#54: Red Landscape

#54: Red Landscape (Oil on Canvas Panel, 10 x 8 inches)
#54: Red Landscape (Oil on Canvas Panel, 10 x 8 inches)

This was painted over the recycled canvas of my earlier Painting #34. I applied one layer of Raw Sienna over the painting but the ghost of the original image was still there, so I decided to try the same composition in another colour scheme. I then repainted the above image (again!) to get to a final image (see below for the final image with explanation).

The image shown above stood around in my studio for about a week and I quite liked it. But then I looked again at the work of some other artists and felt I should loosen up my brush strokes a bit more and do less blending. So I used the above painting as a guinea pig. The result is shown below:

#54: Red Landscape Take 2 (Oil on Canvas Panel, 10 x 8 inches)
#54: Red Landscape Take 2 (Oil on Canvas Panel, 10 x 8 inches)
#54: Red Landscape Take 2 (Oil on Canvas Panel, 10 x 8 inches)
#54: Red Landscape Take 2 (Detail)

I am not 100% sure which one I like best, and I am very interested to hear what other people think (please comment!). Personally, I tend to like the first one more simply because I felt better while painting it – using longer brushstrokes in rhythm with the music I play while painting. To be fair, the second photo has some glare in it so it is not a simple comparison.

To be honest, which one is liked best may depend more on the mood one is in. I am now reading Robert Henri’s beautiful book ‘The Art Spirit‘. I am blown away by the depth of feeling behind his otherwise practical teachings. I plan to quote him at length – I am sure it will inspire others.

On the topic of how our mood affects what we perceive, Henri said:

All things change according to the state we are in. Nothing is fixed. I lived once in the top of a house, in a little room, in Paris. I was a student. My place was a romance. It was a mansard room and it had a small square window that looked out over housetops, pink chimney pots. I could see l’Institut, the Pantheon and the Tour Saint Jacques. The tiles of the floor were red and some of them were broken and got out of place. There was a little stove, a wash basin, a pitcher, piles of my studies. Some hung on the wall, others accumulated dust on their backs. My bed was a cot. It was a wonderful place. I cooked two meals and ate dinner outside. I used to keep the camembert out of the window on the mansard roof between meals, and I made fine coffee, and made much of eggs and macaroni. I studied and thought, made compositions, wrote letters home full of hope of some day being an artist. It was wonderful.

But days came when hopes looked black and my art student’s paradise was turned into a dirty little room with broken tiles, ashes fell from the stove, it was all hopelessly poor, I was tired of camembert and eggs and macaroni, and there wasn’t a shade of significance in those delicate little chimney pots, or the Pantheon, the Institut, or even the Tour Saint Jacques.

Henri, Robert. The Art Spirit (pp. 37-38). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

My apologies for the long post. A short poem by Li Po to close off:

Zazen on Ching-t’ing Mountain
The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.


this version copied from The Poetry Foundation

As always, my sincere thanks to all who have encouraged me with follows, likes and comments. I hope you have a great weekend filled with joy and contentment.

6 thoughts on “#54: Red Landscape

  1. I like them both, but think the 2nd one appeals to me just a little more, I like the added drama that texture and all the different tones in the sky gives the scene. The 1st one is so peaceful, but also I’d say it’s more ‘you’ or at least the ‘you’ that was! 🙂


  2. I think it is just a matter of opinion. The first one is more recognizable as yours. It is not as bright as the second one, but the second is only bright compared to the first…it still has that Fruitfuldark feel to it as well. I think asking which do you like better in this case is purely subjective because it is not like one really stinks and the other is great. Not the case here. Give me a choice between Pollock and Van Gogh and I will choose Van Gogh every time as being better…I can’t do that here. With the two paintings you have posted I feel like I am at the eye doctor…better 1, better 2…and if you have ever been to the eye doctor…sometimes choosing between 1 or 2 ends up being I don’t know!


  3. I would say that I like #1 best because it looks like the paintings that you produce and I see the feeling and sublime in your paintings. Your looser brushstrokes appear to me like you were trying something out and yet, I still see you in your painting. By the way, I love that sky! I have been thinking lately I want to grow and try new techniques but when do we absolutely know or say that “that’s not me”? I went tighter today depicting some buildings and my passion and excitement wasn’t there. I knew it was because I don’t particularly like tight paintings. When I am loose, I am happy, excited and the real me comes out to play. With your painting, you thought that you should loosen up with brushstrokes, etc. maybe we all need to do this now and then just to make sure we have the right shoes and they fit just fine. 🙂 I think that deep down we know if the shoe feels comfortable and if it fits or not. Finally I am starting to sense that in myself. Who knows, maybe you do need to explore and try on other shoes, what do I know or anyone else knows but you. By the way, I have that book by Robert Henri….time to re-read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for your thoughtful comment Margaret. I have to say, I also felt that the second painting was not quite “me”, but then we all do change over time, so in that sense I am glad I tried the variation, even though the first one is now no longer there. I am quite glad I did this, I learned a, lot from the exercise. Upward and onward!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. They are both appealing in different ways. Mood is a good metaphor for the difference as they each seem to depict a different emotional quality.

    I incline toward the second version as somehow seeming more exploratory. The visible brushstrokes through it emphasize the canvas as a surface and flow through the whole picture in contrast to the other version which feels more like an idea, as more focused around a visual concept.

    In particular I especially like the reflection in the water in the second version, which seems to me almost like a reinterpretation of the sky. You know how when you see the sky reflected in water you don’t always see a mirror image because sometimes the water is reflecting a part of the sky that isn’t visible in the scene …(?) This seems to be that way. It isn’t just a repetition of what’s above, but instead seems to reveal something hidden — another aspect of the sky.

    Just my thoughts. Of course Mr. Rilke said that you have to decide for yourself … Fun quote from Henri. Makes one want to dash off to France!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Aletha, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said: “Mood is a good metaphor for the difference as they each seem to depict a different emotional quality. ” I lean toward the first version, but for the water reflection I feel – as you point out – the second one has more energy and interest. But this was a very useful exercise for me and I may do this again in future with my next few studies. Thanks again for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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