Lawson's distinctive landscape style evolved gradually, departing from the hazy yellow-greens and soft compositional transitions of his Twachtman-inspired early work toward the classical landscapes in cool blues and greens of Approaching Storm (1919-20), and culminating in a more expressionist style. Color became Lawson’s primary vehicle of expression, responding to his impressions from nature and affecting him in a similar fashion that music does, emotionally.
Approaching Storm represents a fresh New England landscape bracing for a storm. The land is shaded by heavy, romantically threatening clouds, leaving only the middle ground bathed in sunlight. The brushstrokes are carefully blended, forms are well defined, and the pronounced areas of light and shade, together with the diagonal thrust of the composition, create the illusion of spatial recession.