Varley's favourite colour, and it appears often in his work, was a sea green or a turquoise green. Indeed, he believed, following the colour theories of Wilhelm Ostvald, that it was the fourth primary colour. "Green is a very spiritual colour. That is why I use it so much," he wrote.
This portrait is of Steeple Mountain, which is at the south end of Kootenay Lake, west of the Alberta/British Columbia border. For Varley it clearly provided a moment of clear vision that he seized with obvious enthusiasm. He has worked assiduously and vigorously on every part of the painting, the sky, the mountain, and the waters of the lake. Consequently, he has shepherded all the elements of the painting into the unity of his rendering of the scene and made this a compelling and rich work.
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