Sunday, March 25, 2007
At the Beach
This pastel is based on several photos taken at Virginia Beach with our daughters (spring break probably around 1990). While painting (pastelling) this, I had the sensation of being there...feeling the salty, misty ocean breeze on my face, and the gentle warmth of the late day sun on my back. The rhythmic thunder of waves and sizzling foam lull me to such a peaceful place, I could stay there forever. Some critics believe that painting from photos is not the "high art" that plein air painting is. I believe that it is different, not less than. When I paint from photos like these, the work is infused with a depth of bittersweet memory and experience that wasn't there at that time. For the record, whenever I use photo reference, I simply tape the photo up on the wall next to the blank "canvas"...and start by sketching with harder pastels to set the composition. Then lay in values and shapes progressing to finer detail. With this particular piece, I deliberately stopped before I thought I was done.