Written by: Emily Sabens, Public Relations Intern
Something about being outdoors leaves people feeling relaxed. Maybe it’s inhaling the fresh air. It could be all the sounds around – the wind rustling and the crunch of leaves underneath your feet. Possibly, it’s seeing the clouds in the sky above, the forest bursting with greenery and the animals that call the outdoors their home.
Whatever it is, being immersed in nature is refreshing and peaceful – which is something artist Alexander Helwig Wyant knew. Born in Ohio, Wyant was infatuated with both art and wilderness from a young age. As he grew older, he combined these two loves and became a landscape painter, recreating beautiful, detailed outdoor locations from all over the world.
In 1866, Wyant’s travels took him to Germany. While there, he wrote to one of his patrons that he intended to “go to England, and study in the Cumberland, N. Wales or Scotland, I will not say which.”
Scholars believe Wyant passed through Wales while traveling from London to England and was inspired by the rugged coastline and endless mountains the country is known for. Two years later, he completed “Near Conway, North Wales,” using sketches he drew during his travels to recreate the landscape.
In this painting, Wyant portrays the scene on the side of one of Wales’s mountains. He shows rocky cliffs, rugged rocks, tall trees and, if you look closely enough, you’ll see two mountain goats, munching on some leaves from a low-hanging branch.
Today, Conwy (no longer called Conway) in North Wales attracts tourists from all the world. The community is known for its 13th century castle, its large city walls and even for being the site of Great Britain’s tiniest home, according to Guinness World Records. But, travel to the outskirts of town, and you can see the beautiful scenery Wyant did many years before.
Visit the David Owsley Museum of Art today to see “Near Conway, North Wales” upstairs in the Ball Brothers Foundation Gallery and to explore the rest of our large collection.