Horse Heaven Hills 2 Study

Horse Heaven Hills 2 Study. Oil on Linen Panel. 6" x 8".
This is another of my studies to try to nail the colors and style I want to use in the upcoming series of Eastern Washington Landscapes. This small painting has the benefit of the poplar trees, which I now love. I remember when there were very few, just the occasional windbreak, back before the orchards and long before the grapevines. Today the landscape has the look of Italy, only without the charming towns but with a more rugged, somewhat more starkly beautiful landscape.

Back when Poplar trees were more rare, I found them to be ominous. Probably because I'd once memorized a poem about them. To this day I think of this poem when I see Poplars.

Southern Mansions
by Arna Bontemps

Poplars are standing there still as death
And ghosts of dead men
Meet their ladies walking
Two by two beneath the shade
And standing on the marble steps.

There is a sound of music echoing
Through the open door
And in the field there is
Another sound tinkling in the cotton:
Chains of bondmen dragging on the ground.

The years go back with an iron clank,
A hand is on the gate,
A dry leaf trembles on the wall.
Ghosts are walking.
They have broken roses down
And poplars stand there still as death.