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John F. Carlson's archetypal landscapes shows trees with a brook running through them. The trees are not too thickly planted, and behind them one can see a more open patch of ground, that serves as a lighter background for the trees. The landscape is made up of a number of deeply contrasting colors: the black of the trees, the white of the background, the gold of a brook. These make up a distinctive color harmony, one involving violent contrasts from section to section of the painting. Primary colors are sparingly - there will be a little red in trees' leaves, a little yellow in light on water, but mainly the picture is in black and white and reddish brown and gold.
Paul Cornoyer specialized in city scenes after the rain, with reflective pavements, dripping trees, a gentle darkness, and buildings and trees seen in outline. His work is very distinctive, and as immediately recognizable as his own as are the twilight scenes of Atkinson Grimshaw. The blurred paint of Impressionism in his work blends in with the blurred vision of rain. This both justifies the Impressionistic style of his work, and lends it a certain originality - most impressionists favored bright sunlight. Despite the impressionistic style, his work is carefully composed. The city buildings shown in his work give a fully rectilinear composition, with many rectangles making up the composition. There are broad horizontal bands in the composition as well: a row of trees whose leafy tops are all the same height; the street itself, and the horse drawn carriages on it. The verticals of the trees are carefully integrated with the buildings behind them: one long buildings will have many tree of roughly the same hieght in front of it, while a tall tree in the left of the picture will be the sole tree in front of a tall building.
Bowdoin's The Bridge, Venice shows a mastery of composition. The bridge is seen from an angle, and its curve forms an elaborate geometric pattern on the right side of the picture. A large amount of pure, blank white space in the foreground serves as a perfect counterbalance. The people and foliage in the picture are a pastel mix of light blue, pink, and above all a light, whitish green, that is very beautiful. The canvas itself looks as if could be in Phi, the Golden Ratio. There is something of a spiraling effect, starting at the center of the picture and some people sitting on the shadow of the bridge, looping up along the line of people standing along the left rail of the bridge, then over down the other side to the people sitting on the far left of the painting. This gives a spiral of humans running through the painting. It is not quite a pure spiral, but it is a very interesting compositional curve.
The golden tone of Palmer's winter paintings is especially striking. It is like the gilt illumination of medieval manuscripts. It shows up both in his brooks, and his sky.
Connecticut in Winter is a well composed painting. The light green of the farmhouse in back in especially charming. Its rectilinear patterns form a composition that further includes the nearly straight verticals of the tree trunks, and the straight horizontal of the brook. There is also another horizontal line of vegetation through the middle of the picture. The light green is also used for vegetation along the banks of the brook, and for highlighting the bark of the trees. The effect is of light color and bright sunlight throughout the whole painting. The sparse, rectilinear composition, and the use of a few colors, recalls Mondrian. Mondrian also loved trees and their branches, and scenes with rural buildings in his early landscapes. Both Braun and Mondrian were active in the Theosophical movement, though on opposite sides of the world: Braun in San Diego, California, Mondrian in Holland and Paris.
Jones loved to show summertime meadows, with a brook, and trees in the background.
Both the water, and the hillside with flowers, are painted beautifully in Land's End. Groups of flowers of several different colors repeat rhythmically over the hill side. Several of the flowers are grouped into semi-circular arcs, indicating they are the flowering tops of hemispherical shrubs. Several of these arcs, in turn, flow down huge diagonals of rock, that range from the upper right to lower left. This mixture of straight diagonal lines and circular arcs lends a geometric regularity to the composition. By contrast, the water lines, such as waves or horizons, are largely vertical, although all have pleasing irregularities. Wores likes to make line, such as the horizontal followed by a wave, or a diagonal rock line, and then add irregularities to it, such as the various sections of a wave, or circular lines of yellow flowers.
When I was a kid, I thought of different regions of flowers in a yard, such as clover and dandelion, as constituting a "map". I always wanted to make maps of the various sections, and think of them as regions of a kingdom, like countries on a map. Wores produces much the same thing here. Each different section of rock has its own color scheme, depending on the type of green vegetation growing on it. And on top of this, there are different kinds of colored flowers, spread out into a different set of geometric patterns: scattered in clumps, arranged in lines or circles, many small overlapping circles or large sweeping arcs.
Wores is also good with light effects. The bright light is on the breaking waves as the lower left foreground; while the distant shore is in a beautiful, sunlight filled haze. The painting has a downward rush from right to left, along the rolling diagonals of the land. And the water is also arriving at the coastline in the lower left hand corner of the painting. This gives a sense of movement to the work, as well as a common focus.
The delicacy of Dennis' palette, and its wealth of color, is especially noticeable. Dennis' pictures are made up of many small regions, each depicting an object with another geometric shape and color. The designs could be too rich, but they are held together by Dennis' compositional sense, and the light hued impressionist color schemes, almost pastel. His worlds are so full of objects that they almost look like toy worlds. There is often water in them, especially streams; the water tends to be in the background, while the foreground is full of bushes and/or flowers.
Garber's pictures often show a landscape framed by trees. The trees often have bare winter branches. They make pure geometric patterns against the landscape.
In the exquisite Springtime in the Village (1917), the trees are just in the start of spring. They are still nearly bare of leaves, but each has a beautiful scattering of either leaf bud or flowers. This scattering looks like a thin cloud, hovering over the tree. The landscape is still visible behind the tree patches and the sparse colored scattering of buds. The scattered flowers remind one of similar sparse patterns of gold leaf in certain Japanese screens. They form both an abstract element of design, and a realistic depiction of budding, flowering trees. The shadow of a tree on a pale roof further adds another combination of firm branches and cloud of dots to the picture. Behind all this the landscape largely consists of houses and roofs; their clear geometric patterns makes a pleasant contrast to the curving irregularity of the trees and clouds of flowers.
Johnson's water color technique recalls that of Winslow Homer. But it is put at the service of a full landscape painting, and one that shows a far greater use of composition than Homer's works. None of the paintings I've seen by Johnson look at all impressionistic.
The upper part of Dixie Selden's painting Guinea Boats, Gloucester shows boats and a pier; the lower, the reflections in the water. The water currents turn these reflections into swirling abstractions. These reflections are the most visually exciting part of the painting. The reflections, like the image above them, are in full, rich color - the boats are a riot of blue, red, yellow and green. Modern paintings are full of such hidden abstractions. Monet spent his whole later career painting them, for example, and so did Henry Ossawa Tanner. The rich curvilinear forms of Selden's painting are unique, however. They are not the "regional" works following Kandinsky, where the paint clusters into regions on screen, nor are they the painterly abstractions of Pollock and his colleagues. Instead, they are swirling patterns of color and line. The very bright colors of Selden's work perhaps shows the influence of the Fauves. The top of the canvas shows a pier and harbor scene. It is full of the vertical lines of the pier and many diagonals from boat ropes. It is a complex and interesting composition.