Sutherland had been visiting the region of Western Pembrokeshire around St Bride's Bay regularly since 1935. This had provided the inspiration for his work on account of the area's extraordinary quality of light and the 'exultant strangeness' of its landscape formations. Yet, he had found that capturing the essential expressive charge of the landscape required him to accumulate ideas on the spot, but then to transmute these into fully-realised paintings back in his Kent studio: 'It was in this country that I began to learn painting. It seemed impossible here for me to side down and make finished paintings 'from nature' ... The spaces and concentrations of this clearly constructed land were stuff for storing in the mind ... At first I attempted to make pictures on the spot. But I soon gave this up ... It became my habit to walk through, and soak myself in the country. At times I would make small sketches of ideas on the backs of envelopes and in a small sketch book, or I would make drawings from nature of forms which interested me and which I might otherwise forget' (G. Sutherland, 'Welsh Sketchbook', Horizon, London, April 1942, pp. 225-35).
Welsh Landscape is typical of the kind of study that he would make in Pembrokeshire, where he was already editing out much of the naturalistic detail and concentrating on the overall massing of light and dark. The minimal touches of colour are just sufficient to evoke Sutherland's preferred sunset lighting, which served to enhance the brooding, mysterious, even sublime qualities that he so valued in this particular terrain.