Saturday, 28 January 2012

View from the train window

I think that the most beautiful landscapes are sometimes the sceneries visible from the train's window. I don't take the train very often but I always try to get a window seat and keep my camera at hand should an inspiring landscape appear. This is one of those.

View from the train window    10"x8"   oil on board

I treated this painting as a little study keeping in mind a few goals: simplify, use big brushes and plenty of paint. I wanted to give the feeling of what we would see from the train window and make it simple and almost abstract as you would only see this for a second or so.


To unify the whole painting and enhance the bold brushstrokes, I applied a glaze of raw sienna with liquin original once the painting was dry.

Here is below the original photograph:

I applied a photoshop filter to it to simplify the scene and get the essence of it and only used this as a reference when painting:

I like to see this painting in a frame as I think it frames it just like the train window would.


  1. Valerie... this is an interesting concept and the composition is great. However, your patchwork paintstyle, which as you know I adore and think is your signature style, doesn't seem to lend itself to the concept. Maybe you should take it a step further and paint the trees in the background sharper and the foreground more blurred, maybe adjusting the size of your brush in background and foreground to emulate the effect. Interesting that the white reflection in the glass, on the right of the tree has made it through to your final picture.

  2. You captured so many beautiful greens in this one. I would have to say that I like the overall harmony of color and brushstrokes.

  3. Great work Valérie, simplicity is so hard to achieve and you have! Love the idea of making it look like a glance out of a moving window. Well done :)

  4. Thanks Ian for your comment. I like how you really give a proper critic and I see your point. I don't think I want to change it more but I know what you mean and indeed my paintings usually have a clear focal point which will be more detailed/contrasted but here I wanted to give an impression of speed/blur and not make anything stand out in particular. Well spotted about the reflection of the glass. I originally didn't mean to keep it but I thought I looked good after the photoshop filter so I thought "why not?".

  5. Thanks Douglas and Haidee-Jo for your lovely comments. Good brushstrokes, simplicity and harmony was what I was trying to achieve so I'm glad you like it.

  6. You made a beautiful painting out of this, excellent! When I take photos from the train they all get blurred , so you must have a very quick finger :-)

  7. Thanks Jane! My camera has probably more to do with good pictures than my fingers!

  8. Great work Valerie, It's nice to see such confident unfussy brush-work.

  9. Thanks "Oil Paintings" for your lovely comment!