José F. Grave de Peralta
The Blue Seawall (El Malecon Azul)
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, a trip to the ocean---before you
and my Mom left Cuba..." And this is what I created for her, based on what I REMEMBER of
the old seawall in Havana, not from photographs---and on the scenario
of the 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, our childhood.
oil on canvas
20" x 50"
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.
I decided to create a true-to-size preliminary version of the composition, using soft PASTEL, in order to solve the many problems and issues that any large composition brings with it-- for instance, the oil medium. In this preliminary pastel version of my story, I worked on two separate but joined pastel paper sheets, colored copper brown. It took me several weeks to complete this pastel version of my
PASTEL version on the floor of my studio and the blank canvas with some charcoal markings above it on the wall.
Above, several photos of the process I follow as I go from from DRAWING to Painting