Ralph Albert Blakelock Essay

Submitted By lindsey2890
Words: 1418
Pages: 6

Ralph Albert Blakelock’s piece Diana’s Mirror is a moonlit landscape. The artwork was originally painted between 1880-1899. Diana’s Mirror is currently located in the Akron Art Museum in Akron Ohio. Diana’s Mirror is oil on fabric mounted on fiberboard. This piece is 24 ¼ inches tall by 30 ¼ inches wide. The texture of the work itself is very smooth for oil painting. You can see traces of Blakelock’s brush strokes, but they are very light. Although the work is in great viewing condition, small cracks are visible throughout the oil paint. The cracks are only visible up close and do not deter the viewer from seeing the work at all. Blakelock seems to be most famous for his work Moonlight, which is another moonlit landscape painted during the same time frame. It is unknown whether this artwork was a painting of a specific location or if this was the work of Blakelock’s imagination.
When first looking at the artwork, the viewer sees a horizontal orientation of a pitch black night only illuminated by the moonlight peaking from behind the trees. As you look more closely you can begin to see the shadows that make up this landscape begin to form. Blakelock’s use of blacks and cool greens really convey to the viewers the stillness and darkness of his work. His use of a bright light yellow for the moon and its highlights, very clearly states that it is the focal point for this piece. The moon is what draws the viewer’s eyes when first looking at the work, but the implied line draws the eyes to the reflection of the moon in the water. The implied line being the “V” shape seen in the tree line. This causes the viewer to begin to look down the painting, landing in the pond in the center of the painting. In this pond, the viewer can see the reflection of the moon and the dark moody sky.
The use of color in the work was simple. Simple meaning that there were not many colors used. Black, green, blue, and yellow seem to be the colors of choice. Although, I do not know how many shades of each color were used. The line of trees just behind the pond is mostly black with tinges of green, seeming to be cause by the idea of the trees being backlit. This gives the viewer the feeling of just how dark this night would be without the moonlight. In the “V” shaped opening in that tree line, a second set of trees can be seen off in the distance. These trees are mostly green with shadows of black. This causes them to look almost like a shadow in the distance. This also brings depth to this work. Just below the “V” is the pond. The pond is a direct reflection of the sky above it which is the ties the work together. The sky is painted with cool dark greens and hints of blue. At the top of the artwork are dark almost stormy clouds. These clouds are black and dark green, illuminated at the edges with white and bright yellow by the moon. The moon, which is our focal point for this piece and also our light source, is bright yellow and white. It is also partially hidden by branches of a tree. The contrast of the black branches in the sky against the bright light yellow of the moon, give this work a very cool, shadowy effect. The mastery that Blakelock had in using these few colors to convey such a beautiful, romantic, midnight sky, is remarkable.
Blakelock used implied line to direct the viewer around his artwork. At first, the viewer is drawn to the moon for its vivid color. Then the “V” shape in the tree line causes the viewer’s eye to move down the “V”, landing at the pond. After looking at the pond the eyes are then drawn back up the other side of the “V” to the sky once more. The clouds also continue the line back to the moon. This then gives the viewer the opportunity to look more closely at the background and foreground of the work. The objects within this work use line, however, it seems not to be lines forming objects, but contrasting colors forming lines and objects in our eyes. You can also see a pattern of horizontal lines throughout the