J. Russell Wells: Inspiration and the Narrative

NOAPS jeff wells Allure 24x36

“Allure”, 24×36, Oil on canvas, Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne, IN.  Winner of Best Figure Painting at the NOAPS 2017 Best of America Exhibit.

The relaxed pose of the model in J. Russell Wells’ painting “Allure” belies the careful planning that has taken place in the composing of the work.  When looking closely, one first notices the repeated shapes of the figure and the sofa.  The model’s arms are placed to draw attention to her face, and from there the viewer rhythmically travels through the composition.  The values are lightest near the face, while the rest of the painting has been subdued.  The colors are almost monochromatic with the exception of the figure: a strategy often employed by Sargent in his paintings.  Then there is the model’s expression; thoughtful, almost indifferent, caught in a reflective moment.

The inspiration for Wells’ work came from a series of poses, during which the artist played with different lighting while taking photos.  The photos revealed the shots that best expressed the initial concept, and from there the painting was created.  As J. Russell states: ” She (the model) understood that every part of her posture, from her fingers to her toes, was important.  Having a great model is always inspiring.”

NOAPS jeff wells at her vanity 40x24  “At Her Vanity” 40×24, Oil on canvas, R. S. Hanna Gallery, Fredericksburg, TX.

Wells has always been interested in art; from Rockwell illustrations to automotive caricatures, and as a young boy he would often copy these images.  He later majored in studio art with an emphasis on printmaking, painting, drawing and sculpture.  After university he developed his skills in oil painting, and worked on commissions for Interior Designers in Chicago in portraiture, landscapes, large-scale abstracts and sculpture.  Music has also been an important part of his life; he played trumpet in a 14 piece jazz band for 25 years.

NOAPS jeff wells free bird 30x40  “Free Bird”, 30×40, Oil on canvas, Collection of the artist

J. Russell’s introspective nature often leads him to create narrative works.  He starts his painting session with quiet reflection, often reading scripture, praying or writing down his thoughts.  His studio is a sanctuary, and his paints and brushes the precious instruments of his inner self.  With the music in the background, he will set up his tools while the model relaxes into her pose, and then the work begins.  He is careful to remember his initial concept, and whether working from life or a photo, he keeps that concept in the forefront.  Other notions may surface, but they play a secondary role to support the initial narrative.

NOAPS jeff wells a new day 40x30  “A New Day”, 30×40, Oil on canvas, Collection of the artist

His working process begins with a pencil or charcoal drawing, similar to a notan, to help discern the values and composition.  He usually paints with the direct technique, and at times will use an indirect technique to alter the temperature of an area and add interest.  His palette consists of Titanium white, Brilliant yellow pale, cold black, Canton Rose, yellow ochre, raw sienna, thalo green, Kings blue deep, violet grey, flesh ochre, (a type of Terra Rosa), Madder lake deep, transparent oxide red, and sepia from a variety of paint manufacturers.  He uses an oil primed canvas by Raphael or the Gamblin Ground on canvas and board.  His tools range from fine brushes, ink brayers, silk screen squeegees, to fingers and rags.

J. Russell likes to experiment as well.  He looks to new ways of seeing, mark making, and design.  He studies the masters, the current artists and contemporary works, as well as music and poetry.  He takes one or two workshops every year from an artist whose work he admires, one that differs from his own techniques: “there are many creative expressions, that if one is open to learning from them one might find cross-over into their own work.”

NOAPS jeff wells white roses 16x20  “White Roses”, 16×20, Oil on canvas, Private collection

Wells is inspired by artists of the past with a wide range of styles; from Van Gogh to Sargent to Pollack.  He is also inspired by contemporary artists such as Vincent Desiderio, Casey Baugh, Jeremy Mann, Alyssa Monks, Gerhardt Richter and Antonio Lopez Garcia.  His most important mentor is his wife, Janice, who “believes in me and encourages me.  She is also my greatest critic.”

Wells cautions artists not to take themselves too seriously; “Paint somewhat detached so you can make decisions void of attachment.”  If an area of a painting becomes precious, you may well have to wipe it out if it competes with the overall message of the painting.

To view more work by J. Russell Wells, visit his website at www.jrussellwells.com

To view more work from the NOAPS 2017 Best of America Exhibit visit www.noaps.org/events

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director



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Get Recognized

NOAPS marc hanson Delta Soup

“Delta Soup”, 22×30, by Marc Hanson, winner of 3rd place from the 2017 NOAPS Fall \On-line International.

The 2017 NOAPS Fall On-line Exhibition is a remarkable collection of outstanding work from artists all over the world.  A variety of styles, genres and themes showcase the skill, imagination and creativity of contemporary art today.

Marc Hanson’s painting, “Delta Soup” is a very moody, atmospheric scene that gives one the sense of a damp, chilly day where the even light casts no shadows.

NOAPS Fei Gao Kazakh girl in a dress

“Kazakh girl in a dress”, 70x100cm, by Fei Gao, winner of a Merit Award from the 2017 NOAPS Fall On-line International.

In contrast, the painting by Fei Gao, above, is a stunning example of fine detail and draftsmanship, painting in a highly realistic style.  The painting not only attracts for the exquisite rendering of the dress, but also for the expression on the young woman’s face.

noaps adam Clague glowing grapefruit

“Glowing Grapefruit”, 6×6, by Adam Clague, winner of an Award of Excellence from the 2017 NOAPS Fall On-line International.

Another contrast of painting style is shown in the painting by Adam Clague.  This small painting done in an alla prima style deftly combines warm and cool colors along with vigorous brushwork to engage the viewer.

These are just a few of the fine examples of paintings represented in the On-line Exhibit.  More paintings can be viewed at www.noaps.org/2017-fall-online.

One of the tag lines for the National Oil and Acrylic Painters’ Society is ‘Get Recognized’.  With so very many great artists as are alive today, we sometimes feel as though we are swimming in a pool so large we will never be noticed as artists.  The likelihood of our paintings selling for $450 million is more than a bit remote, and just selling at all is sometimes a surprise.  So how does an artist get recognized today, and is it all that important anyway?

Recognition, of course, comes in varying degrees from various sources.  From a friend or family member saying “I like your painting” to winning a national award, a bit of recognition is validation for the artist.  It is that validation that just may inspire us to get started on our next idea for a painting.

The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society is a great place to get recognized.  With 4 exhibitions a year, two online and two gallery exhibits, there are ample opportunities to see your work hanging alongside other great artists.  All the shows are exhibited on the website, and on Facebook and Instagram.

Check out the NOAPS homepage www.noaps.org for information on the upcoming shows for 2018, and make a resolution to ‘Get Recognized’ with NOAPS!

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director



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Catherine Marchand: Painting Beauty and Emotion

NOAPS Marchand In the Morning 16x12 Oil on Linen  “In the Morning”, 16×12, Oil on Linen, from the 2017 NOAPS Holiday Small Works Show at the Cathy Kline Gallery, Parkville, MO.

Delicate, soft brush strokes help to define the emotion seen in Catherine Marchand’s painting, “In the Morning”.  A sense of peace and quiet pleasure are found in the young girl’s expression, and if she were to look up at the viewer, she would undoubtedly smile.  This quiet beauty and happiness is a theme in Catherine’s paintings; her paintings tend to make one linger to enjoy the moment that she has captured in her work.

NOAPS Marchand Sharing Secrets 30x40 Oil on Canvas  “Sharing Secrets”, 30×40, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection

Catherine’s beginnings in art were from a young age, as with most artists. She started out with glass as her medium, and at age 16 she was already sculpting with it.  By her 20’s she was traveling across Ontario, Canada, demonstrating her glass blowing and sculpting, while selling her work.

Later, family life took center stage as Catherine home-schooled her children.  But a return to art came when she attended the Artra Academy of Realist Art (wwwartraart.com) where she studied drawing and acrylic painting in the classical tradition with Frank Haddock, the founder of the school.  Since then, Catherine has switched to oils, and studied with various artists throughout Canada and the US.

NOAPS Marchand Morning Fragarance 24x28 oil on linen  “Morning Fragrance”, 24×28, Oil on Linen, Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada.

Catherine’s focus is mainly painting women and children.  She begins with an idea, such as a mood or feeling, something beautiful that “I am excited to paint”, and then develops the idea into a setting, paying attention to every detail.  She may have the model sit to capture the essence of the light and skin tones; then for the painting she works from one of her many photos taken during the modelling session.  In the studio, after her prayer, she begins with a toned canvas and a loose sketch done in paint. She wipes out the lights first and establishes the darks in sepia tones, and then works back and forth with the lights and darks to model the form.  Her choice of support is Odessa Linen, and her palette consists of Titanium white, Lemon yellow, Cadmium yellow medium, Indian yellow, Ochre, Sienna, Cadmium orange, Winsor red, Permanent alizarin crimson, Ultramarine blue, Turquoise, Sap green, Oxide brown and sometimes black.  She uses a variety of mongoose and bristle brushes.

NOAPS Marchand Before 18x14 Oil on LInen  “Before”, 18×14, Oil on Linen.  Private Collection.

Aside from being a mother and a valued member of the NOAPS Board of Directors, Catherine recently completed a successful commission of Colonial era village, which included a setting completely done from her imagination.  In doing such a painting, she had moved out of her comfort zone; a good idea for all artists!

Though Catherine has enjoyed much success, she feels she is learning still.  In her words: “I think the best thing to do is practice from life as much as you can…it’s putting the miles on the brush that will take us farther down the road to our goals in painting.  What a joy and a privilege to be able to play in this field; it is a precious gift.”

Catherine Marchand is represented by Greenwich House Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio; Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada; and The Main Gallery, Alberta, Canada.  To see more of her work, visit her website at http://www.catherinemarchandart.com.

To view more of the NOAPS Holiday Small Works Show, visit http://www.noaps.org/events or follow on Facebook or Instagram (Natoilandacrylicsociety.

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director


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Oil and Wax: A Good Mix


“Horizon” 36×33, Oil with Cold Wax Medium by Melinda Cootsona, Seager/Gray Gallery, Mill Valley CA. 

Oil paint mediums have come a long way since they were first used in the 18th century to assist in drying time.  Today the oil painter is faced with many choices when it comes to mediums, and the following article, written by Jerry McLaughlin and Rebecca Crowell, explain about cold wax medium.

Cold wax medium is a paste-like material that artists combine with oil paints or dry pigments.  It is made from a mixture of beeswax and solvent.  Although the solvent is usually odorless mineral spirits, some formulations use turpentine or d-limonene (citrus solvent).  Commercial products contain either damar or alkyd resin to facilitate curing and hardening.  Cold wax medium is used at room temperature, and should not be confused with encaustic medium, which requires melting and fusing with heat.

All types of oil paints work well with CWM: traditional oils, water-solubles, and alkyds.  (CWM cannot be mixed with water-based paints like acrylics or gouache.)  A freeing aspect of CWM is that the ‘fat over lean’ rules of traditional oil painting can be ignored.  Paintings made with cold wax remain workable for several days to a week, but drying times are much faster than with other oil mediums.  Paintings made with CWM cure with a beautiful matte finish that requires no varnish or protective coating.

Though painting with wax has been around in various forms since about 1500 BCE, these solvent based mixtures of beeswax were almost unknown until the birth of the turpentine industry in the late 19th century.  It wasn’t until the early 20th century that they came into popular use.  American abstract painter Arthur Dove was probably the first well-known painter to work with modern-day CWM.

Artists who work with cold wax often use the words luminosity, translucency, impasto, texture, layers, and depth when they speak about what CWM brings to their work.  The versatility of CWM allows for thin translucent layers as well as thick impasto textures.  Dry pigments and other oil painting mediums (Galkyd, Liquin, etc.) can be added to change the color and handling of the medium.  Some artists use traditional brushes and palette knives while others work with less conventional tools like brayers or squeegees.  Because CWM can crack on flexible substrates like canvas, it is typically used on gessoed wood panels, Multimedia Artboard, or oil resistant papers.  Oil painting and acrylic paintings can both be used as underpaintings for cold wax works.

While CWM has recently gained popularity in abstract painting due to its ability to hold texture and its very workable surface, it has long been used in representational paintings as well.

NOAPS Ulinski_Still life with pushbroom vase and purple mug_32x28_2015  “Still Life with Push Broom, Purple Vase and Mug”, 32×28, Oil with Cold Wax Medium, by Anthony Ulinski, Private Collection.

Anthony Ulinski, a landscape and still life painter (as well as furniture maker) says, “I use cold wax because of its low solvent levels, the ease of clean-up, the beauty of the built-up layers, and the matte finish.  I like using a thick impasto of cold wax and oils.  I use a palette knife.  It keeps me from getting too fussy.”

NOAPS Ulinski_Depot in Rocky Mount_20x30_2012  “Depot in Rocky Mount”, 20×30, Oil with Cold Wax Medium, by Anthony Ulinski, Private Collection

Figurative painter Melinda Cootsona says, “I use cold wax to give a translucency to my work.  Adding cold wax to my paint allows me to increase the layering I can do with oil painting and adds a textural quality I can’t get without it.  It also speeds the drying time, an added benefit for me….Using cold wax has helped me explore texture more in my work.  Smooth areas sit next to more textural ones.  This can also create interesting juxtapositions of more abstract qualities next to more realistic qualities.”

Girls In White Dresses IV  “Girls in White Dresses IV”, 42×40, Oil with Cold Wax Medium, by Melinda Cootsona, Seager/Gray Gallery, Mill Valley, CA

Artists interested in cold wax medium now have a comprehensive resource available.  Cold Wax Medium: Techniques, Concepts & Conversations (by Rebecca crowell and Jerry McLaughlin, Squeegee Press 2016) is a 320-page book covering everything artists need to know about cold wax medium.  In addition to technical information it contains the work of over 100 artists from around the world.  The link to the book is http://www.coldwaxbook.com.

Edited by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director.  NOAPS has no financial interest in promoting the book mentioned above.




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A Plan For Color

NOAPS Winegar Lavander 12x12

“Lavander” 12×12 by Simon Winegar from the 2017 NOAPS Holiday Small Works Show at the Cathy Kline Gallery, Parkville, MO.

Color is one of the favorite tools for the artist.  We use it liberally, or sparingly, splash it on or carefully subdue it.  However we choose to handle it, if the values are the framework, the colors are the music.  For example, the painting by Simon Winegar, above, illustrates the artist’s choices for bold versus subdued.  The violets in the foreground certainly grab attention as the boldest color, and as the scene recedes the artist has suppressed the colors in the background.  The main color scheme is that of complements, and the artist has chosen to vary the placement of the warm and the cool, the bright and the dull.

NOAPS Barter, Stacy Symphony in Roses 8x10

“Symphony in Roses” 8×10 by Stacy Barter from the 2017 NOAPS Holiday Small Works Show

The color scheme of Stacy Barter’s painting plays bold against neutrals.  Her focal point is a bold yellow-orange, and the supporting colors of complementary red violets and yellow greens are subdued to let the lead color come forward.  The greys are strategically placed around the perimeter of the painting, to keep the viewer in the painting, with little or no color or detail.  The center of the main flower has been given warm clean color to direct the viewer deeper into the center of the blossom.

NOAPS Massey, Linda, Montana Gold 10x8

“Montana Gold” 10×8 by Linda Massey from the 2017 NOAPS Holiday Small Works Show

The color scheme for Linda Massey’s painting is at once visible.  She has used blue and orange as her color strategy.  Compliments can be tricky, though, due to the fact that they at once invigorate and conflict when placed in their purest chroma side by side.  So the artist must decide which color will dominate, and which to subdue; where to put notes of pure color and where to keep it neutralized.  The blue in this painting clearly dominates, and the orange has been dulled to prevent discord.  The colors are also varied in their temperature, creating a mostly cool painting that actually reads as warm.

So the artist will always play with the color.  Having the color strategy in mind prior to touching the canvas can free us to employ the even the slightest shifts in value, chroma and temperature to create a painting that engages the viewer, and invites them to investigate these colors that speak both loudly and softly, gently and resoundingly.

To view all of the paintings in the 2017 NOAPS Holiday Small Works Show visit http://www.noaps.org/exhibitions.  Visit us on Facebook and Instagram (Natoilandacrylicsociety).

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director



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A Weekend of Fun and Great Art

NOAPS Holiday show best of show Zimou Tan  “White Scarf” 7×5, by Zimou Tan, winner of the Best of Show Award at the 2017 NOAPS Holiday Small Works Show and Sale

The impressionistic brush strokes are only part of the “impression” on the face of this portrait by Zimou Tan…the glance of the model is giving the viewer the feeling that she is pensive, perhaps wistful as she gazes out from the bonds of paint.  The artist has captured with few passes of the brush the full effect of her mood.

NOAPA holiday small works thumbnail_panoramic image show

Panoramic View of the NOAPS Holiday Small Works Show and Sale at the Cathy Kline Gallery, Parkville, MO. 

What an amazing display of artwork!  The Cathy Kline Art Gallery has done an outstanding job of hanging a show of nearly 200 paintings orchestrated to provide the viewer with a comprehensive look at the work by NOAPS artists.  As always, the work seen in person far exceeds the view that one sees via the internet, and if our reader has the opportunity, a look at the show in person would certainly be worth the trip.  NOAPS extends a huge thank you to Cathy!

NOAPS Holiday show cathy kline gallery

View of the Cathy Kline Gallery with new landscaping and decorated for the Holidays.

The weekend kicked off on Thursday, November 16th with a workshop with Hebe Brooks, NOAPS Master Artist and Awards Judge.  The following day Hebe led a tour of the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, which houses over 35,000 works.  She led the attendees in “a chronological way and we were able to see the development of mediums and painting throughout western civilization.”  A highlights tour with a museum docent included a stop at the Gates of Paradise, a replica of those found in the baptistery in Florence.

Friday evening the gallery hosted a VIP reception, with nearly 100 attending including 4 mayors from Parkville and surrounding cities.  Saturday was a busy day with demonstrations by Adam Clague and Andrea Orr-Clague, Cheng Lian, and  Ryan Delgado.  That evening the Grand Opening was a huge success, with the presentation of awards.

NOAPS small works show cheng demo  Demonstrator Cheng Lian, NOAPS Master Artist with the model and the demonstration piece.

NOAPS Holiday show adam clague demo 2  Demonstrator Adam Clague, portrait in oil demonstration.

Award winners include:

Best of Show: “White Scarf” by Zimou Tan

Master/Signature Category:

First Place: “Blue Note” by Jerry Smith

Second Place: “Little Angel” by Donald Curran

Third Place: “Blue Throated Macaw” by Tom Altenburg

Honorable Mentions:

“Pals” by Del-Bourree Bach; “Timber Island” by Roger Leonard; “City Mist” by Miguel Malagon; “Main Street” by Barbara Nuss; “Snow Day” by Jason Sacran; “Time in a Bottle” by John Schisler; and “Rain in the Loop” by William Schneider.

Artist Member Category:

First Place: “Beach Path” by Terry Nybo

Second Place: “Balancing Act” by Alex Zonis

Third Place: “A Study of Colored Glass” by Blair Atherholt

Honorable Mentions:

“Braids and Bows” by Linda Eades Blackburn; “M is for Marbles” by Karen Budan; “First Brush of Spring” by Dan Bulleit; “A Little Still Life for Mrs. W” by Berry Fritz; “Dashing Dexter” by Carol Devereaux; “June Sky” by Tom Heflin; “Cherries on Pedestal” by Gerald Vendetti; “Wild Winter Waves at the Jetty” by Maureen Vezina; “Spring is Here” by Karla Mann; “Kauai Falls” by Nancy McTigue; “Fresh Tomatoes” by Rosa Montante; “Beginning of a Journey” by Manon Sander; “Old Barn and Pond” by James Swanson and “Sheep” by Andrea Orr-Clague.

Congratulations to all the award winners, and to all the artists!  Well done!

To view all the paintings in the 2017 NOAPS Holiday Small Works Show and Sale visit http://www.noaps.org/exhibitions. Visit us on Facebook and Instagram (Natoilandacrylicsociety).

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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Ray Hassard: Making Everyday Amazing

NOAPS Hassard MorningAfterTheStorm

“The Morning after the Snowstorm”, Acrylic on Canvas, 12×16, Castle Gallery, Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Winner of the Best Use of Light and Color at the 2017 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit.

Making a snow scene look warm is a daunting task for an artist, but one look at Ray Hassard’s painting, and the warmth emanates from the scene.  He has taken an ordinary scene, and found in it the simple, striking beauty.  He has masterfully taken the complimentary colors and let the snow cover the warmth of the orange earth.  He has taken the light that we all savor, and put it in paint.  It is a painting that causes us to pause and actually feel the sun on the house; that makes us want to be a part of the scene.  As Ray describes his inspiration for this painting: “Snow fell all day on my father’s 91st birthday celebration on Long Island.  Looking out early the next morning, I remembered vividly the childhood excitement of a snow day so clear, so bright, such intense light!  I took photos from my stepsister’s kitchen, planning to paint a personal connection across time between my father and my childhood self…”

Ground Fog at Dawn, Central Florida Acrylic on canvas 12

“Ground Fog at Dawn, Florida” Acrylic on Canvas, 12×36, Collection of the Artist

Ray Hassard has loved art and drawing since he was a child.  His family supported his passion, and as a boy he would visit the fascinating animation studio of his great-uncle, Bill Sturm.  Hassard attended two years of art school at the Pratt Institute in New York, but found that the museums offered a wealth of the type of education he was seeking.  He has studied with various artists during his career, including David Mueller in Cincinnati, where he learned the classical atelier methods.

Dirt2  “Dirt #2”, Oil on Canvas, 24×48, Collection of the Artist

Today most of Ray’s paintings are of landscapes, though he has done some figurative and still life work.  It is the everyday scenes that inspire him most, scenes that are overlooked or taken as ordinary.  He is able to take these scenes and create paintings that help the viewer see the beauty, the significance of that which is always around us.

Ray’s paintings are done in a variety of media; pastel, oil, acrylic and gouache.  He works both in the studio and en plein air, and participates in plein air competitions throughout the United States, including Plein Air Easton, Cape Ann Plein Air and En Plein Air Texas in San Angelo.  When painting outside, he always starts with a thumbnail sketch to work out the composition and discover possible problem areas.  In the studio he works from photos viewed on the computer, which he views from a distance of 10 feet to minimize the details.

The Gap  “Closing the Gap”, 30×40, Oil on Canvas, Collection of the Artist

Ray is currently working on paintings for a show to open in February at the Richmond Art Museum in Richmond, Indiana.  The title of the show is “Concrete Dreams” and features paintings based on the changes occurring in the inner city.  The show will feature both Hassard and artist Marlene Steele.  Ray’s paintings will focus on “a construction project involving the demolition and replacement of an old automobile viaduct at the edge of the city.  The primary colors and stark shapes of the machines and the constantly changing scene was beyond inspiration for me and became compulsion.”

Guiding the Beam Oil/Canvas 18  “Guiding the Beam”, 18×24, Oil on Canvas, Collection of the Artist

Hassard cites his success on the plein air circuit as a bright spot in his career; he was also asked to be the awards judge for the first Cape Ann Plein Air competition in 2016.

As most artists will tell you, the best words of wisdom that Ray has to offer is to paint.  “Even if it is only 15 minutes a day and feels useless, keep going.”

To see more of Ray Hassard’s work visit http://www.rayhassard.com.   Galleries which represent his work inlcude the Oxford Gallery, Rochester, NY; Patricia Hutton Galleries, Doylestown, PA, and Cincinnati Art Galleries, Cincinnati, OH.

To view more paintings from the 2017 NOAPS Best of America Exhibit, visit http://www.noaps.org/exhibitions.  Also follow us on Facebook and Instagram (Natoilandacrylicsociety).

Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director

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