James Dickson Innes (1887-1914), Arenig, North Wales, 1913, oil on wood, 85.7 x 113.7 cm, Tate Britain.
James Dickson Innes picks the various tones of Welsh slate – purple, blue, sea-grey, mauve, sage, almost black – out of this heavy sky over Arenig. The details of the landscape are not laboured, but there is a clear dynamism to the elements; the lake pushes out in all directions; the clouds rush; is it raining already? Meanwhile, the glowing mountain top and the flash of bright sky in the distance hint at the swiftly mercurial nature of mountain weather. Perhaps in ten minutes we will be in pure sunshine. This is not simply a depiction of a view to be admired from afar – the painting asks: where would you enter this landscape, how would you travel through it, how and when would you leave? DH