O228-30: Emerald World

This is yet another attempt to come to grip with two things that lie at the end of my comfort zone in painting: (a) interpreting an intensely green landscape; and (b) innovating the horizon line.

In New Zealand, cool greens, whites and blues dominate much of the North Island landscape. Though most of my landscapes are invented, I find that I constantly draw imagery from my 3 km morning walk through the New Zealand countryside. Bringing that back into the studio is becoming my painting practice.

Handling large masses of green whilst still keeping depth, interest and variation is a challenge, and I keep on going at from different angles. I am quite happy with this effort:

#O228: Emerald World; Oil on Panel (approx 45 x 30 cm)


I found a gem of a poem in Marie Marshall’s “Naked in the Sea”, dealing somehow with the same “problem of green”. Here are the first and last verses:

E is for the Emerald World: 
summer in all its sickening fullness 
the lush and green depth of trees 
alive with the rustling of bird-wings 
this time when the stink of wild garlic 
and of the crushed stems of fennel 
make the corners of my mouth ache 
give me the naked honesty of the desert 
of the undrinkable ocean’s sky-to-sky 
or of the dust-devils of the townscape 
because the emerald world of summer 
is a green gem of ever-hard promises
mocking the starvation-stone in my belly

Marshall, Marie. Naked in the Sea 
P'kaboo Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Below are two other paintings where I was pushing the edge of my comfort zone a bit. In the first, I was trying to keep a very light key. After this photo was taken, I unfortunately started fiddling with this painting whilst in a bad mood and managed to wreck it completely. It is now slated for recycling.

#O229: Oil on Panel (approx 60 x 40 cm)

In the painting below, I was trying to work mostly in blue and grey. I have had a few good responses to this painting, but somehow I am not too fond of it myself. It was good practice though!

#O230: Oil on Canvas (approx 45 x 30 cm)

I keep going through cycles of doubt and confidence – proving that I am alive and fairly normal. The Doubt, I believe, is one of the most feared and useful facets in an artist’s arsenal. But seeing it that way can be a challenge.

In Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, he advises as follows:

And your doubt may become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become critical. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perplexed and embarrassed perhaps, or perhaps rebellious. But don’t give in, insist on arguments and act this way, watchful and consistent, every single time, and the day will arrive when from a destroyer it will become one of your best workers—perhaps the cleverest of all that are building at your life.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. Letters to a Young Poet. W. W. Norton & Company.


Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you are happy and content.


13 thoughts on “O228-30: Emerald World

  1. What a wonderful, rich post, Fritz. I love your top painting. I would hang it in my home. You’ve developed such freedom with your stroke and now with color.
    And I have to say the poem feels like an antidote to all the sappy stuff I write about the wonderful lushness of summer. It made me laugh.
    Thank you for taking time to still post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a interesting post. Your paintings are luscious, and the poem and quote from Rilke complement them so beautifully. Yes, doubt, how to make it a friend. And green. Is there anything more difficult to paint than a wildly green landscape?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is beautiful! You did an amazing job with the color. For me, it is reminiscent of the impressionists (which I love). The texture is gorgeous.

    Now, on that third painting you don’t quite..I do!


  4. Very nice. The horizon/middle distance suggests a lot in a small space- and the sky is superb.
    I like #230 too, a sense of something about to happen, perhaps a change of weather or other, it’s coldish there but quite lively. Nice post

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Greens can be fun to play with. Years ago I was doing my first water lily series which was pretty much all green as I wasn’t concentrating on the flowers but rather on the enormous scope of greens in the leaves and the water. I spent an inordinate amount of time making sample mixes and labeling them as to what colors I used and what proportions of each. It was actually fun to see how many variations I could come up with and I still use those charts today.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the comment Ali. I think what you are alluding to is that the way to handle masses of green is by creating lots of variations of green – and indeed there are an infinite number!


    1. Thanks Marie – it is interesting you notice that. Since my landscapes are mostly invented (I just start making marks on paper and the landscape appears somewhere along the way), I have often wondered about the fact that I seldom end up with panoramic views. It is mostly a lower lying middle ground looking up along a creek or a road. Interesting…let’s see what happens next?

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s