with the conductor, Simon Rattle, in the Sueddeutscher Zeitung magazine. He described how, when conducting, the music is felt in every part of the body. He mentioned a conversation between Leonard Bernstein and Andre Previn. “How are you, Andre?” asked Bernstein. “OK,” Previn replied, “But I have terrible backache.” “Really?” Bernstein gasped, “I had no idea you were so successful!”


24 thoughts on “Frankfurt in October

  1. I’m so glad you took the time to paint the leaf this time, it is gorgeous, and the fragment of text with it adds something essential visually.
    Enjoyed your travellog as well. I once had a free pass to the San Francisco book fair as an illustrator trying to find a publisher for a little book I’d made. I wouldn’t recommend the experience to anyone. Though this was probably in the 1980s- a different era. So glad you had a chance to attend without any agenda other than to enjoy!
    take care, Sarah


  2. So funny you’d post this about Frankfurt today. I just signed up for the iPhone app, for while I’m not there I was nonetheless wanting to hear vicariously what’s going on. (I have another book coming out next year. And my first job was at John Wiley & Sons.) Gorgeous leaf. You’ve immortalized the transiency.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a beautiful painting, Michael. This is such a lovely time of year. Enjoy Frankfort. My youngest daughter is living in Berlin but will be doing training in Frankfort in January and hopes to move there later in the year. I’ve never been but now I will have a good excuse. You’ll have to share all the good places to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

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