Judith B. Carducci: Clouds and Sea
2 hour DVD, en Plein Air, in Pastel
Notes from the Artist:
“This is an “alla prima” (i.e. done in one session) pastel, painted en plein air.
“Light is everything to a painter. Without it we can’t see color or shapes or values. (Note: by “values” artists mean relative light to dark. Black is the lowest “value” and white is the lightest value.) We can’t see shapes.
“When I first arrived in Old San Juan, I could hardly wait to see what there was to paint. This spot is right across the road from the historic inn where we were staying, and my artist friend, Teresa Spinner, took me outside and pointed at the fort as an example of what wonders were at hand. I was puzzled – and not a little annoyed: I couldn’t see anything to paint! What could she possibly mean? There wasn’t anything there! It was all about the light: it was all wrong. Shapes, colors, contrasts were practically nonexistent. At that time of day, flat light on the fort gave too much detail and what there was wasn’t interesting. Very disappointing.
“Early the next morning it was completely different. The sky was dramatic, the sea was shining, the buildings in their jewel-like tropical colors were in soft shadow because the morning sun was behind them, and now and then a cloud threw the fort into ominous dark shadow. I could hardly wait to set up my easel!
“What the painting is about: It was hard to decide because my eyes were overstimulated: The billowing clouds in the dramatic sky! The beautiful colors of the typical buildings! The glowering sinister fort, by contrast, against the shining sea! The graceful sinuous road contrasting with the straight lines of the architecture… It all was flooding my carburetor. My cup was running over!
“But on a morning like this there’s no time for debate. Scudding clouds and rising sun mean everything changes moment by moment. Get going. I painted what I saw, what thrilled me, as fast as I could, without wasting time deciding what it was about. And ultimately it really seemed to sort itself out: the dark fort, silhouetted against the bright sea and sky turned out to be the center of interest. The bright colorful buildings and the graceful road lead to the fort, as do the wall and cliff on the left. The sky gives it all atmosphere. The march of the buildings and the lamp posts, the curve of the road, the shapes of the clouds, the mist from the water enveloping the base of the fort – all give movement.
“But really, when all is said and done, the painting is all about Light.”