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Landscape Hardy...The Return of the Native by © Janis Zroback

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Landscape Hardy...The Return of the Native by 

The Return of the Native takes place in Egdon Heath, a “vast tract of unenclosed wild.” The stage is set in a gloomy, wind-battered area without many trees or other adornments of nature. The place is described as being “perfectly accordant with man’s nature” it is neither extremely ugly nor common, but entirely singular. Egdon Heath is elevated to a place of great importance in the narrative, and is therefore introduced almost as a character in itself".

A Saturday afternoon in November was approaching the time of twilight, and the vast tract of unenclosed wild known as Egdon Heath embrowned itself moment by moment.
Overhead the hollow stretch of whitish cloud shutting out the sky was as a tent which had the whole heath for its floor.
The heaven being spread with this pallid screen and the earth with the darkest vegetation, their meeting-line at the horizon was clearly marked.
In such contrast the heath wore the appearance of an instalment of night which had taken up its place before its astronomical hour was come:
Darkness had to a great extent arrived hereon, while day stood distinct in the sky.
Looking upwards, a furze-cutter would have been inclined to continue work; looking down, he would have decided to finish his faggot and go home.
The distant rims of the world and of the firmament seemed to be a division in time no less than a division in matter.
The face of the heath by its mere complexion added half an hour to evening; it could in like manner retard the dawn, sadden noon, anticipate the frowning of storms scarcely generated, and intensify the opacity of a moonless midnight to a cause of shaking and dread..
The sombre stretch of rounds and hollows seemed to rise and meet the evening gloom in pure sympathy, the heath exhaling darkness as rapidly as the heavens precipitated it
…The Return of the Native..Thomas Hardy.

Those who very kindly look at my work know by now that I almost never put people in my landscapes, but this time I felt that it was appropriate…..the figure slowly trudging home maybe Clym Yeobright returning to his native country or one of the many characters who populate the area…the heath personifies nature which overwhelms man…
I also took the liberty of showing a very pale moon, though Hardy has said in the first scene, that the heath was moonless..however I think it really sets the stage and highlights the loneliness of the heath and it’s vast eerieness…
I have not read this novel for a long time, but the effects of Hardy’s prose even at first reading, are indelible…upon rereading the excerpt I have added here, I think I have captured my first impressions

Watercolour on Arches Not Paper…2662 Views..52 Favs…01/09/12

Under The Greenwood Tree

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 Zrobackover 4 years ago

  • S .
    S .over 4 years ago

    gorgeous work !

  • Thank you so much Shoalb…very nice of you…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Gordon  Beck
    Gordon Beckover 4 years ago

    Love the rich tones in this….a great piece of art!

  • Thank you so much Gordon…really lovely of you….

    – © Janis Zroback

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotover 4 years ago

    GREAT colors and tones, and I’m surprised and happy to see a person in your painting! It’s really wonderful art, Janis.

  • I put them in when I feel it’s appropriate and won’t take away from the piece by being too much of the focus…this time I thought that since I was comparing the two characters, the heath and man, it was right to include a figure… thanks so much Dot…your continued support and wonderful comments, are a great encouragement to me…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • eoconnor
    eoconnorover 4 years ago

    Hi Janis this is so old worldly and wonderfully created .It is Thomas Hardy but also the soul of you in this !!well done! LIZ

  • You have hit it on the head Liz…it is my feeling about Hardy’s work…how I interpret his prose…thank you so much for seeing that…I really appreciate it…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Scott  d'Almeida
    Scott d'Almeidaover 4 years ago


  • Thank you so much Scott..your comment is greatly appreciated, as it confirms my decision to continue with the series…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • GloriaDK
    GloriaDKover 4 years ago

    Excellent Janis

  • © Linda Callaghan
    © Linda Callaghanover 4 years ago

    enjoyed the read Janis as much as the painting….and I like the addition of the places the viewer inside the painting…lovely atmopsheric painting.

  • Well I often find that figures can be a distraction, if the focus of the painting is primarily the landscape, but here I wanted to contrast man with nature personified by the heath, so I felt it would be appropriate…he is indistinct and very small, showing the power of nature over man…thank you so much Linda…I’m happy you like it…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • -Whisper-
    -Whisper-over 4 years ago

    I love the mood, this is so beautiful! The light is really magical!

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

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Hidemi Tada
    Hidemi Tadaover 4 years ago

    wonderful Janis. this seriese are so great. i wish i could paint my imgination from books. i have one image i am warming in my heart. that is praying Sonia in “Crime and Punishment”. She is praying for her poor father and her step family. I will try it someday.
    My recent reading of Hardy is all short stories,
    Desparate Remedies, 1871
    The Hand of Ethelberta 1876
    A Laodicean 1881
    A pair of Blue Eyes 1873
    The Trumpet-major 1880
    Two on a Tower 1882
    the Pursuit of the Well-Loved 1892
    A groupo of Noble Dames 1891
    Under the Greenwood Tree 1872
    Far From the Madding Crowd 1874
    The Return of the Native 1878
    The Mayer of Casterbridge 1886
    the woodlanders 1887
    Tree of the D’Urbervilles 1891
    Jude the Obscure 1895
    Wessex Tales 1888
    Life’s Little Ironies 1894
    A changed Man 1913
    by the way i am now reading “Quiet Flows of the Don” written by Mikhail Sholokhov in a yellow cab. this is great !

  • Well Hidemi, just like me you really have got right into Hardy…what do you think of his writing?
    I am so pleased you like the series…there are more to come…thank you so much…

    – © Janis Zroback

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