The “Terms and Conditions” of a Coastal Scene?

Sketch of Abalone Cove - Curtis Green
Sketch of Abalone Cove

Immediate and economy are not the words that first come to mind for most people when looking at a work of art, particularly a coastal scene.  The words used most often are those that describe the quality of light, or the color of the landscape features.

Then, how do terms like immediate or economy have any relationship to a beautiful scene?  These terms seem to be in contradiction to the effect of the relaxing view.

There are couple ways to examine a painting.  Both are perfectly valid and they typically mingle.  One of the most usual ways is in appreciating the final effect.  In other words, enjoying the work in its overall finished and final state.  Another way, is to look into the manner of how the image came to be.  It is in searching through these particulars, that can often add a more facinating dimension to the work.  Now, one is viewing not just the final image, but how it got made!

As a viewer, thinking about how the conditions or environment the painter was in and their influence on the how the final result came to be, leads us toward the impact of impression and expression.  It may cause us to understand the artwork a little differently from when it was first viewed.

Here, the scene is of Abalone Cove in California.  The weather was chilly and the wind was blowing up the cliff side.   Not only that, but the sun was rapidly setting as it does in mid-February.   Therefore, an economy of strokes was necessary to resolve the image.  The immediacy of method excites the energy in capturing the fleeting moment of the setting sun.

Looking at art, particularly museum pieces, is often richer by looking into not only at the what, but the how.  Examination of these things can lead to appreciating more than what is only shown.

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