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In the Frame for April 2012: Spicer’s ‘Mountain Range’

Two weeks or so ago we were pleased to welcome a year 9 student from a local high school on a work shadowing placement here at the Archive and Museum. We are grateful to her for taking responsibility for this month’s In The Frame. She has chosen Mountain Range by ‘Spicer’.

“The first thought I had when looking at this painting was that it was a reflection. In the middle to the left are several curved brushstrokes that, to me, give the impression of a water droplet hitting the surface of a smooth, still lake. After further inspection of the painting, I realised that perhaps it could be an indication of wind, or maybe just some random brushstrokes inserted by the artist.

“We don’t know much about this painting, except what we see, and the same goes for the artist. The artist (male or female) was named ‘Spicer’, and painted this in January 1950. Otherwise, mystery surrounds this piece of artwork, which is probably why it appeals to me.

“The whole effect is quite unexplained – we don’t know where this place is or if it was just imagined by the painter. The different shades of blue and purple give an aura of the unknown, almost like a mystical land. It almost looks like, with a stretch of the imagination, that there is a castle sitting on the middle mountain. The flowers too (though I confess that the extent of my knowledge of botany goes no further than watering my mum’s garden) look like there is something different about them.

“But the main reason I chose this painting is the use of colour. To begin with, the colours used are quite dark, which could reflect this person’s state of mind, but gradually change towards the top of the painting. I especially like the strips of orange and bright blue behind the mountains, since they compliment each other and stand out.

“The sky has a small range of colours – mainly indigo, lilac and peach – but is the most beautiful part of the whole painting. The clouds were formed very well – not too abstract yet not just a load of shapes – and give an impression of dusk, twilight or sunset. The other colours used in the painting are either quite bright and loud, or depressed and miserable, so the sky offers an alternative and a mix of both.”