[National Academy of Plein Air Painters members trip to see Sorolla]
article and pictures by Glen Knowles – designed and edited by Deborah Chapin
A painting we had not seen reproduced before “The Peppers” is illuminated by shafts of golden light that ties the two figures together. The grandfather gazes with such caring at his granddaughter as the girl attends to a bowl of red peppers.
A comparison of the drawing beneath these two heads is instructive. The average proportions of an adult are divided roughly in thirds. The grandfather is old and craggy and his hair is unkempt. The length from his forehead to the end of his nose is very long and further dramatized by the foreshortened, and darker, side of his face and chin. This contrast between the illuminated and shadowed portion of his face accentuates his concentration and his age. An infant’s face at birth is divided in half by the top of the eyebrow. As a child grows the face lengthens. Looking closely at this girl’s long forehead and at her facial proportion her brow is at this halfway point.
Looking closely at this girl’s long forehead and at her facial proportion her brow is at this halfway point. Why? Is it to further accentuate her youth, make her appear even more innocent, and stir our parental emotions to also care for her and her future as well? Finally, “The Peppers” also has one of the most confident and beautiful brushstrokes in oil paint anywhere! This loaded brushstroke changes color three times and represents a shaft of light that contours over the young girl’s entire crouched figure.