Henderson was fond of painting the Qu’Appelle Valley at different times of year and at different times of the day and night. His nocturnes often show the moon over the Qu’Appelle River near his studio, or rising above the hills of the valley. The nocturne was a favourite theme of late nineteenth century British art as it was suited for an exploration of vague and undefined forms, atmospheric effects, and subtle tonal harmonies. This can be clearly seen in the work of Robert Macaulay Stevenson (1854–1952), one of the painters associated with the Glasgow Boys, whose nocturnes resemble Henderson’s and whose work Henderson may have seen in Glasgow and London. Although it’s unlikely Henderson would have known the work of American artist Pinkham Ryder http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Pinkham_Ryder (1847–1917), Evening shares in his sensibility and technique of using layers of thick paint. Ryder’s mystical seascapes are dominated by evening skies with the moon crossed by mist or scudding clouds. Evening likewise evokes a scene of trees shrouded in shadow and quivering with a kind of unknown dream life. The clouds move in an arch over the trees like a living thing influenced by the moon, which rises through pale clouds into a sere and unutterably peaceful landscape. This work appears to be a view from his studio looking south to Cemetery Hill. In the mid ground are barely discernible buildings and trees masked in a shroud of scumbled pigment that creates a sense of dense material, like the woods themselves.
Evening, c. 1930
Oil on canvas
30.6 x 35.9 cm
Collection of the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK.