Monday, June 4, 2012

Pacifica

Pacifica. 20"×16", oil on canvas panel, 2010

This painting has been competed en plein air, at the beautiful Pacifica beach in the vicinity of San Francisco. In the morning, it tends to be foggy, but then, if you are lucky, the fog gradually disappears and the sun brightens up the ocean, warms the stones of the beach, and colors the foam of the waves.

Painting ocean waves en plein air, from life, is a very special kind of experience. Each wave comes to the shore with crushing solidity and power, yet its life time is too brief, and its movement too fast, for a painter to capture it, to "freeze" the moment. And however you try, you cannot really commit to memory and keep there intact one moment in one wave's life – because new ones come with their new beauty and energy – and overflow, almost literally, the fading memory of their predecessors.

And there you stand, your vision focused on these endless improvisations on the same motive defined and shaped by the gracious curve of the bay shore, unable to capture any single one, almost transfixed by this embodiment of interplay between mortality and eternity.

The waves in the painting, then, represent neither any particular individual waves nor the "prototypical", idealized waves revoked from memory and from the general knowledge of how they "should" look like. Rather, they are yet another improvisation, in another domain, at the intersection of mind and brushstrokes, inspired and empowered by the waves formed by the Pacific ocean on that particular afternoon.
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