In the late 1950s Hitchens began to paint series of landscapes based on one subject such as the 'Divided Oak Tree'. He chose an oblong canvas because it encouraged the viewer's eye to range freely over the image, as his own eye had originally analysed the landscape. Bands of colour run across the painting, enhancing a sense of the horizon, but the divided oak at centre left brings the viewer back to the middle. The patches of white canvas in his pictures have a particular function. He wrote, 'The intention is that the spectator's eye can travel along these areas,
from floe to floe, over the picture surface instead of being engulfed or drowned in a morass of paint representing or aping realism'.