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Landscape Hardy...Under The Greenwood Tree by © Janis Zroback

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Landscape Hardy...Under The Greenwood Tree by 

Under the Greenwood Tree or The Mellstock Quire: A Rural Painting of the Dutch School" was Hardy’s second published novel, and the first of his great series of Wessex novels….the novel reflects the common Hardyan theme of a rustic, evocative setting..

“_*To dwellers in a wood almost every species of tree has its voice as well as its feature. At the passing of the breeze the fir-trees sob and moan no less distinctly than they rock; the holly whistles as it battles with itself; the ash hisses amid its quiverings; the beech rustles while its flat boughs rise and fall.
And winter, which modifies the note of such trees as shed their leaves, does not destroy its individuality*_.

On a cold and starry Christmas-eve within living memory a man was passing up a lane towards Mellstock Cross in the darkness of a plantation that whispered thus distinctively to his intelligence.
All the evidences of his nature were those afforded by the spirit of his footsteps, which
succeeded each other lightly and quickly, and by the liveliness of his voice as he sang in a rural cadence

“_With the rose and the lilyAnd the daffodowndilly,The lads and the lasses a-sheep-shearing go_."

The lonely lane he was following connected one of the hamlets of Mellstock parish with Upper Mellstock and Lewgate, and to his eyes, casually glancing upward, the silver and black-stemmed birches with their characteristic tufts, the pale grey boughs of beech, the dark-creviced elm, all appeared now as black and flat outlines upon the sky, wherein the white stars twinkled so vehemently that their flickering seemed like the flapping of wings.
Within the woody pass, at a level anything lower than the horizon, all was dark as the grave.
The copse-wood forming the sides of the bower interlaced its branches so densely, even at this season of the year, that the draught from the north-east flew along the channel with scarcely an interruption from lateral breezes
" Under the Greenwood Tree..Thomas Hardy

It’s interesting that the subtitle of the work is a “Rural Painting of the Dutch School”…I have never been able to find any specific information as to why Hardy did this but imagining the settings and characters in the novel, I can easily see that he must have been referring to works by painters such as Paulus Potter, Vermeer, and Van Ostade, specifically the latter’s "Peasants in an Interior" (1661)

I restricted myself to painting an imagined setting of the plantation mentioned in the first chapter…many many layers and glazing were used to create an effect that would be evocative of the scene described and the era in which the drama took place…I also wanted it to have the look of an old oil painting with it’s dim colours and muted shapes..I painted the glow of a setting sun behind the trees instead of a moon rising, but I think you can still hear the whispers Hardy describes

Watercolour on Arches Not Paper

Wessex Weather

Wessex Tales 2

Wessex Tales

Midnight on Egdon Heath


I paint in many different styles and feature a myriad of subject matter, which I show as individual collections….
I am inspired by the world interpreting it in brilliant colours, often influenced by the writings of famous authors and poets..
© All rights reserved. All images contained on these pages are © copyright protected by Janis Zroback and any use of these images in any form without her written permission will be considered an infringement of these copyrights.

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  • © Janis Zroback
    © Janis Zrobackalmost 5 years ago

  • katymckay
    katymckayalmost 5 years ago

    Beautiful..beautiful words…I just love Thomas Hardy..and love this painting…Your paintings seem to always speak to me…and in this one..I transported my self in among the tree trunks right to the centre and there is definitely some whispering…don’t know how you have managed to convey this in a painting..but to me you have…brilliant !!!!!

  • What an incredibly lovely comment Cathy!!…I am absolutely thrilled to read that this work has resonated with you, especially as you also love Hardy…it really encourages me to continue with the series and in fact I have just added another….
    I will treasure your words…thank you so much…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Angela  Burman
    Angela Burmanalmost 5 years ago

    Wonderful work Janis and great pros

  • Thank you so much Angela….very nice of you…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Enivea
    Eniveaalmost 5 years ago

    I really love this piece Janis….really epitomises the writing…

  • Thank you so much Enivea….I’m really pleased that you think so…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Anna D'Accione
    Anna D'Accionealmost 5 years ago

    Another triumph, Janis you enlighten us with your great knowledge and talent in all your wonderful works. There are not enough adjectives to describe the feelings you arouse in the reader and the viewer. Thank you and congratulations.

  • Really lovely of you to say so Anna…I am so pleased and flattered that you feel that way about my work…your words mean a lot to me…thank you so much

    – © Janis Zroback

  • bev langby
    bev langbyalmost 5 years ago

    wonderful rendition Janis xx

  • Thank you so much Bev….very nice of you…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Sally Omar
    Sally Omaralmost 5 years ago


  • Wonderful news…thank you so much Sally…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • TomBaumker
    TomBaumkeralmost 5 years ago


  • Thank you so much Tom….very nice of you…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • GloriaDK
    GloriaDKalmost 5 years ago

    congratulations Janis and this is so beautiful and the written word with it.

  • Thank you so much Gloria….very nice of you to say so…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotalmost 5 years ago

    I don’t know how you do these so fast, and every one of them is wonderful! You sure do have a great talent, Janis!

  • Lovely of you to say so Dot…thank you so much…

    – © Janis Zroback

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