Monday, 7 December 2009

Ornulf Opdahl: Mood Paintings of the North

Few landscape painters seem to be able to combine both the brooding menace and attraction of mountains on the same canvas. One who does is Ornulf Opdahl whose paintings of the Sunmore mountains and fjords of the western coast of Norway, despite being full of dark skies and barren landscapes, look very inviting. That said, even when he uses light, such as the sun illuminating the side of a mountain, it feels like a momentary break in bleak weather, while any evidence of human activity is dwarfed by the natural world around it.

For a glimpse of this world visit Ornulf Opdahl: Mood Paintings of the North, a major exhibition at London’s Kings Place.

One painting in particular that caught my eye was The Mountain Ramoen 2009. Interested to know more about the peak, also known as Jonshornet, I discovered that the first known ascent was made by the British climber Geoffrey Hastings in 1889 - although he did find a cairn on the summit. Hastings features in Norway: The Northern Playground (1904), by the alpinist Cecil Slingsby, one of the first guides to mountaineering in the country. And, thanks to the Internet Archive, it can be read here.

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