For a moment in time, Manansala set his eyes out of his Manila of street vendors and the like, and plunged into a magical, primal world. He records the otherwise bucolic vistas with overflowing enthusiasm. The noteworthiness of this watercolor composition is apparent in the utter lucidity, unhesitating strokes, and clear images of the countryside — a hut and a leafless tree, and a copse of greens at the back — set against the earthy luminosity of the near sepia background color, serene and luminous countryside. With the wet on wet qualities of watercolor, he became interested in depicting broad masses of light and shade and less interested in the details and fidelity to appearance.
Manansala’s handling of watercolor, his apparent preference for the wet technique — wetting the paper as to produce seemingly accidental, bleeding effects — and the summary statement of images, indicates a concern for balance between a painting’s mood and mode.
Manansala’s trees are almost always sweeping gestural rhythm or planar arrangements. Compositionally, his trees are mostly cut off at the top. They are also not identifiable as trees. But each would have what Manansala calls “atmosphere”. Atmosphere is the quality of yielding translucence intrinsic to a plant. Manansala was quoted in 1974: “This is the quality I call atmosphere. Such a spatial quality, the suggestion of a capacity to move around or through a pictorial object is akin to what (Bernard) Berenson calls ‘tactile values'". Its simplicity is part of its appeal, deepened by Manansala’s feel for tonal beauty.