Australia 1927 – Australia 1982
Green cloud and owl
oil on canvas
183.0 (h) x 153.0 (w) cm
© estate of Fred Williams
There is a melancholy beauty in Green cloud and owl. The sonorous deep blue tonalities of this evening landscape are surprising and poetic after the earthy ochres and golden hues of many of his You Yangs and Upwey paintings. The feeling of evening comes from the pale green cloud and the dark ground recalling that transitional time when substance becomes deep blue shadow and day gradually turns into night. The brushwork here is looser and softer than the classic Upwey landscapes, with the highlights appearing in the ghostly light on the gum trees at night. The owl, barely visible in the painting on a stump near the lower right, could apparently often be heard hooting its low call in the artist’s garden at night.