Joaquín Sorolla ~ Artistic Approach

Joaquin Sorolla was passionate about the two loves in his life - his family and his art.

Besides Sundays, he would work six to nine hours a day, often standing in the full glare of the sun dressed in a suit.

The basis of Sorolla's faultless technique was the drawings skills that he had learnt in his childhood.

But he was not a slave to technique – truth and sincerity were his key objectives, and these came from observation and hard work.

Sorolla painted very, very fast. "I could not paint at all if I had to paint slowly," he once said. "Every effect is so transient, it must be rapidly painted."
Most of his pictures were painted in from four to six mornings, many in one or two.

Sorolla did not have a set idea of how a painting would turn out before he started, preferring to build up the composition as he went along.

In terms of colour, from about 1900 onwards for outdoor work (as opposed to studio portraits) Sorolla’s palette consisted of cobalt violet, rose madder, all the cadmium reds, cadmium orange, all the cadmium yellows, yellow ochre, chrome green, viridian, Prussian blue, cobalt blue, French ultramarine and lead white.

For studio portraits, he changed his palette entirely to one that included black, burnt umber, raw umber, rose madder, burnt sienna, raw sienna, yellow ochre, Naples yellow, vermilion and cobalt blue. Occasionally Sorolla would add orange, pink or purple, but he usually emphasized strong tonal contrasts over ambitious color effects. [source: Charles Sovek Light & Colour Sorolla Style - see links]

In the studio Sorolla would sometimes use a palette the size of a grand piano lid and 3 foot long brushes to allow him to stand back from his painting.
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