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.

10 comments:

Carole said...

I seriously love this painting. I can feel exactly what you describe i.e. the wind and the salt air. There is a poignancy about it - the young woman with child looks pensive, in contrast to the liveliness of the children in the background. This painting(possibly because you have expressed your feelings and memories in it) is every bit as beautiful and lively as any plein air painting I have seen.

aPugsLife-laserone said...

What an amazing pastel! This is really beautiful.

Nelly said...

Thank you for your comments. Carole, the young woman is my daughter at around 5 years old, holding her baby doll. I'm glad you got the "feeling" I described...and thank you for your comment regarding plein air vs. photo reference.

jill said...

i guess i would have to say i'm prejudice -- as i LOVE all of your work! the piece, like so many of the others, just has the feeling of "i'm almost there" to it. great job!! the wind blowing the sea spray -- it's all there! beautiful!

Karen said...

Lynne, I agree with you. Studio and plein air are both excellent ways to paint. Different, not better than. Both have advantages both for our growth and creative expression. I think you did a terrific job with this and the sensitive feeling comes through.

Karen
http://www.karensblog.com

Africantapestry said...

This is a great painting. It shows wonderful handling of pastels and it conveys warm feelings. The painting speaks for itself, irrespective of where it was painted and that is wonderful.
Ronell

phthaloblu said...

I think this is a beautiful painting and it reminds me of something from the masters. It just gives that feeling. I believe like you that painitng from photos is just different, not better or inferior. Sometimes you need that tool. I think where the real issues lie is in doing all work from photos. Life drawing is very important in getting depth and roundness of a subject. The more one practices from life, the better drawings from photos will be. Photos are flat, and therefore using them as the sole reference can sometimes produce flat images. I do know of some artists who copy photos with the aid of projectors right onto their canvases, but to me that's cheating the artist out of the experience of building the art from that blank piece of paper or canvas. Just my .02.

Nelly said...

Thank you all for the feedback. I understand the value of plein air and life drawing, having bt and dt many times with good (and valuable) results; and, I agree that the experience of a fine artist must include studio and plein air/from life execution. It's an interesting discussion. Thank you for visiting!

Linda said...

Great pastel painting -- you CAN feel the wonderful salt air and sunshine! And I'm glad you stopped when you did, rather than going on any further. It is breezy feeling as it is, and too much work would make it feel too static.
:-) LOVE it!

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