I have always enjoyed scenic landscape paintings. One piece of artwork that really caught my eye was the "Two Watermills and a Sluice" painting found at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. This particular painting was created by the Dutch artist Jacob van Ruisdael in 1653. Ruisdael created the painting using oil on a canvas. The paintings dimensions are 26 x 33.25 inches.
Captured in the painting are, as the title reveals, two watermills. One of the watermills is more centrally located than the other. In fact the second watermill is only shown partially, as the rest of the structure seems to disappear off the canvas to the right. Between the two watermills is an actively flowing expanse of water. A very large tree is an easily noticeable landmark that is positioned just to the left of the central watermill. The painting seems to embody a very simple theme, yet it is still visually captivating. There are various amounts of foliage painted in great detail shown in the foreground of the painting. There are also delicately brushed clouds in the sky. The clouds on the left and the right portions of the canvas are darker, making way for brighter, wispier, clouds resting in the center of the sky. There is a man in a resting position with his dog at his side in the far off background. A very good sense of naturalism is personified throughout the whole of the painting.
When looking at the painting the viewer's eyes are drawn from the lower left of the painting towards the center in a sweeping motion. Starting where the river begins on the lower left side by lighting the center of the river with softer colors surrounded by darker reflections and plant life on either side, the artist creates a path for your eyes to follow. The motion of your eyes drawn across the river begins to dissipate as the rivers softer shades of aqua and faint whites are covered by the darker colors of the shrubbery on the river bank. But, just as the moti…