In class we were working on art appreciation, we had to choose a painting in a little book. I chose this one because the painting looked so mysterious to my eyes. The colors are really dark, we see a train coming, and a horse walking towards it on the rails. This is a very unusual picture, this is why it caught my attention first. We can see rails, a horse, and a train coming out of the horizon. There is some action going on, and the questions that people would probably ask each other, “Why would the horse walk towards the train? What is going to happen?”. It really caught my attention. “Against a regiment I oppose a brain, and a dark horse against an armored train.” -Alex Colville
Here would be some of my first impressions:
I looked through all of the paintings, and that one had something different. Dark colors. The colors are so dark that we cant tell whether its a painting or not. There’s a horse, rails, and a train. I thought for a moment, looked at the horse, and tolled myself, ” The horse looks courageous, sure of what he’s doing.”. the train looks like its coming really fast, what is going to happen?
The painting is so dark that we can’t even tell what colors Alex Colville used. And why would the horse want to go towards the train? We wouldn’t see that in real life… Anyways, that painting has something different. It’s very unusual. Also, we can see that the clouds have a weird shape, dispersed. They have a mix of warm and cold colors. A kind of orange, mixed with some blue. We can also see the train’s smoke going up in the sky, mixing with the clouds colors. Very special!
Now, I am going to talk to you about the artist, Alex Colville.
David Alexander Colville was a famous Canadian painter. He worked with Modern Art, Precisionist, and Photo Realism.
He was born the 24th of August in 1920 at Toronto, Ontario. He went to Mount Allison University from 1938 to 1942, and then graduated with a bachelor of Fine Arts. Alex Colville went to war for two years, and because he was a Fine Arts student, he got inspired, and was a war artist. He continued on to tours in the Netherlands and Germany, where he was also asked to show or represent the horrors of the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.
After the war, he returned to New Brunswick and became a member of the Fine Arts Department at Mount Allison University where he taught from 1946 to 1963. He left his teaching to spend more time painting, print-making full-time from studio in his home (York Street, now named Colville house).
In 1966, the works made by Colville, along with other works made by Yves Gaucher and Sorel Etrog went to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale.
He died the 16th of July 2013 at Wolf Ville, Nova Scotia.
Here would be two other art works made by the same artist:
I find that this art work kind of looks like “Horse and Train”. Except that there is no train, and the dog is facing us, walking alone on the rails. I wonder why the dog is walking on the rails, on the bridge. Maybe it just wants to cross the river to get to the other side. Its weird to see a German shepherd walking alone, without anything else with him. Just alone.
The dog has no necklace, and he is standing alone. So it’s for sure that he has no master, and that he is a stray dog. Maybe he escaped, and used to have a master, who knows? Another thing that this painting has in common with Horse and Train would be the clouds. Alex Colville has a very special way of designing clouds. They are all dispersed around in the air, and they look like leopard spots. The sky has a kind of pinkish, orange color. Like if it was a very early morning, or like a late afternoon sunset.
This was painted in 1976, by Alex Colville.
Here would be the second one:
I find that this painting is also pretty interesting. It is kind of obvious that there is a dog in the painting. There is also a forest at the back, and some snow on the ground. You know in late winter, early spring when the snow always melts and only a thin layer of it stays? Well, it kind of looks like that period of the year. We can also see that the dog has a collar. So he is domesticated. We can see the movement that his body’s doing. It’s like if he was going in a direction, and then he’s turning to head the other way. Also, I can see that his eyes are unusual… The only colors that Alex Colville used to make this dog would be orange, black, and white. And the special thing about that dog would be his eyes, a complete orange. We rarely see dogs with orange eyes. The shape of his eye is kind of triangular, and the dog looks like it’s going to jump on his prey. Actually, he looks like a fox going to attack its prey. Like if he was walking super slowly, looking straight at it, ready to jump. The expression on his face really looks serious.
We can see that Alex Colville really likes to make paintings of animals!
These weren’t my first impressions. It took me a while to discover all of these things. When you see a painting, just stay there and look at it very closely. I bet your going to discover things that you didn’t noticed before. The painting could get really interesting when you look at it for a while!