Colorful palette knife oil painting artwork of coastal seascape rocky shore by artist Talya Johnson.
Original oil painting landscape of rocky coast by artist Talya Johnson

The Listeners: Impressionist coastal seascape

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Named after Walter de la Mare’s famous 1912 poem, this imagined palette knife coastal seascape was inspired by my visits to the Oregon and Northern California Pacific Coasts. Standing on the magnificent rocky seashore, I am always  amazed watching the time pass as the waves return again and again, beating the beautiful rocks with unfathomable force. It’s a wonder that both terrifies me and comforts me, a touch of The Sublime where I go to pour my heart out to whoever might be listening.

 Materials: Oil on Hardboard

30 inches x 24 inches x 1.5 inches

I used the highest grade materials on this painting, enjoying the different textures available through rough grained mica pigment that imitates gold flakes, and generous amounts of cobalt turquoise. Historic Lapis Lazuli, that used to be more expensive than gold, is also mixed in with the colorful layers of pigment. 

The Listeners by Walter de la Mare
Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveler,

Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
Of the forest’s ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller’s head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
‘Is there anybody there?’ he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller’s call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
’Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:—
‘Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,’ he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.