Trees and Vistas

15 Feb

Monet_-_Bordighera-1884Claude Monet, Bordighera (1884)

rose-fig-trees-antibesGuy Rose, Fig Trees Antibes

Note: click on any image to enlarge

A classic compositional theme is that of foreground trees against a contrasting background vista.  I’m not sure why it’s popular but many of my favorite artists used the device to great effect.  There must be something in human DNA that likes contrasting trees!

How about the compositional similarity between Monet’s Bordighera and Guy Rose’s Fig Trees Antibes?  Sisley’s Orchard in Spring is similar in feel albeit with a different sort of background.  I would also group together Forsyth’s Ohio River Scene, Henri’s Woodland Scene, Monhegan Maine and Thomson’s Deadwood.

forsyth_Ohio River SceneWilliam Forsyth, Ohio River Scene

Robert Henri, Woodland-Scene--Monhegan--Maine-largeRobert Henri, Woodland Scene, Monhegan Maine

Sisley_Orchard_in_SpringAlfred Sisley, Orchard in Spring

Thomson_AOW_deadwoodTom Thomson, Deadwood

You don’t ordinarily group Van Gogh with Thomas Anshutz, but I sense a similar compositional vibe going on in Sower With Setting Sun and Landscape With Tree, Building and Water.  

van_gogh_sower_with_setting_sun_after_milletVincent Van Gogh, Sower With Setting Sun

anshutz_landscape_with_tree_building_and_water_pafaThomas Anshutz, Landscape With Tree, Building and Water

I was consciously emulating Anshutz and Van Gogh in my two paintings featured below.  There’s the obvious attractive light-dark contrast in the composition, but for me it’s a little more than that — there’s just something primordial about gazing out through a grove of trees onto a placid vista.  It feels good.

IMG_2602Bob Baker, Autumn Mundelein Seminary (2012)

img_2112Bob Baker, Tree and Fall Soybean Field, Gethsemani Abbey (2011)

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2 Responses to “Trees and Vistas”

  1. Anonymous February 15, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    Not much INVENTION in any of the examples….most of these ideas were fresh and NEW
    over a hundred years ago. How sad to think there are no more creative answers here.

    • bobbalouie February 15, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

      I’m sorry you’re sad. I note that your comment supposes the purpose of art is “invention” and “newness.” And why is that? Does beauty enter into your calculus? In the words of G.K. Chesterton — who lived around a hundred years ago — “[m]y attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.”

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