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  • Writer's pictureHannah Blackmore

Exploring Horizons

In landscape painting, the horizon line is a critical element that serves as a reference point for the composition of the painting. The horizon line is the imaginary line where the sky and the earth appear to meet in the distance. It is usually located at eye level and is used to create a sense of depth and perspective in the painting.

The placement of the horizon line can dramatically affect the mood and composition of the painting. A high horizon line can create a sense of vastness and openness, while a low horizon line can make the scene feel more enclosed and intimate. A straight, level horizon line can create a sense of stability and balance, while a diagonal or uneven horizon line can create a feeling of tension or instability.

Artists also use the horizon line to establish the focal point of the painting. By positioning the horizon line in different parts of the composition, the artist can draw the viewer's eye to a particular part of the scene or create a sense of movement or flow.

Furthermore, the colour of the sky and the ground at the horizon line can play a crucial role in the overall mood of the painting. The sky and ground colours often blend together at the horizon, and artists can use this to create a sense of harmony or contrast. For example, a warm, golden sunset can contrast with the cool blue of the sky, creating a vibrant and dynamic composition.

To add to the mysterious quality of some of my seascapes, there is rarely a distinct horizon line over the ocean. Rather, the colours of the sky and the sea often bleed into one another, merging as if they were having a quiet conversation.

I pay attention to the paint itself, often exploiting chance occurrences or ‘happy accidents’ during the painting process. Paint is the medium between me and my observations of the world around me. I use contrasts, between colour choices, light and dark values, textured or smooth surfaces - that do battle on the surface of each piece. When the opposing elements find their dynamic equilibrium, I stop working. I reduce what I see to light, colour, and simplified form. Then I ask the viewer to complete the picture in his or her mind.

The horizon, where the land meets the sky, is a canvas of endless possibilities. It's a reminder that beyond our current view, there exists a world of potential waiting to unfold. Just as the sun sets, making way for the night, our horizons symbolise the promise of a new dawn filled with opportunities.


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