Owl’s Head,/i> is one of Lane’s best-known and most admired works. He presents a contemporary coastal town with its commercial traffic, but he has greatly simplified the idyllic harbor view—a popular artistic motif—in virtually every detail. There are few props in the foreground and background to suggest daily affairs; instead, a single boatman gazes at a seemingly unpopulated bay. The distinctive profile of Owl’s Head with its tiny lighthouse is clearly silhouetted against the evening sky.
Geometric clarity and simplicity set Lane’s work apart from landscape scenes of the previous century. In Owl’s Head, nature is a presence that envelops and transfixes the solitary boatman, but Lane’s picture renders this presence in the modest format and with some of the decorative appeal of an earlier era.