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José F. Grave de Peralta
EL MALECÓN-- Havana's SEASIDE
" El Malecon" Private Collection
oil on canvas 20" x 50"
The subject of this painting was gleaned from a series of family memories in my native island of Cuba in the early 1960s. Recently, one of my nieces asked me to paint for her new home in Boston "something you remember, perhaps a trip to the ocean---before you and my Mom left Cuba when you were children..."
And this is what I created for my niece, based on what I REMEMBER of the old seawall in Havana, not from photographs. In my mind I "see" not so much a specific visit to the Malecόn, but instead my family standing along the wall---in more of a symbolic foreshadowing of how we would all soon leave our country, and in the case of my sisters and myself, how we we would soon leave our childhood forever.
The oil painting of The Blue Seawall ... ...was first developed from this and several other thumbnail sketches in pencil. The small dimensions of the thumbnail field allow me to see the entire span of the composition inside a reduced area---and the informality, "trial" spirit of the thumbnail sketch allow for greater honesty in my drawing hand.
Next, (see below) from such thumbnail sketches from my heart memories, I decided to create a preliminary version of the composition, but this time using soft PASTEL crayons, in order to solve the many problems and issues that any large composition brings with it. Here. I worked on two separate but joined pastel paper sheets (CANSON), colored copper brown. It took me several weeks to complete this pastel version of my work . From left to right stand my grandmother, my grandfather, mom, my oldest sister, myself looking through a camera, my middle sister, and my dad dressed in white.
PASTEL version on the floor of my studio and the blank canvas with some
charcoal markings above it on the wall.
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