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The Irresistible Sea

The Irresistible Sea
Medium: Pastel
Base: Paper
Year: 2011
1st prize - monthly qualifier of Artist of the Year competition for Berwick Artist's Society, Section A - Experienced Artists (May, 2012)
Commended - Australian Guild of Realist Artists (AGRA) Summer Exhibition (December 2011)
Original pastel painting of the sea breaking on the shoreline at Cape Schanck, Victoria, Australia. The scene is derived from photographs taken by Janice Mills of the shoreline during 2009 on a day trip for resource material. The large amount of photographs taken at Cape Schanck have so far produced several artworks which have been to date been very positively commented about. Having a database of material has been very helpful during the year when I have not been able to get out to paint on site or take specific photos for a particular artwork I may have in mind.
Some artists and art critics will say that artists should be painting on site - alla prima if working in oils (all painted in one go whilst the paint is wet), which is in itself a discipline of painting that takes a bit of learning to make sure that the colours don't get muddied but remain clean and fresh. Their argument may be further solidified by pastels being such a portable medium. Pastels do not need to dry and if you are careful by keeping your paper pinned or taped down can easily be transported and worked on, especially when using a purpose made transportable pastel kit (which I have made up for myself). The problem comes with having the time and the money to get to the places to work. Frankly many artists just do not have the income to travel all over the place to paint or draw and there is only so many times you can paint your back yard (I know that Monet made a huge series of lilly pond paintings in his day based on the same pond - unfortunately many of us do not have very many attractive surrounds like that around us to paint). We also have to think about subjects that are commercially viable. As most artists painting and selling today do not have a name to trade by so we have to think about subjects that people are likely to like and to buy whilst still satisfying our own creativity.
To me it is all a trade off, and if others don't like it, well that's just too bad. We do the best we can with what we have. If that means that someone looks at my work and says "oh that was done from a photo so I don't like it" well, that's their problem, not mine. So with all that said, this artwork is made from an original photograph that I took, which has been modified in Photoshop to enhance the colours and change the sky. The scene was originally a little wider and the rock pond has been simplified so it doesn't look so "busy". I also changed the colours in the rocks to "warm up" the colours. The original greys all through that area were just not working for me. The painting took me well over ten hours of work over a few days to complete, which I would not have been able to achieve on site. I also took several breaks to just look at the progress of the piece and make sure I was heading in the right direction, or on a couple of occasions, totally change my mind about an area and do it differently.
The resultant painting from these efforts, I feel has been one of my best seascape pastels. I was confident enough in it to spend extra on framing and enter it into the Summer exhibition of the Australian Guild of Realist Artists. I have only been a member for just over a year and was very happy and surprised when they admitted me as a member. Many artists that I admire are members and they have been painting for many more years as professionals than I have. It was a very big pleasure to see the Commended notice next to my work when I went to pick it up at the end of the exhibition. To get a Commended at this level really does give me a boost and confidence to keep working and trying to improve my skills. I couldn't wait to get on to the web and publicly thank the judges!
I have more exhibitions planned for the coming year or 2012 for this piece and am hoping that it continues to do well. My hope is that it will find a good home somewhere, and it will go on to bring enjoyment to some new owners. In the mean time, I have enjoyed producing it and improving my style. So, who knows what other little gems I may have coming from my head, my camera or my travels in my future or where I may get my inspiration from?
Dimensions: 71 cm (width) × 61 cm (height)
Ownership: Artist
Credit: Original photography by Janice Mills
For Sale

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