The painting in the top photo is John Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral.
Here’s snap of the painting itself that I took with my phone. I sat and looked at the painting for a while, noticing that the white of the clouds at the top right balance the dark of the trees at bottom left.
And that the trees at bottom left are not just a dark mass: There is a little tower, a folly perhaps, to lighten the corner and give the eye something to look at there.
When I look at the horses in the water I can feel the wetness.
Constable painted around the countryside in which he grew up. He didn’t travel and he just kept at it, painting the countryside he knew. There is a lovely quote from him in which he said “painting is but another word for feeling”.
One of his most famous painting is Wivenhoe Park, which was the park in which my university was set.
It was there that I met a fellow student, Jon, who took me out to see a robin’s nest. I stretched up and saw little robins in a bundle staring up at me with tiny black eyes. For me, brought up in a city and having almost no sense of nature, I was hooked in one second flat.
It was the start of a long affair with the countryside. It was also the start of a terrible unhappiness brought on by my growing awareness of the destruction of the environment.