mountains and sea
In the summer of 1952, Frankenthaler went on a road trip to Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, during which she painted landscapes there using foldable easel equipment.  Mountains and Sea was painted after this trip, and while the painting is not a direct depiction of a coastline in Nova Scotia, it contains elements that suggest a kind of seascape or landscape, like the strokes of blue that join with areas of green. 
In 1950, Frankenthaler was exposed to the work of Jackson Pollock for the first time during an exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery where several of Pollock’s paintings, Autumn Rhythm, Number 30, 1950 (1950), and Number One,1950 (Lavender Mist) (1950), were displayed. She was intrigued by the idea of painting a canvas lying flat on the floor, and would later employ that technique for Mountains and Sea. 
In the fall of 1952, at the age of 23, Helen Frankenthaler made her legendary painting Mountains and Sea, the first work she created using her celebrated soak-stain technique. Thinning down her paint with turpentine or kerosene, the artist developed a medium that would seep into and through the weave of unprimed canvas. The resulting stain, which often left a surrounding aura, gives a sense of perpetual movement to a work while simultaneously joining image and ground.
Frankenthaler’s watery flow of pigment punctuated with controlled bursts of color and large areas of exposed canvas contradicted the fashion at the time for heavily impastoed canvases painted with vigorous gesture. Frankenthaler was unique in translating into her own language Pollock’s radical allover method, adding color to the play of flatness and depth. As artist Morris Louis declared, Frankenthaler “was a bridge between Pollock and what was possible.” Frankenthaler’s impact on Louis and Kenneth Noland─who have cited the significance that seeing Mountains and Sea in Frankenthaler’s studio in 1953 had on their art─ has placed her as a link between Abstract Expressionism and Color-field painting.
‘Beautiful’ is a word one often associates with our planet. Earth is replete with places that take our breath away, places that leave us wide-eyed as we exclaim ‘wow’. But there are also places which leave us silent as a meditative calm envelopes us. This is beauty as well. The mountains and seas have this magical effect on us. Remember the scene from ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ which has Hrithik Roshan and co. in a trance-like state after their scuba-diving adventure (with the sublime ‘Toh Zinda Ho Tum’ playing in the background)? This is the effect the mountains and seas have on us.
Think ‘meditation’ and there are two pictures that emerge more often than the others. One is that of a person seated, with snow-laden mountains forming a stunning backdrop as the cold breeze ruffles the hair. The other is that of a person seated overlooking the sea, the waves gently playing a game of hide-and-seek with the feet. Indeed, history attests to the fact that when confronted with the question of finding oneself, man has often ventured high into the mountains or sought the seas to find the answers.
Perfectly positioned with the sea to the east and mountains to the south, Dublin’s spectacular natural sights are never far away.
By train, it gets even easier: the DART takes a coastal route on Dublin’s south side, filling your journey with seascape views. From Shankill near the southern border with County Wicklow, the train takes you through the beautiful, affluent village of Dalkey, past Dún Laoghaire and its picturesque pier and lighthouses. Once it reaches the city, the train travels right up to Malahide and its beach-filled surrounds; nearby Portmarnock and Donabate are two of the best-loved beaches in north county Dublin.
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Helen Frankenthaler, Mountains and Sea, 1952, oil and charcoal on unsized, unprimed canvas, 219.4 x 297.8 cm (National Gallery of Art, Washington)