One thing that I found very particular about Santa Monica is the huge congregation of artists that live there. When I drove down Ocean Park, I decided to park about half a mile away from the waterfront in a lowly residential neighborhood that had no parking enforcement at all. Yet if you were to know the structure of the Western edge of Santa Monica, it's a very well known fact that parking is simply daunting at all hours. Plus, I had no spare change for a meter.
During my stroll to the beach, I noticed the size of these houses. They weren't very large, some of them looked to be as large as my own living room. Yet considering the real estate environment in a place like Santa Monica, it's only feast or famine. I could clearly see that it was the artists who lived in the smaller houses. I could see through the narrow front windows oil paints of sweeping abstract strokes, acrylic landscapes descending into the hazy distance, paintings of various men and women sitting, and a couple houses with an easel sitting on the porch. It's a very artistic community, but it also means a tad bit more than that. I found myself amazed by a few of these works, even though I could only see them from a distance through a window in a dim room. It was like its own art gallery.
There was one painting, though.
Flush with pinks, yellows, blues, greens, you name the color this painting had it. The artist must have had a substantially strong grasp of perspective, as his subject matter seemed to jump from the vanishing point. He had done a painting of the Santa Monica pier at sunset. The very depth of detail was overwhelming, as I saw on the large canvas that he had drawn in every minute detail on every one of the hundreds of pylons supporting it. They nailed every feature, with the coiling lamps, the railing in perfect perspective alignment with the pier, and the looming ferris wheel dominating the whole scene.
I found the composition to be very inspiring. There's another artist, Roger Dean, who makes ficticious landscapes of fantasy and color. Though this painting was a culmination of a real venue, it still had a surreal feel to it. The way it seemed to bend, pulling the effect of depth even further than the eye's own capability of perceiving. Like Dean, it was a great inspiration that pushed me and influenced me during the photo shoot. I wanted to capture the same idea of perspective. I wanted to nail the color palette. I wanted to take this painting, and pay homage to it by experiencing for myself the very scene the artist saw when I brought his canvas to the beach.
This photograph does no justice. But it was the best I could get. Photography is extremely limitted. Traditional artists can pull the various elements even further than a mere lens can capture. He can add to the scene, take out other parts, he can change it up and alter it not so that it perfectly mimicks the subject (like a camera) but makes the subject itself perfect.
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