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Clad in a Purple Mist, Niarbyl

Date made: 1984

Artist: Courtie, Ralph

Description: Courtie’s impressionistic view of Niarbyl apparently contains very little detail, but if the viewer knows the area, the distinctive tail of rocks going out to sea is instantly recognisable.

The painting is a classic artistic exercise in the technique of tonal variation and the use of monochrome (single colour). The sea and sky merge into one as the ghostly outline of the rocks barely appears from the pink and purple mist. The painting is perfectly summed up by its title 'Clad in a Purple Mist, Niarbyl', as it shows the sun setting in the west and the Niarbyl rocks emerging from a misty haze.

The artist’s view of the work:
Clad in a Purple Mist, Niarbyl has a special significance for me as it captures the atmosphere in the late afternoon at Niarbyl, a place where I spent memorable summer holidays in my pre-teen years, climbing cliffs, studying rock pools, exploring, searching for shells and treasures that had been washed up on the rocks and beaches.

I particularly like the hazy atmosphere in this painting, as it simplifies everything, takes away the detail so you are left with the feeling of the moment in time.

Not all my paintings are without detail but where there is, such as a work that features a sailing ship with complex rigging, I strive to limit the detail so that the viewer doesn’t get too bogged down in studying that detail thus missing ‘the feeling’ which is all important.

Although both impressionistic coastal scenes, there are considerable differences between this work and Dachinger’s view of Ramsey Bay. Apart from the obvious difference in medium, the speed and immediacy of Dachinger’s watercolour technique and use of vibrant and almost discordant colour contrasts strongly with the more measured and deliberate style of Courtie’s work. The colours of Clad in a Purple Mist, Niarbyl seem to change as one views them. In particular the colour and tonal variation are so subtle that the painting seems to have no texture other than the very fine meticulous horizontal brush strokes.

Measurements: unframed: 74 cm x 49 cm

Materials: Oil on canvas

Object name: painting

Collection: Art Collection

ID number: 1988-0198

Subject tags : #mm100artcollection


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