While a younger generation of artists turned their back on landscape painting during the 1950s and 1960s, Ivon Hitchens continued to redefine his approach to the genre. In fact, during this period, a dramatic advance and artistic maturity were to be witnessed in Hitchens’ paintings.
Summer Waters dates from the summer immediately after Hitchens’ successful solo exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris, which took place in February 1957. It was painted at Greenleaves at Lavington Common, Sussex, where Hitchens had built a studio and home. Ponds, dense tree plantations, foliage
and a lush atmosphere surrounded the studio. Ever since his move to Sussex during the Second World War, Hitchens was dedicated to the incessant exploration of his immediate surroundings, in all weathers and seasons. He was captivated
by the tangled woodlands, dark pools and light reflected by water and he contemplated every subtle changing interaction between these natural wonders.
In this work, as in others he painted, Hitchens swells the proportions of the pond to the dimensions of a lake. His choice of a panoramic canvas, adopted increasingly after 1936, accommodates this dramatic manipulation of scale and allows the viewer a more complete understanding of the landscape.
In Summer Waters, Hitchens expresses a balance between things viewed, things known and things felt. Hitchens succinctly concludes, ‘A subject is a peg on which to hang a picture'.