I conceived the wave paintings as an experiment in photo realism with one caveat. I wanted my process (the way I use the pastels) to be visible.
The first two wave paintings were done in 2012 and 13. It’s time I got back to that series. I have taken hundreds, perhaps more than a thousand photos of breaking waves over the years. I will begin the search through my morgue for new photos to work from this weekend. * The two paintings shown here are 30 by 40 inches and 32 by 40 inches respectively. I cropped the original photos, looking for a small section that was in perfect focus in order to freeze the water’s motion completely. These were then copied meticulously, but still using my direct application technique with the pastels rather than rubbing, blending and smearing as most pastel artists do. *1 Because of that technique, the paintings appear to be photographic upon first examination, but break down into individual chunks and strokes of color upon the viewer’s closer approach. I use the pastels themselves to blend one color into another. That makes the color lie on the paper surface allowing the white paper to show through rather than turning the white paper itself into a darker color.
* Morgue – a visual artist’s file of photographs used as an aid to drawing, painting and/or sculpting.
*1 Experts have told me that I use a contrary and actually improper technique. Too bad! I achieve a depth and intensity of color that it is impossible to achieve by rubbing, smearing and blending, the traditional pastel technique. That is why I call my large pastels, paintings!