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Private 31

In this painting Private 31, the artist has captured both linear and atmospheric perspective. Though he did not use the pointillism technique, this painting is similar in composition to Georges Seurat’s Bridge of Courbevoir, (1884 – 1886), and Evening at Honfleur. He has used the ‘rule of thirds’, and roughly broken the painting into nine sections. The main focus is in the central third, where heavily clothed individuals are enjoying some activity.

The heights of the people on the beach front reduce as they recede to a distant point, towards the left edge of the canvas. Similarly, so do the beach and the horizon lines. They arrive at the same point somewhere off the edge of the painting. The artist manipulated colours to give visual depth. He used bolder and darker colours in the foreground. The softer mid tones graduate into a hazy, blurred horizon where they transition into a grey, and lemon-blue, tinted sky.

There is excellent balance of colour. The dabs of darker tones and colours in the foreground are quite dramatic, and they hold the painting together. They also add to the bleakness of the weather. Brushstrokes are simple, and randomly placed. The paint brush has done the work, because it automatically blended the colours that the artist had placed on the brush together. Yellow, blue colours and tints effectively show rocks and grass.

Light reflects on the water, where waves are lapping the beach. The tree that has been placed on the right has cast a small amount of black shadow.

Attention has been paid to detail, and a small sailboat can be seen in the upper third of the painting, on the left-hand side.

Acrylic on Masonite, date unknown

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