This was a special commission, a retirement gift for the co-worker of a friend. When I found this beautiful autumn landscape on his Facebook page, I knew immediately that it was the right image. The autumn colours suggesting age, the road speaking of continuity.
But I changed the image slightly. Instead of the road disappearing over the brow of a hill, I turned it into a curve sweeping away to the promise of the future.
Although the painting seems like it evokes stillness, an empty road through a wooded landscape, in fact everything in the painting is dynamic. The road draws your eyes up to the focal point of the picture, then curves invitingly away. The road surface is not a flat black, but rather is mottled with watery white, while the road markings start to blur and break up as we move away from our viewpoint, all of which adds a suggestion of speed to the picture.
This is supported by the impressionistic treatment of the leaves. The yellow becomes brighter as the scene moves out of the nearby shadow and into bright sunlight around the curve of the road. Another promise of a bright future. While near to the viewer, vivid reds evoke all the excitement and the richness of autumn. Under an autumn sky with tiny patches of blue breaking through the cloud, this is a picture full of promise.
Which is what made it such a perfect gift for the co-worker of my friend. He was the oldest employee of the company, but this picture spoke of a bright future still ahead, just around the sunlit bend in the road.
I was present when the painting was presented to him. It was a priceless moment.
Oil on canvas, 60x70cm, 2014