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Day 8: Crop, Oil on Canvas, 36x32 inches


I am increasingly interested in the relationship between humans and landscapes - places where we are apparently at odds with the land, agriculturally, architecturally, or even just visually.

This painting, Crop, shows a landscape with a very obvious element of human control – a man-shaped intricacy in a hidden valley. I enjoyed how the bright colour contrasted with the harmonious shades of its surrounds, how it added a striking note of colour to the landscape. This tiny yellow field also seemed to represent both our perseverance and our (potential) adulteration. Dwarfed as it was by the immensity of nature, the unlikeliness of this crop in this environment, demonstrated an overwhelming sense of determination. Life here is incredibly hard and the land virtually hostile – it seemed a triumph of man over adversity.

The tiny dash of colour amongst an otherwise pristine valley reminded me of the small dab of red found in many of Corot’s subtlest paintings. His work has always fascinated me and I love how the red dash became a shrewd means of controlling his viewer. Sometimes these ‘control points’ seem to occur naturally in a landscape and other times they need to be exaggerated as an effect or to stress a formal element, this painting is closely based on a real scene I saw, buried deep in a Kyrgyz valley.


Photos of neighbouring valleys:



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Polly Townsend

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