Tag Archives: oil painting through the window

Through the looking glass

view through the window

through the looking glass: looking out or looking in?

When painting a view you might think that you are recreating a scene outside yourself but I think it can also be true that you are looking within and revealing what is there. The inner landscape and the outer merge; there are the basic forms of the ‘real’ scene but a state of mind is present too. Feelings and thoughts permeate the painted landscape, ruffling the grass with agitated energy or smoothing it peacefully. Colours respond to emotions, becoming heated or cooled, excited or serene. How on earth it all works is a mystery, but that’s what makes painting so interesting.

The night before the crisis colours vibrated in the air, the vegetation, rocks and soil. The tree raised its branches towards the sky and sang, a piercing dischordant note.

oil painting, 9x12 inches on canvas, colourful swirling energy, tree in the landscape

the tree in a tumult of colour, with energy swirling around

After the event stretched nerves slackened, sinews untwanged and the landscape breathed slowly again, muting its colours.

oil painting in a calm style, 9x12 canvas, tree on the hill

after the crisis, a calm painting with balanced shapes and cooler colours

The next day everything became warmer, brighter and more optimistic and the landscape glowed in the evening sunlight.

oil painting with warm colours, evening light on the hill, 9x12 inch canvas

warm colours in the evening; the sun’s last visit to the hill with glowing light from the west

Manic trees, magical colours and evening light

photo of the view from Winder - Sedbergh nestling in the hills, blue sky, evening colours of green, gold and violet

violet, blue, gold and green – evening view from Winder

In the evenings the light can be magical, with huge areas of shadow and soft golden shapes rising out of the darkness. The sky has more colours – violets and pinks as well as blue – and the hills can be anything from ochre to viridian or even burnt orange. It’s the best time to wander on the hill. All of the colours glow, especially the gorse flowers which are, oddly, always in bloom. No-one else tends to be around because the lure of the television screen is stronger than the power of nature at this hour, or so it seems.

gorse flowers glow in evening light

gorse glowing in the twilight

It’s also an excellent time to paint, although the cold winds of May have made it best to wander the hill while well wrapped up before painting in the last of the light through the window back at home.

photo of evening clouds in a row and stones atop a wall

clouds and stones

Drawings are just as vital as paintings and can help when getting to grips with a scene.

charcoal drawing of hill and tree

compressed charcoal on paper, A3, view through the window or ‘that tree again’

And sometimes a simple view becomes overloaded with meaning when inner feelings insist on finding their way into the paint during less serene times. That tree swirling out there in the middle of it all has certainly taken on a personality of its own.

painting of window view, tree and fell in oils

turbulent times call for turbulent trees – oil on canvas, 9×12 inches, painted as seen through the window