I notice there are certain painters whose work I’m familiar with but which ultimately fail to resonate with me. I might acknowledge the tremendous skill and technique of a particular artist, but something about their output always leaves me indifferent, as if there were a barrier separating me from actually experiencing it. And then I eventually stumble upon a piece by that artist which miraculously strikes my fancy, and sometimes that piece then provides me a reference to better appreciate--perhaps even enjoy--their other works. I’ve seen a number of paintings by American Impressionist John Henry Twachtman, a majority of which, despite my love for landscapes, never held much appeal to me, but it was his Springtime which finally invited me into his world.
What really attracts me to this painting is Twachtman’s use of line to accent specific elements in the scene. My eye anchors in that dark, rigid edge found at the base of the lake, complimented by the equally-dark splotch of foliage found on the other side--all of which is contrast to the soft brushwork and muted colors throughout the rest of the canvas. Why did Twachtman direct our attention of these variables and not any others? Well, why not? I believe the artist used his tools to document those aspects of this landscape which held relevance to him, thus his painting welcomes us to comtemplate the scene through his unique sensory experience. This approach might almost be described as abstract, and those who enjoy the work of Mark Rothko might find something familiar in Springtime.