#O202-3: A Deep Quiet

This is yet another version of a scene I photographed many years ago. I have painted this several times in watercolor and oil. One of my oil painting versions was shown in this early post. The image above and below is a much looser interpretation of the scene.

In this painting, I put down that gloomy green cloud and I was just blown away by that orange sky behind it. Especially the subtle soft at the top of the sky.


The source photo is shown below. I still remember the day well, driving home from work, now more than 10 years ago:


Below is my painting number 203. This is an invented landscape – as I have done many times before, I relied on a tried and trusted composition. I put this painting aside several days and then reworked the almost dry paint with a brush, smoothing out some of the more violent palette knife strokes. I am quite pleased with the final outcome:


I will end off this post with a story about the place where the source photo shown above was taken. I already related this story in this much earlier post:

About one kilometre North-East from where the photo above was taken I once walked with the dogs late in the afternoon. The sun had already set and it was getting cold and dark quickly. Winter grasses all around thick and wet with early dew.

I saw an owl gliding along the thin streamline. It was very close and glided very slow, almost hovering. And dark as it was, I could still see clearly as he came past me that huge beautiful head distinctly turn and the cavernous eyes look at me intently. I realized, quite without drama, that something small in me had changed, if only because of the deposit of that moment into the marshland of my memory.

It was only later that I came across the poem “The Owl” by Thorkild Bjornvig (translated by Robert Bly in his book News of the Universe: Poems of Twofold Consciousness). The poem ends like this:

…then I felt his huge and yellow stare
plant something foreign in me, a deep quiet,
a mad freedom; my heart laughed
when the bird raised his soft wings.

Rilke knew something about sadness:

I believe that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension that we find paralyzing because we no longer hear our surprised feelings living. Because we are alone with the alien thing that has entered into our self; because everything intimate and accustomed is for an instant taken away; because we stand in the middle of a transition where we cannot remain standing. For this reason the sadness too passes: the new thing in us, the added thing, has entered into our heart, has gone into its inmost chamber and is not even there any more,—is already in our blood.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. Letters to a Young Poet (p. 35). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

6 thoughts on “#O202-3: A Deep Quiet

  1. What a wonderful post, pictures, stories, quotes — an embarrassment of riches! The top painting with its gloomy green and powerful orange horizon light — it’s so powerful. You are Nature’s friend, my friend! You are getting at something Van Gogh discovered in his early phase, but you find it in your own individuality and you make it modern also. At long last both things will be continually present tense.

    And the second picture, also, so incredibly lovely.

    And thank you so much for sharing the story of the bird — again. Is more poignant in its retelling.


  2. I have seen many skies like this, with a startling, almost illogical contrast. Looking at a sky like this (or, better, at what a sky like this appears to be after having been filtered through the consciousness and technique of an artist) makes me feel as though my mind has been separated into two halves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I have so often painted this cloud phenomenon I fear I may become a one trick pony. But it is so enticing and gives the landscape that clear division. You will know better than I, but was it Basho that said: “the problem with poetry is that it is either objective or subjective”. Well, i. The same way I feel like saying, “the problem with landscapes is that one is either above or below the horizon line”. Oh, to transcend that division abstractly, the work of a lifetime…


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