Homer Watson’s Horse and Rider In A Landscape Examining the formal qualities of Homer Watson’s painting Horse and Rider In A Landscape was quite interesting. I chose to analyze this piece as apposed to the others because it was the piece I liked the least, therefore making me analyze it more closely and discover other aspects of the work, besides aesthetics. The texture of the canvas works very well with the subject matter portrayed in the painting. The grassy hill side and the leaves of the trees are especially complimented by the canvas.
It makes the leaves feel like they are slightly moving, this combined with the lack of detail itself the leaves. This is contrasted nicely with the very detailed renderings of the trunks and branches of the trees, the conscious decision to put so much effort into the tree itself and then to use obvious brushwork in the leaves makes the trees much more firm and immovable in the landscape. The brushstrokes are very clean and precise on the trees in the background. There is a lot of repetition of the vertical lines of the forest in the background of the painting, these vertical lines draw the eye up into the clouds and the sky.
These repeated vertical lines contrast harshly with a horizontal line that divides the canvas almost exactly in half. The background, upper portion of the canvas, is quite static and flat, whereas the foreground and middle ground of the painting have quite a lot of depth. This static effect is made up for in the immaculate amount of detail in the trees described earlier. The perspective lines in the fences and the road draws the viewer into the painting. Perspective lines occur also in the background of the painting in the upper right in the trees getting smaller as they descend into the painting.
This painting is an example of linear perspective. All lines converge at a vanishing point. At first sight the house in the middle ground appears to be the destination of the rider, but the use of linear perspective suggests that something else is important beyond the house and the green hill. This painting appears to take place either at either dusk or dawn, when the sun is at the horizon. Likely it is dusk, as the setting appears to be in the Northern Hemisphere and the snow in the picture residing on the left hand side of fence would suggest it has yet to melt, so the sun would be setting in the west, or on the right.
So the viewer, as well as the subject, is facing south. This affects the painting in several ways. The lighting is very dramatic, the middle ground being very much more lighted than the foreground and background, therefore the colors are more saturated than the foreground and background. Greens, browns and greys are used a lot in this piece and makes it very muddy. The house really does stand out against the painting because of the contrast of lighting.
The piece is pretty balanced, it is more or less partitioned into four parts by the strong horizontal line in the middle and the road meeting with the edge of the forest vertically, the lighter areas in the top right and bottom left, the darker in the top left and bottom right areas of the painting. Lastly I think the frame of the work, it being a muted tint of yellowish green, added to the prevalence of the perception of the muddiness of the work. With a darker frame it may bring the highlights and color saturation from the lighting into more predominance.