Formal Art Analysis

1 January 2017

Forest Monarch, a watercolor painting by Reynold Weidenaar is one of the pieces of art hanging on the walls of the Art and Music Library in the second floor of Funderburg library. The painting consists of a massive tree as a backdrop and has a man facing the tree, turning his back towards the audience. The tree in the painting may be an oak tree. Generally, an oak tree is considered to be the king of the forest. The title of the painting is Forest Monarch, suggesting that the tree in the painting is an Oak tree.

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The man in the painting is carrying a gun which provides a hint that he might have been a hunter looking for a prey around the tree. Two contrasting ideas of peace and violence are presented together in the painting. On one hand, there is a huge calm tree firmly standing in a stationary position while on the other hand, there is an active man facing the calm tree with a gun. The calmness provided by the tree can end within the next few seconds if the man decides to use his gun. The focus of the painting-the tree- is located in the center of the painting while the man is at the bottom left corner of the painting.

Such positioning allows viewers to first recognize the tree which is the main focus of the painting upon looking at the painting. Although the tree catches the viewer’s attention first, the painter has made an effort to make the man stand out so that the viewers do not miss to see him. The painter does this by making the man wear bright colored clothes. The man’s clothes are blue and red as opposed to brown and gray. Dull dark colors like brown and gray would not have made the man as obvious as he is now. In addition to the colors used in the man’s clothes, the painter has also used color as a means of portraying the time.

The light brownish, orange and yellowish background suggests that it is that time of the day when the sun is just about to set and the night is about to begin. The dark brown partially naked branches of the tree suggest that it is autumn. The lines used in the painting help to give more life to the painting. A combination of straight lines and curvy lines that are used in the tree makes it look more real. Uneven lines are used to portray the branches of the tree and the surrounding shrubs and grasses. Those uneven lines give a natural touch to the painting. Also, the way in which lines have been used to depict the man is commendable.

The way in which line is used to show the man’s feet suggests that the man is moving forward or walking towards the tree. In addition to the focus, color and lines used; the values used in the painting like lightness or darkness also plays an important role. In the forest monarch, the painter has used a lot of contrasts (lightness and darkness) to depict the position and distance between the elements in the picture. For instance, the grass that is right under the tree is light green as opposed to the grasses and shrubs that are far away behind the tree which are very dark green.

Also, the lower parts of the tree trunk are lighter compared to the upper parts of the tree which are darker. With the use of varied values, lines, colors and focus, the painter has successfully portrayed the forest monarch in a limited space. By positioning the elements in the painting in a certain specific way, the painter effectively depicted the elements in proportion and in correct scale to one another. Taking an overall look at the painting, it can be seen that all essential components and images in the painting are effectively balanced.

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