(Or Mountains and Molehills of the Mind)

John Howe writes: The other day, walking outdoors was like stepping into a picture. The lake and precocious moon were by Aivasovsky. Not turbulent enough to try as a Turner, but there was a hint of mist courtesy of Caspar David Friedrich. The woods nearby by Klimt, trees and fields below by Corot. A patch of sun by Bieler, a patch of grass by Durer. Mountains by Calame or l’Eplattenier in the distance. In Switzerland, they are never far away, mountains. On a good day, I can see them out the studio window (if they’re sharp, popular wisdom says the weather will turn bad, but there’s no such thing as bad weather, just a switch of painters and palettes.) From our place, it’s a hop, skip and jump, at least in fancy, across the lake and the plateau to the Alps. Remote enough to be a backdrop, sometimes startlingly clear or often near-invisible in the mist and cloud, they are only an hour and a bit by car, but far enough to be more routinely ideas of mountains than looming lumps of vertical rock (which do have a tendancy to tumble down on highways and railways, given that Switzerland’s mountains are very lived-in.) [More]