The natural elements present in the outdoor scene are depicted as they would appear to the present eye through the effects produced by attributes such as colour, shape, texture, and space. The different facets of the depiction interplay in creating a natural sense of movement, allowing the image to reflect the appearance of a natural atmosphere in motion. The following essay initializes with an evaluation of the painting’s attributes and what they produce, as well as how they reflect aspects of Impressionism, the essay will then move on to discuss how these attributes work together to produce the appearance of a natural atmosphere in motion.
The shapes depicted in Guillaumin’s painting lack defined outlines or barriers. Rather than featuring a naturalistic approach present in movements such as Realism, the image rather aligns with the Impressionist technique of creating shapes out of buzzes of colour. This can be seen in the fuzzy depictions of leaves upon the central tree in the image, and the foliage surrounding the image’s border. This effect of varied spaces of colour becoming the basis of the image’s shapes is additionally reflected in the cascading, blended nature of the blues and whites of the Mediterrianian ocean. The fuzing of non-fixed colour reflects the notion of cohesive movement, allowing the many formed buzzes of colour to culminate in the reflection of a moving environment.
Shape additionally plays an integral role in this image through the proportion reflected by the contrast between the foliage in the foreground and the cliffs in the background. The tree features incredibly smooth trunks which creates a contrast with the more rigid cliffs depicted directly behind/below it,, This contrast works to create proportion through reflecting a large amount of distance between the two attributes. Guillaumin is reflecting a distinct element of Impressionism, creating balance in proportion without utilizing clearly outlined depth. This contrast in shape reflects the feeling and appearance of a natural atmosphere.
An additional element that produces a strong effect in this painting is colour. The colour of the darker blue/grey sky contrasts with the much brighter colours featured in foreground. The contrast’s appearance is subtle however as the darker sky appears to seamlessly transition into the slightly brighter colour of the ocean. The resulting effect is that the ocean creates less contrast with the rocks and foliage in the foreground than the darker sky would, creating an overall more blended image. This effect serves as an example of harmony created within the image through the usage of contrast. The blending of the sky to the ocean to the foliage on the right side of the painting allows for the green of the stretching tree, covering both ocean and mountain, to appear harmonious amongst the present earth tones. This sense of unity created by the apparent blending of these colours reflects a sense of harmonious movement amongst a natural atmosphere.
The use of light and dark greens in the image’s foliage creates a lush structure that’s shadow comes from darker notes of its own rather than the absence of colour. Additionally the non-precise splotches of white and green colour on the red rocks create a sense of obscured detail, reflecting the perspective of a far-away observer. The lush depictions of colour and obscured detail created through unexpected splotches reflects a notion of overwhelming beauty of a natural atmosphere as the eye can not observe every facet of detail at once.
Texture becomes important to the theme expressed by the painting as it forms the rigidness and viscosity of the image. The cloudy effect on the ocean’s blended colours and the white light depicted in the foliage is furthered by the thick, wet application of paint to these areas. The effect of painting on non-dried oil paint is a glossy, wavy texture. It is this application to these areas that allows for depth to be added to the image. The blending of colour within the ocean obscures depth which allows the ridges of the texture to establish the liveliness of these areas. In the case of the lighting on the foliage, texture allows for the light to elevate itself, reflecting darkness around it as distinct shadows. In this sense, texture directly allows for the movement of light on the foliage, and the changing of colour from dark to bright of the waves in the ocean. The moving and changing natural atmosphere is thus further reflected by texture as it creates motion and depth in otherwise flat, lifeless areas.
The image’s composition is largely reflected by its perspective, spacing of attributes with different colour and usage of empty space. The image’s perspective is that of one looking slightly down on a scenic shorefront. The elevation is such that the tree’s upper leaves, shown to be the height of a cliff above water, are at eye-level. The shorefront positioning reflects an extension into a grander sphere (passage into the ocean). These features of perspective reflect an attribute of Impressionism, the subject matter of images turning to the perspective of an observant onlooker. The reflected attribute of observation in perspective reflects a time or occurence of change and movement. The perspective in this image reflects the observation of a changing landscape and a changing natural atmosphere in which the onlooker is apart of (as they are eye-level with the scene).
Spacing is additionally reflected in this image in the placement of attributes of different colour within the image. The greens and reds of the image are kept clustered together in the bottom left of the image while the blues and greys are kept in the top right, stretching across to the top left. The result of the proximity of the green and red, on opposite sides of the colour wheel, is a clustering bright blend of alive nature. The result of the proximity of the greys,whites and blues is a soothing descent. The culmination of the two clusters of colour is a yin-yang type shape of colour in the image, reflecting a cyclical, whirling nature to the scene. Similarly, the usage of vast empty space in this painting allows for the clustered, “broken” colours to obscure the bottom left half of the image. This creates a sharp contrast between the bottom left half and top right half of the image, as the top right half features a much more smooth, blank tone. The contrast between detailed, busy forefront and blank, toned background is additionally reflected in many Japanese landscape woodblock prints. The effect of this contrast between empty space and what is immediate in proximity is humanizing as it reflects the distant feeling of the sky, in a way removed from immediate nature. In this painting the difference in tone created by the usage of empty space has the effect of reflecting the difference between the blank backdrop that is the sky, and the active, changing atmosphere of nature on Earth.
The different attributes of shape, colour, texture and space individually play roles in creating the expression that is a moving atmosphere of nature through Guillaumin’s painting. The effect that allows for these individual forms of expression to culminate in a central feeling is the interplay of these attributes. An example of this is the combinative effect of colour, texture, and space coinciding in the reflection of natural lighting in the painting. Natural lighting is reflected in this image through the shadows on the foliage and cliffs and the stark depiction of colour in the sky. The shadows on the foliage and cliffs within the image are formed by blotches of darker colour. In the foreground, the shadows blend more thoroughly into the surrounding colours with a smooth texture whereas the cliff’s shadows appear to directly contrast the red colour beneath them. In both cases, natural lighting and its form of movement is reflected through the formation of, and changing of shadows. Additionally, the changing of natural lighting is reflected in this image through the depiction of the sky. The sky is depicted as being clouded over but still bright enough to light the seafront. The effect of empty spacing, with a grain-like texture across a grey but not gloomy sky allows for the brightness of the image to remain to the foreground, and for the changing of natural light to be reflected in the main focus of the image.
The general expression of this painting is natural motion. This has been reflected by the unity-forming usage of shape, the way colour and texture were used to create visual movement, and the way the image was spaced to create a capturable impression. The different attributes of this painting such as shape, colour, texture and space provide effects through direct appearance and combined application that culminate in a reflection of the natural motion of the depicted atmosphere.
Colour texture and space work together to reflect the natural lighting.change of lighting in the image
Texture and shape work together to create a “melting effect” predominantly exemplified in the red rock formations and the trees over-arching leaves.