Monday 17 December 2012

17th December - Winter Twilight

The rain seems to be clearing so I am renewing my hopes for a white Christmas, albeit rather feeble hopes.  With this in mind, here is today's rather splendid image...

Winter Twilight James Thomas Watts
Now, I'm not really a big fan of landscapes, I like pictures with people in them as I am a devil for human interest, but this has such clarity and realism that I am won over.  I went to the Pre-Raphaelite Landscape exhibition a few years back and was somewhat skeptical of the whole concept, but it's hard to deny that when an artist with Pre-Raphaelite leanings turns his eyes to the natural world, magic happens. 

The half-light between day and night, at either end of the day, is my favourite time.  When there is light but no sun, a type of wonderment occurs and the landscape takes on a sort of change.  The snow tinged with the colours of the sunset seems perversely warm, and the bark of the silver birch seems to be pink like skin, in that mythic manner of beautiful women turned to trees.  Anything might happen in these surroundings, anything may arrive in the hush of the muffled, snow-draped clearing, from a rabbit to a fairy, a deer to a centaur.

A Welsh Wood in Winter
He did a good tree, did James Thomas Watts, and extended his repertoire to not only Winter, but also Autumn!

Autumn's Bravery
Easy now, that's quite enough tree-excitement for one day.  James Thomas Watts was born on 28 December 1849 in Birmingham and studied at the Birmingham School of Art, and his work has connections to Birmingham, Liverpool and Newlyn.  He seems to have been very prolific over his many years of painting (he died in 1930) and did not only these splendid landscapes (and many many more like them) but also so works based on Shakespeare.  He was married to Louisa Margaret Watts, also a landscape artist of a more impressionistic style.  The walls of their home did not lack for trees, I bet you.

The reason I was drawn to the art of the tree-loving Mr Watts is that it reminds me of one of my favourite aspects of the Christmas holidays.  Going out for a post-lunch walk is a great way of escaping the rather claustrophobic nature of packed houses and also it helps walk off the guilt and calories of all that food.  I loved walking in Savernake Forest when I was a child, and now we have other places to walk with our family.  Apparently the average person consumes 7000 calories on Christmas Day and so I think I may be walking for a long time that afternoon.  Possibly uphill.  With really heavy shoes....

See you tomorrow.


  1. I think you've just found me my new favourite painter.

  2. This post is gorgeous.

  3. He's like the Pre-Raphaelite Bob Ross....

    Thank you, Ladies :)

  4. Searching the web for inspiration, I often visit your blog. I am thankful for blogs like yours that always point to the beautiful.( there is so much ugliness in the world already ) I am an oil painter and often use a pre - raphaelite painting or a photo of a beautiful woman in present times as a jumping off point in which to create a new work. I will link to your site on my blog...


Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx