Bertrán's paintings display her passion for landscapes

Vivid colors, breathtaking scenery, and serene places we would love to be part of; it must be a Maria Bertrán painting. At the Pacific Edge Gallery, Bertrán exhibits her new series of more than 34 paintings, entitled "Passion for the Landscape."

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Bertrán is happiest when she is painting. When asked what is unique about her art, she replied that: "I paint on location from beginning to end, no sketches, no cameras. I stay in the same place until the painting is complete." She then adds: "I use colors differently. I know colors deeply. I am a colorist." Lastly Bertrán states: "I believe I have mastered composition, whether working on a composition that has a figure or not." Bertrán received a solid and traditional painting education at Washington University in Saint Louis. She attributes her early training with her ability to work traditionally to create the best composition, use colors well, create effective scenery and render figures. Her training has never let her down.

Bertrán's latest series are of images of Provence, the South of France, and Winchester, England. In France, she scouts out the very best scenery, either by walking or driving around, looking for the best light and the most effective composition. She returns to the same small hamlet each year, but on each visit, it is never the same. Some years, a field of poppies blossoms; another year it does not. Or, a field of lavender is barren, and then surprisingly the next year, it produces the most luscious purple colors. In this tiny place in France, where there are no luxuries, Bertrán finds endless subjects to paint, including her love of old doors, old buildings, and farmer's cabins, which, in this modern age, are disappearing. In England, the atmosphere is more gray, but the soft greens and blues of England are beautiful.

On these trips, Bertrán paints for about four months. Then she returns to one of her favorite places, Laguna Beach. The paintings she brings back need to be unrolled, re-stretched, and varnished.

Maria Bertrán's "Door of Shadows" is on exhibit at Pacific Edge Gallery, 540 South Coast Hwy., #112, Laguna Beach.

She touches them up and brings them to their lustrous state. Bertran shows at Dick Kleinman Fine Art in Cleveland, Ohio; and her work is displayed at Rick Moore's Virtual Gallery in Naples, Fla. She recently had an exhibition in Stockbridge near Winchester, England at the Courcoux & Courcoux Gallery. Her daughter who works at the Tate Museum in London arranged the show. Bertrán also teaches painting classes.

The Pacific Edge Gallery is at 540 South Coast Hwy., #112. Information: 949-494-0491 or
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