I am happy to be showing seven pieces at the Joseph Wise Gallery in Laguna Beach. Stop by and introduce yourself to Donnie, the gallery director. She's a delight and has done a beautiful job displaying the interesting range of art work in her gallery.
Here is a display of three of my paintings. You can see the recognizable stone sculptures, many on view in the front window along Pacific Coast Highway, below.
The gallery is located across from the Surf and Sand Hotel and next door to the Wendt Gallery in the Bluebird Canyon area of Laguna Beach.Comment on or Share this Article →
This is an 'imprimatura'. What, pray tell, is that, you may ask?
A portion of a 24x30 oil on linen
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The poetry of art words
There are so many beautiful poetic words related to painting. My favorites are Italian words, and in addition to the word 'imprimatura', I love the words 'alla prima', 'chiaroscuro', and 'sfumato'. I think they are a bit onomatopoeia-ish: words that convey the meaning through their very sound. If you don't know the meanings of the words, here are the pronunciations. See if you can discern the meaning:
Alla Prima: all.uh.pree.muh
Do these words convey a feeling or a notion to you about painting? Does 'imprimatura' sound a bit like "a tentative, delicate touch of the brush" and "quietness" to you? Does 'chiaroscuro' sounds like "drama"? Does 'alla prima' convey "strength" and "bravado" without tentative questioning? Does 'sfumato' sound to you like "softness" and "fuzziness"?
Here are the actual meanings:
Imprimatura: the classical term for a transparent color layer used to create a toned ground for a painting. It literally means "what goes before first".
Chiaroscuro: light and shade in a painting; from Italian, "chiaro": clear, light, and "oscuro": obscure, dark
Alla Prima: Italian for "first time", painting wet on wet directly without an underpainting.
Sfumato: Italian for "shaded off", gradual, almost imperceptible transitions from light to dark. (from Italian sfumare, "evaporate, fade"; from Latin, "to smoke")
You've heard of art academics referring to Picasso's Blue Period or the Cubist Period. I guess it's considered a stage in the life of an artist. For me the shorter days of fall into the winter are my Imprimatura Period. And I like the word because it implies that the seeds of a good painting can be found in the whispers and nudgings of the transparent layers. And I just love the imprimatura layer. The transparency reminds me of my days painting in watercolor and the beauty and simplicity of a transparent passage. By putting down these transparent, non-commital sorts of strokes, I can see the path for the brave 'alla prima' strokes, the dramatic light and dark 'chiaroscuro' strokes, and the clear sense of which passages should have 'sfumato' or imperceptible transitions and softness and which ones should contrast with weight and opacity. It is a step beyond the scratching for ideas and unlocking the code, moving into the painting itself and determining "what goes before first".