The Timelessness of the Landscape Painting

article-autumn-marshIn nature, it is the light that creates color—on the canvas, it is the color that creates light!

Landscape painting has a timelessness to it. Go to Horseneck Beach or the Westport River or meander through the dunes and the beaches of the Provincelands of Cape Cod and you will see a landscape that seems to have escaped time. Go there as a child and return as a senior citizen and the water and the beaches and space and the openness still surrounds one as it did decades ago. For me, painting the landscape is to capture this timelessness. It is being inspired by a scene and so captivated by it that I need to transform it and give it another reality on the canvas.

Look out across a marsh near sunset and see the angle of the light illuminating and highlight the vastness of the landscape in the high drama of light and shadow and gradually, after the sunset and as the light fades, the landscape becomes a series of grays and browns. In nature, it is the light that creates color—on the canvas, it is the color that creates light!

Painters work with color, and it is a thrill to capture the light of the landscape through mixing the paint and applying value and hue next to value and hue; thus capturing a marsh in the brilliant spotlight of the setting sun. It is a thrill to have a canvas before you and to capture miles of vista and the drama of the sunlight and clouds and claim it as yours. The artists who painted the landscape in 1850 and the ones who paint it in 2008 see the shoreline and the water or the marsh bathed in sunlight and capture the same timelessness again and again.

Paint a woman dressed in the contemporary clothes of 1850 and another in the contemporary attire of 2008 and the difference is immediate; but a painting of the marsh by the Westport River captures the evocative scene in all of its beauty and renders it timeless.

Comments are closed.