As long as I've been conversant in 19th cent. painting, I've gravitated toward the paintings of Paul Cezanne. I think it's his ability to get at and distill the underlying visual structure of a view that draws me in. His paintings set up geometric rhythms that seem to vibrate into coherence and an overall thrust. The mountain he paints competes with the sky for its position in space, resulting in an ambiguity about which is closer. The forms of rock and sky compete and trade position. Our minds tell us that the sky is behind but Cezanne gives the atmosphere permission to come in-between us and the peak. His paintings give us a glimpse of the unsoiled world, one with views of perfection.
My own attempt at Mount Sainte-Victoire falls short of the genius of Cezanne. But I am indebted to this man who could fix light in oil, and show my appreciation by emulating his approach as best I understand it. Any painter would profit from a study of a Cezanne work. My own version is from a photograph of the mountain itself, which overlooks Aix-en-Provence, France. My pastel tries like Cezanne to obscure many details, while maintaining the overall force of the scene. I used a combination of Sennelier Pastels and Pan-Pastels in conjunction with some marks made with Sofft Tools. Cezanne's original oil probably measured around 60x80 cm.
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J0hn Hunter Speier
Recent work, and explorations of techniques, aesthetics and poetics.