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Studio Paintings from Plein Air Sketches

 

Studio Paintings from Plein Air Sketches

Painting, including landscape painting, has historically been an indoor art, and it wasn’t until the heyday of Impressionism did painting outdoors become the norm. Just recently, painting plein air has become a very popular style of painting that in itself stands alone as a practice. I have been taking students out to paint on location since 1980 before the word Plein Air was used. We called it Painting from Nature or location painting. Prior to the Impressionists, any outdoor painting practice was distinctly subordinate to studio work. Remember, in a time before cameras, all paintings that were created in the studio were painted directly from models or from drawings made outside along with sketches in watercolor, pastel and paint. Few paintings done on location were ever offered for sale because they belonged to the artist as references for larger studio works or as a diary for recording their experiences outdoors.

I believe in the principle that every pictorial invention must be rooted in observation, and I use En Plein Air painting as a practice of visual note taking, recording and drawing the slightest details of a leaf or limb to the most detailed record of a full autumn tree. Spending time studying the subtitles of nature is the true reward of painting from nature.

Sketching has been fundamental to an artist’s practice since the Renaissance. My Etudes or studies are my records of nature, directly observed. Many are completed studies while others are just sketches for something even more fabulous that’s created in the studio. In the painting “Silence Broken,” I used my location sketches as well as sketches of Elk from my journeys in the wild, along with my knowledge of the anatomy of Elk to create the studio painting of a subject I feel very passionate about ~ wildlife as it appears in nature.

October 1, 2014

I was exploring the northern flank of Mt. Shasta as I sketched the hillsides. It has been rumored that a small Elk herd had wandered up the northern slope of the Mt. Shasta foothills. Larry, a seasoned hunter and animal lover was my guide. We ventured from Old Military Road towards Mt. Shasta following endless trails of Elk and Deer tracks that meandered through the Manzanita, and all the trails led to dead ends. Along the way, my artistic senses were on overload as beautiful redwood and white fir trees made their grand stance along beautiful canyons and waterfalls. The smell of wildflowers filled the air and I was inspired to sketch everything. Except for the quiet buzz of Cicadas that were everywhere, the forest was quiet. All of a sudden the silence was broken by a bugling Elk telling us that this was his terrain and our presence was not welcome. His eyes were fixated on ours. His massive chest thrust outward with every sound that he made. His every movement was poised and determined like a great matador in a bull fight but this time I was the bull and he was the matador. With great respect, we retreated, but not until I sketched this magnificent animal to recreate in my studio.

Painting on location is a wonderful discipline and a fascinating painting practice. I find it incredibly stimulating and enjoyable to experience the feeling of being absorbed in careful observation. And when I sketch on location, I love forming the foundation for a great painting like “Silence Broken” that I finish later in my studio.

In the upcoming workshops in Mt. Shasta, I will talk more about the history of Plein Air painting and how it can be an interesting and creative practice where a painting can be completed either on location or can be the beginning of a great studio painting.

The post Studio Paintings from Plein Air Sketches appeared first on Stefan Baumann – The Grand View: Paintings by Stefan Baumann.

What Makes a Great Plein Air Painting?

 

“Illumination of Mt. Shasta from Tule Lake”

National Wildlife Refuge

What Makes a Great Plein Air Painting?

Mount Shasta is a beautiful and diverse area that offers some of America’s most dramatic, stunning vistas in a location that is sparsely inhabited. Located in Northern California, Mt Shasta is where I chose to create a special place for Plein Air artists to learn and practice the art of painting from nature. Mount Shasta offers plein air artists unlimited sources of beautiful locations waiting to be captured with paint and canvas and I will be offering several Plein Air Workshops in this area during the next few months.

What makes a great painting? Better yet, how can you paint a great painting on location in a period of two hours? How do you take the guess work out of creating a powerful work of art that will leave a lasting impression with the viewer, and do it without guessing or hoping that you’ll get it right or wasting time repainting it over and over? How can you leave a location with powerful painting every time? It begins with have a basic knowledge of Composition, Chunking, Checkering, Eye magnets, Color harmony, Color mixing, knowing how the brain sees, CFP, Mediums, Structure, Aerial Perspective, and Temperature. This may seem daunting and yet, if you paint without understanding all of the basics, you’re probably going to feel disappointed. Painting requires a developed skill and an understanding of the basic concepts that have been handed down from artist to artist for generations.

The one most powerful piece of advice that I can give an artist is “Remember why you chose this place to paint. Remember the moment that you said “here!” and began to set up your easel. That’s the moment you want to capture.” In the painting “Illumination of Mt. Shasta from Tule Lake,” I was traveling to Klamath Falls from Mt. Shasta early in the morning, taking a road that went by Tule lake. The sun had just crested the earth and Mt. Shasta was illuminated on the horizon with a stunning light that invited me to stop, set up my easel and paint. The morning sun changes quickly in the summer so I had to constantly remember the moment that caused me to stop and set up my easel. When we paint in the morning, the scene looks great at first, and then the light changes. We often chase the light and our painting gets flat, just like the light does as it approaches mid-day.

Monet said that “the light changes every 7 minutes” so you must not be tempted by the mistress of the moment. Stay on task! Paint the moment when you were inspired! Keep the memory in your mind, and take a moment to jot down some notes and ask your self “WHY? Why am I inspired?” Make some quick footnotes on your canvas of the scene, the brightest lights, and shadows that made you stop and paint this inspiration. Get clear before you start, then stay focused on the end result. Turn your back to the scene and rely on your memory by watching your painting and not your model. The brain is an amazing computer. It can recall facts that a person is not even aware of. The practice of using this muscle in our heads requires some time, but it can be developed. After spending time coaching hundreds of artists on location at plein air events, it became apparent to me that although many artists had a good grasp of the skills to paint, many lack the understanding of why things work and how we see. Participants in the basic workshop will understand from start to finish the underlying structure of composing and executing a powerful painting. I invite you to attend the Basic Plein Air Workshop on August 7-8-9th, 2015.

 

                                    _________________________________________________
Plein air and alla prima artist Stefan Baumann, host of the PBS painting series “The Grand View, America’s National Park through the eyes of an artist” and author of “Observations Of Art and Nature,” travels in his vintage travel trailer painting America’s western landscape. Baumann paints outdoors with oils and canvas capturing stunning vistas, wildlife, western landscapes, National Parks and still life, thrilling art collectors throughout the world. He has many international collectors acquiring his paintings as investments. His painting style is called Romantic Realism with Luminism, and the extraordinary way he captures the effect of light is a truly American style used to paint the Western landscape. He can be seen plein air painting in Yellowstone, Yosemite and in the Grand Canyon. Baumann’s “how to paint” DVDs filmed on location in the National Parks are the very best on the market.

 

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Painting with Panels or Canvas?

The Secrets of Priming and Preparing Panels for Painting
Part One: Selecting the Panel

For an artist, nothing beats the feeling of working on a flawless painting surface that has been carefully prepared by skilled craftsmen educated in the Renaissance tradition with recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years. These recipes included various exotic ingredients such as resin extracted from trees farmed in the Amazon rainforests in Brazil, which was then hand pressed by Monks, and aged in cellars for 30 years as the main ingredient. Also, marble pumas mined from the same quarries in Italy that Michangelo used to sculpt his masterpiece “David,” was used along with linen textile made from the heartiest flax seed grown in eastern Europe that was then hand spun in Belgium using thread counts in the thousands. All of this was applied to wood, cut harvested from the western slopes of the France and Italian Alps, milled into panels, assembled in Venice, and exported around the world.

During the early days, preparation of the surface of the panel was a guarded secret, an art in itself, a skill passed down for generations. And unfortunately, often the secrets died with the artist. Many artists hired apprentices to prepare the grounds and mediums used to create these magic surfaces. They where sworn to keep these secrets from other rival artists and would not deliver the panels until they were properly dried in fear that a rival artist could smell the medium used in the preparing the surface. The finish of the surface was often the defining difference that contributed to creating a successful result as much as the painting itself.

Nowadays, we can step up to the counter at big box art store and buy 10- 8x 10 canvases for $10, and with a coupon, get another 20% off. Students ask me, “Why should I waste my money on quality supplies or spend hours of my time preparing a canvas when I am only learning how to paint and the paintings that I’m doing are just studies or practices and will probably get thrown away?”

I answer by saying “Inexpensive practice canvases will never come close to the experience that you will have with a quality canvas or panel. In fact, if you practice from the start on quality panels, it might change the way you practice painting forever. The quality of the surface will impact the way you apply your paint, the quality of your stroke, the way your paints blend and react to the surface, and the way light reflects on your brushstrokes.”

Yes, it is true that you can practice on inexpensive canvases, but what could you have achieved if you would have done it on a superior surface? Experiencing the way the paint absorbs or does not absorb, or how transparent or soft the paint appears on the surface of a fine canvas may help you think about painting in a different manner all together. Investing time and effort in the preparation and care of all of your materials will serve you well and will greatly assist you along in the painting process. Always be prepared and ready to paint with the best supplies possible.

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Whaler’s Cove: Values & Aerial Perspective

                                                                                “Whaler’s Cove” ~ 12×8 Oil Painting

April 13 2015
Point Lobos

After exploring the Monterey coast waiting for the sun to rise and the fog to lift, I discovered a hidden bay at the entrance of Point Lobos called Whaler’s Cove where I noticed the subtle effects of aerial perspective and receding values that would create a beautiful painting. This quiet bay was undulating with sea kelp which was quite a contrast to the dramatic sea pounding with waves on the coast that we saw earlier this morning. My colleague Kris Baxter and I climbed up the embankment and set up our easels for a morning of plein air painting.

Painting in the fog offers an interesting study in values. In this little painting of “Whaler’s Cove,” I found that the overcast sky provided a neutral background that simplified the details of the masses as the landscape fell away from us. The teal blue water breaking along the beach below complemented the grey palette of the painting, offering an illuminated focal point for the painting. The values lightened and got colder as the scene regressed into the fog creating the feeling of depth or aerial perspective. The foreground was darker and warmer which brought the cliffs closer to the viewer.

Personally, I like painting a marine painting at low tide when the rocks are exposed and there is less water so that I can  play with the rock shapes and colors. Also, the early morning light shows more of the rock structures allowing me to exaggerate edges and make a strong design with planes of interesting color.

In most cases, the sky will illuminate your painting and will be the lightest plane in your picture. I find that having the sky as the light source will create a very low contrast painting that can be boring to look at, and understanding this can often save a painting from disaster.  Instead, I called attention to the beautiful color in the water scarf and combined it with the light to create the effect of glared light on the scarf that becomes the lightest part of the composition.

Transitions are often overlooked in a painting and many artists will finish with a flat painting without transitions. I often tell my students that every inch of your painting should be in transition ~ either from dark to light value, or cool color temperature to warm. In this study, notice that the sky has transitions from dark on the left to a lighter value on the right, and likewise from top to bottom. The water also transitions from dark in the back to light in the front. This transition or gradation establishes depth.

When painting from nature, I establish the brightest spot first and then judge all the other values in the painting by it. The effect in “Whaler’s Cove” would have been lost if I made either the sky or the foreground too light. The dark silhouette of the foreground rocks are painted against the distant mass of the water giving the composition a sense of strength and balance, and the contrast in their value helps push the background slopes of the cliffs further back creating depth.

_________________________________________________
Plein air and alla prima artist Stefan Baumann, host of the PBS painting series “The Grand View, America’s National Park through the eyes of an artist” and author of “Observations Of Art and Nature,” travels in his vintage travel trailer painting America’s western landscape. Baumann paints outdoors with oils and canvas capturing stunning vistas, wildlife, western landscapes, National Parks and still life, thrilling art collectors throughout the world. He has many international collectors acquiring his paintings as investments. His painting style is called Romantic Realism with Luminism, and the extraordinary way he captures the effect of light is a truly American style used to paint the Western landscape. He can be seen plein air painting in Yellowstone, Yosemite and in the Grand Canyon. Baumann’s “how to paint” DVDs filmed on location in the National Parks are the very best on the market.

The post Whaler’s Cove: Values & Aerial Perspective appeared first on Stefan Baumann – The Grand View: Paintings by Stefan Baumann.

Choosing Your Own Color Palette

On the Wings of an Osprey

 

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing Your Own Color Palette

In the next few posts I will be answering frequently asked questions from
students and professional artists about painting on location with oil paints and
discussing how to use colors, values and how to create a personal palette by using
4 colors plus white. I will explore how easy choosing your own color palette
can be as you develop your style of painting. This is aspect of painting included
as an essay in my book that I am writing titled, “Everything You Need to Know
about Plein Air Painting.” For more information, please go my Artist’s posts at
www.StefanBaumann.com

If you want to be Plein Air artist you must be practical about the supplies that
you bring with you on location. Everything that you bring must be evaluated as to
the weight, accessibility and convenience of your supplies. The heaviest items in
your box of supplies are your tubes of paint. It is important to use as few colors as
possible to produce the effects you want and minimize the weight. I have watched
artists on location squeeze out 32 colors of paint on their palettes before painting
their first brush strokes on canvas. Using numerous tubes of paint is a waste of time
and paint, and they weigh a ton! And what is worse is that students wonder why
they are having so much trouble matching colors and why their paintings look so
muddy. If you want to be a plein air artist, you must travel light so that you have the
freedom to go where ever you want to paint, and this means you can’t bring your
“studio” with you everywhere you go.

I have noticed that students frequently don’t understand how to use color or how
to choose a color palette that is their own. Many teachers just assume that their
students have already taken a color class. I invite you to consider painting with a
limited palette that includes 4 tubes of paint plus white. In theory, everything can
be painted with the three primary colors of Red, Blue and Yellow. This sounds crazy
but it is true. Look into your computer printer and you will find three colors of ink
that are used together to create the amazing photos that your printer can print.
What three primary colors should I use? This is part of the wonderful journey of
becoming an artist. The colors YOU choose will ultimately be part of the uniqueness
of your own artwork. I ask many participants in my workshops, “What colors do
you use in your color palette?” Many of them answer that they use various palettes
recommended by art gurus like Richard Schmid or David Levell. When I ask them
why they haven’t created their own palette, many of them look at me with a puzzled
expression. The truth is that many artists haven’t had training in color basics and
they use colors that they have acquired in the past, adding colors that they find in
art stores that are pretty or on sale. Many artists think it is easier to supplement
their palette with a variety of colors or buy premixed colors to save time. But if you
look back in history, there were fewer colors available to the Impressionists in the
1800’s and despite that limitation, they were very successful.
To learn color theory, it’s important to begin with three primary colors, Alizarin
Crimson, Thalo Blue and Cadmium Yellow Light. (Because Thalo Blue is so saturated
and messy, I recommend that you substitute Cobalt Blue.) Then, with time and
patience, you can mix these three colors together and create a beautiful black.
The initial goal of a Plein Air painter is to use only these three colors, black, and
Titanium white and complete a painting from start to finish. After doing this a

couple of times, you will begin making your own choices about what to add to your
palette. For example, you may need a bright red for a truck in your painting, After
you have exhausted all attempts at mixing Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Yellow to
make this red and have come to the conclusion that this combination will not make
the red you want, then, and only then, you can search through the box of colors you
have been collecting and choose a red that will punch up the color. If you believe
that red trucks are going to be a part of what you paint frequently, then include
this color as part of your own palette. If not, toss it back into the box. You will start
seeing that only few colors will need to be added to create the subjects you select
and style that you enjoy painting. You may eventually substitute the first three
primary colors in your quest to find the perfect three colors for your paintings; so
experiment and find out what works for you. Save some backup colors to keep in the
trunk of your car but go on site with as little as you can carry in one trip.
Remember that White is not a color and is only used to create values of a color.
The quality of white paint does matter. I recommended that you use a good to best
quality of white like Old Holland Titanium White that contains both Titanium and
Zinc. The Zinc makes it cooler and balances the warmness of Titanium white making
it a true white. Stay away from Permalba White because it contains less pigment and
produces a muddy color quickly. If you want your white to have a soft appearance,
mix some linseed oil into the paint on the palette.
As for the cost of the paint you choose, except for the white, it does not make any
difference if you use a cheap name brand paint that you find at Michael’s or the
high-end paint like Vasari or Old Holland. They all produce the same effects when
mixed. So save your money to spend on something that really makes a difference,
like buying oil primed linen canvases to paint on.
Oh, yes. The fourth color that I use is an earth color. I could name the one that I
use, but why not chose one for your self. Any transparent brown will work. Now
play, experiment, and always be curious about the outcome. You’re on your way to
developing your own palette and style, and with a limited number of tubes of paint,
you are free to paint where ever and when ever you want.

The post Choosing Your Own Color Palette appeared first on Stefan Baumann – The Grand View: Paintings by Stefan Baumann.

Stefan Baumann and the Grand View Artists at Art du Jour Gallery

Crater Lake, original oil painting by Stefan Baumann

Crater Lake, original oil painting by Stefan Baumann

Art du Jour Gallery will host nationally known artist Stefan Baumann and Medford’s talented group, The Grand View Artists, in a holiday art show from Tuesday, December 2, through Friday, January 30.  The gallery will hold Third Friday Artists’ Receptions on Dec. 19th and January 17th from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Everyone is invited to attend these events.  Art du Jour Gallery, at 213 E. Main in Medford, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (excluding holidays).

A selection of oil paintings from Baumann’s 35 years as an artist will feature beautiful vistas, dramatic paintings of wildlife in their natural habitats, spectacular views of National Parks, and rustic architecture painted on location and in Baumann’s studio near Mount Shasta, CA.  Baumann reveals the true spirit of nature on his canvases by transporting the viewer to lands that have gone unseen and undisturbed.  As he says, “I let the paintings speak for themselves—they are elegant and mysterious, exciting and bold.  I try to capture a feeling, a sense of place, and the magic of light in all of my paintings.”

Baumann is a gifted award-winning artist and art instructor who offers oil painting classes in Medford.  He also has a PBS painting show called “The Grand View” that can be seen locally on public television.

The work of sixteen members of The Grand View Artists will be displayed in the Salon.  Their works will encompass subject matter for every discerning collector, including local landscapes, still life, portraiture and animal art.

Art du Jour Gallery will also display the artwork of its twenty members.   A holiday gift selection will include pottery, jewelry, scarves, cards, and small paintings.

For additional information call (541) 770-3190.

Curious Bear

Curious Bear ~ Sketchbooks are Valuable

Original Oil Painting by Stefan Baumann

12x 16 Oil on Oil Primed Linen Canvas Stretched on Wood Bars

Framing

3 1/4″ Omega dark Wood with gold inlay,

Signed

Lower Left – Baumann GV

Artist’s Comments

At our camp near Coulter Bay, on the boundary of the Teton National Park, there was a curious bear whose name is Number 399. When I captured my first glimpse of Number 399, I grabbed my sketchbook to make a quick sketch on paper knowing that I could later transfer it to canvas. The bear stood for a few moments among several fallen tree trunks before lofting away to another campsite. While he stood there, a burst of wind made his fur ripple like waves on water, back-blowing his thick winter coat.

The National Park Service gives bears numbers to identify each bear, keep track of their activity, and to monitor if any bears are interacting with park tourists in an unpleasant manner. Every bear has its own personality and interacts differently with members of the human race. Number 399 is a popular bear at the campground.

 (To read the full post story, click HERE

Provenance

Stefan Baumann’s One Man Show,  Reverence~An Artist’s Tribute to Nature, Orland Art Center, September 2014
Currently held by the Artist

 

 

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Sketchbooks, Valuable Artist’s Tool

                                                                                “Curious Bear” by Stefan Baumann

 

At our camp near Coulter Bay, on the boundary of the Teton National Park, there was a curious bear whose name is Number 399. When I captured my first glimpse of Number 399, I grabbed my sketchbook to make a quick sketch on paper knowing that I could later transfer it to canvas. The bear stood for a few moments among several fallen tree trunks before lofting away to another campsite. While he stood there, a burst of wind made his fur ripple like waves on water, back-blowing his thick winter coat.

The National Park Service gives bears numbers to identify each bear, keep track of their activity, and to monitor if any bears are interacting with park tourists in an unpleasant manner. Every bear has its own personality and interacts differently with members of the human race. Number 399 is a popular bear at the campground. Rangers and park visitors liked him because of his natural curiosity about people, and as a result, many park tourists enjoy seeing this beautiful four year old, honey-colored grizzly. He likes the attention and poses for pictures, and he has never been cited for unruly bear behavior, although his natural curiosity makes a few campers a little uncomfortable as he wanders from campsite to campsite.

The following day after I sketched  Number 399, I learned that a hunter, who had just killed an elk, shot the curious bear three times and killed him. The hunter apparently was worried that he might have to share his kill with the bear. This was a poignant reminder of the value of sketching in the moment as the opportunity presents itself.

Artists have not always carried their paints and canvas with them on their travels. The practice of painting on location is a relatively new concept in the history of painting. Many artists prefer the traditional method of sketching their experiences in a sketchbook. Artists can draw models or objects of interest, jot down notes and observations about a subject’s shapes, colors and unique features, or work on ideas for upcoming paintings in their sketchbooks. In this painting, “Curious Bear,” I worked from a sketch that I drew of the bear that visited our campsite. Having only seconds to jot down ideas, I worked on an idea for a painting from my sketchbook and notes the following day after I learned that the bear had been shot and killed. This is an example of why it is valuable that artists always have a sketchbook and a pencil or pen ready to sketch and write notes and observations.

I recommend using a book that has about 50 sheets of plain paper with a spiral spine, and urge artists to carry it with them everywhere and make a point to draw at least three drawings a day. It is not necessary to invest in expensive journals with upgraded paper and leather binding displaying the artist’s name in gold leaf. Although these can be impressive, the fancy journals are intimidating and rarely, if ever, used. Don’t think of your sketchbook as a holy relic. It is just a book with pieces of paper. The real value is not the book itself; it is using its pages to practice your sketching and to journal what you are thinking and feeling daily about the world around you, with the possibility of capturing a precious moment that later can become your next great painting.

                                             _____________________________________________________________________

Plein air and alla prima artist Stefan Baumann, host of the PBS painting series “The Grand View, America’s National Park through the eyes of an artist” and author of “Observations Of Art and Nature,” travels in his vintage travel trailer painting America’s western landscape. Baumann paints outdoors with oils and canvas capturing stunning vistas, wildlife, western landscapes, National Parks and still life, thrilling art collectors throughout the world. He has many international collectors acquiring his paintings as investments. His painting style is called Romantic Realism with Luminism, and the extraordinary way he captures the effect of light is a truly American style used to paint the Western landscape. He can be seen plein air painting in Yellowstone, Yosemite and in the Grand Canyon. Baumann’s “how to paint” DVDs filmed on location in the National Parks are the very best on the market.

 

 

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Stefan Baumann Painting On Location

Photo of Stefan Baumann Painting On Location at Asilomar,  CA.

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September 5, 2014 Orland Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Stefan Baumann or Kris Baxter
800.511.1337
[email protected]
[email protected]
Image of Stefan Baumann (2314 x 1878 .jpg file)
ORLAND, California (September 5, 2014) Local artist Stefan Baumann introduces a collection of 50 of his oil paintings in a show titled, Reverence: An Artist’s Tribute to Nature at the Orland Art Center in Orland, CA at an Artist’s Reception on September 5, 2014 from 3pm to 7pm. The public is invited to attend the festivities and meet the artist. Stefan Baumann’s show will run from September 1 – 26, 2014, and the Gallery is open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1pm to 7pm.
Stefan Baumann is a gifted award-winning artist and art instructor who offers oil painting classes in Redding, Mt. Shasta, Medford and San Jose. He also has a PBS painting show called “The Grand View” that can be seen locally on Saturdays on KIXE Create TV. He offers a free eBook containing his artwork and articles about painting on his website at www.stefanbauman.com.
The Grand View Studio is located near Mt. Shasta, California 96094. For more information about Stefan Baumann’s exhibitions, classes, programs, and workshops, please call 800.511.1337 or visit www.stefanbaumann.com or call Kris Baxter at 530-925-0034 or email her at [email protected]

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