A Misty Sunrise
1956 by Dame Laura Knight
Royal Academy of Arts Permanent Collection
An artist all her life, Knight painted throughout the rapidly changing years of the twentieth century. What’s more, is that she survived financially alone in doing so, something quite rare for a woman born in the 1870s. A Misty Sunrise has the promise of new beginnings and possibilities, with light so pale and watery that no event has yet unfolded enough to colour it. The quality of paint, the thin mist Knight hangs across the background of her canvas, is incredibly light and gentle for oil; its distinctive strength of texture only visible when looking closely. The colour of the sky is so subtly injected with colour, the brilliance of white shines through, making the whole sky glow with the purity of first light. The fronds of pine are clothed in this light, each needle made only a shadow of its true green through the veil of the morning. The sun itself gives the only warmth, with deep orange and a swirl of yellow that mimics the moment of catching the sun in your eyes; the white of the sun itself almost burning an imprint on the back of the mind. The piercing poignance of this light leads the uplifting atmosphere of the painting, standing for all a new morning symbolises. It quietly exudes the refreshing outlook of a new day.