The season of summer is celebrated in some splendid paintings both literal and abstract, ancient and new, and in locations spanning the globe, from cityscapes to countryside, from seas to woodlands, from daytime through to the long nights.
I have recently returned from a long summer's walk through the landscape of the South Downs where I walked the border of land and sea for 110 kilometres with The Refugee Tales project. The project both publishes a series of books and organises walks throughout the landscape of the UK in solidarity with those held in indefinite detention, along the way reclaiming the land as a place of belonging.
Longing for the landscape on my return from the walk, I was delighted to discover a painting entitled Summer Landscape, Sussex by David W. P. Humphreys in the archive to transport me back to that terrain. One of the most striking elements of my walk was the chalk – part of my walk took me across the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs all the way to Eastbourne. While the specific location in Sussex is unnamed in this painting, what appears to be chalk is captured in a terrifically textured way with a dark cliff rising into a red sky.
'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?', asked Shakespeare in Sonnet 18.
It is the inspiration for the title of a painting by Philip Sutton held in The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery which is alive with the bright colours and shapes of summer.
The idyll of that summer's day is shown in many a painting such as Diana M. Armfield's picture-perfect A Summer's Day, depicting a peaceful scene of people in a park. Other scenes I enjoyed include Summer: Miles and His Kite by Henry Kondracki, showing the tiny speck of a person dwarfed by sea, sky and sand.
There are many paintings titled simply Summer Landscape which show how artists have admired the natural world in this season.
Even bad weather in summer seems serene in the paintings I've seen – Summer Storm by an unknown artist shows rain failing in what looks like a wave of blue hair.
It is not only a summer's day that is celebrated in paintings but also the long nights, and nature at nighttime in this season, as in Midsummer Night, Lofoten, Norway by Adelsteen Normann which shows atmospheric red clouds of sunset over the archipelago.
Summer Evening, Achill shows two people admiring the clarity of evening light on water, while summer evenings are shown in an adventurously abstract way in paintings such as Abstract – Summer Sunset by Georgia Melhuish, which makes the most of strokes of orange, yellow and white.
There is also Summer Night on the River by Barbara Beck, showing five people on a boat-trip in such resplendent colour and texture that it made me want to slip out and enjoy nature at night.
The Summer Moon – Bait Gatherers, showing moonlight on water and people gathered at the shore, and Summer Moonlight, Firth of Clyde, make me want to stroll through the evenings and admire the magnificence of the moon in this anniversary year of the first person to land on the moon.
Artwork subjects range all over the world, and from cityscapes to the countryside.
There is, for example, Summer in the City by Gillian McCormick, showing an abstract cityscape and blue skies.
In contrast to urban scenes, I love Summer Meadow by Tony Turpin showing a glory of red flowers stretching all the way off the edge.
Cornfield Summer by Lindsay Anne Rutherford is an enchantment of deep yellow and amber.
I also love the cornfield in Sunlit Cornfield (Sketch for 'Summer') by Alan Reynolds (the finished painting is in the Tate).
Summer by Ivan Grigorievich Savenko shows the lush green of full-leaved trees and tall grass.
Paintings show the season in all of its stages – from Early Summer by Daniel Alexander Williamson to Late Summer in the Severn Valley by Alastair Frederick Flatteley.
Thankfully (or at least hopefully!) there are still many weeks of the season still to enjoy.
Many abstract artworks show how the season of summer has set the imagination of artists alight and brilliantly distil the spirit of the season, such as Summer Lightning by George MacPherson held in the Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture.
One of the most powerful of abstracts, Summer's Promise by Carolyne Kardia, uses bright yellow, red, green and blue in shapes which look like the inside of a flower, capturing all the potential the season seems to hold.
Inspired by these paintings, I'm now going to stroll outside into the summer evening as the sun sets and admire every moment of the season while it lasts.
Anita Sethi, journalist, writer and critic