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Private 19

In this painting, the artist certainly shows the influence that his first hand observation of the paintings and techniques employed by Tom Tomson, (1877 – 1917), a Canadian landscape artist, had on his own work. There are also similarities in this painting to Post-Impressionist paintings, including some of Cezanne’s, whom Picasso described as being the ‘father’ of modern art.

The use of vibrant contrasting colours, the play of light on the landscape and composition rules were important to the artist. In this painting he has roughly used the ‘rule of thirds’ to place important shapes around the canvas.

It appears as if a fire has recently swept through the forest, leaving behind skeletal remains of trees. One tree has survived, and its foliage has been painted with deliberate, wide strokes of orange paint. Warm colours, orange and orange-red take up over a third of the canvas and give a feeling of heat. However, they blend well with the colour yellow that gives energy to the painting. Simultaneous contrast has been achieved through the inclusion of complementary colours, blue, green and violet/purple, and the effect balances the colours overall. By using a darker green-blue colour in the foreground, and manipulating colours that graduate through the mid-section, blurring them in the distance until they transition into a softly toned and yellow tinted sky, the artist has given the painting atmospheric perspective or visual depth.

Brush strokes are distinct, and the painting exposes the harshness of a land that is vulnerable to fire. The stark dead tree on the left is a reminder for the viewer that fire can destroy.

Acrylic on Masonite, date unknown.

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