22 February, 2011

Write This Down And Put It In Italics


Aperture Bright
11" x 14"
Charcoal & Pastel
Casey Klahn






Wolf Kahn:


I’m not so involved in description because I think that the greatest sin an artist can be accused of is telling people things that they already know. And you can write that down and put it in italics. Our aim as artists is to use ourselves as agents for expanding possibilities; and if you’re just doing something that’s conventional and everyday, you’re not doing it right. Of course, we constantly struggle against our own conventions because that’s one of our worst difficulties—trying to avoid doing something that we already know how to do.


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38 comments:

SamArtDog said...

You often use these pale blue-violets and greens to your advantage and always with impact. Very tasty.

When we were teenagers, avoiding convention was crucial. What happened?

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks for reading, Sam. Maybe we were inventing ourselves back when we were teens.

Sonya Johnson said...

Great quote there by Mr. Kahn. And true, especially in regards to landscapes - less is more. When a piece of art is distilled down to its essence, the artist has now engaged the viewer in the process.

I constantly wrestle with this "detail" issue in my work, although it is getting easier [I say this having just painted a detailed-out still life...].

Love the painting, btw - perfect example of what we are talking about.

Mindful Drawing said...

Beautiful painting but I am not so sure I fully agree with Wolf Kahn's thoughts. Why would it be the greatest sin of an artist to tell people things they already know?
How much do we know? How often do we really mindfully look around us and see the beauty of ordinary things?
I certainly not avoid doing things I already know how to do, because every time I paint a tulip (or whatever) it is a whole new experience. Who said you never sit near the same river because the water flows and flows? (I can't remember, any help?)
I think artist often show things we already know but fail to 'see' as new, as ordinary, common or real.
I agree we need to expand our possibilities, but that can be directed two ways: via new horizons and in depth exploring (mindfully) the horizons we think we know but fail to 'see'.
Hope this makes sense.
Paula

Mary Zeran said...

Casey, I love your work. Tasty is a descriptive word that I had forgotten but SamArtDog is right. Your work is tasty.
That said... The quotes and links stick with me in a way that is indescribable. Thank you again!

B Boylan said...

Casey, I am so at fault for doing what WK states. I will have to place this quote on my easel for constant reminding, for a tatooed forehead wouldn't go over well with my husband. LOL!

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Lovely composition and beautiful, sensitive markmaking. I need to take a walk into that warm light.

Note to self...suggest and don't overstate....something I'm trying to work on. Thank you for the reminder.

loriann said...

Beautiful color harmony! I love the WK quote and resonate with it 100%. What's the point in being redundant when you instead can show beauty and feeling? What we know is "stuff"and what we crave is depth of feeling, belief that life is more. Toast to you my colorist friend.

Cindy Michaud said...

Yes, it is the wise individual who is confident enough not to have to state the obvious....wish i could be wiser: with words as well as in works. thanks for the nudge.

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Writing and underlining. And thinking, thinking, thinking.

Eden Compton said...

Great quote Casey! Will keep it in my sketchbook in italics. Love the colors in this pastel as well - beautiful!

Casey Klahn said...

I wrote it down in my new (provisional) studio journal. I'm not adept at handwriting italics, Eden, so I underlined the emphatic part.

Casey Klahn said...

Kvan, you are an artist who I think is on a growth path second to none. Thanks for reading here.

Casey Klahn said...

Cindy - perhaps you are what you wish. Wise. I admire your path.

Casey Klahn said...

Loriann - thanks for the kind comments. I feel that WK's words are hard, but essential. They resonate with me, too.

Casey Klahn said...

Lisa - I am very happy you read and comment. Thanks for the kind comments.

Casey Klahn said...

Brenda - maybe in Fiji they will accept a tattooed forehead. But, not in SW Washington. I know.

Casey Klahn said...

Mary - thanks for looking and reading closely.

Casey Klahn said...

Paula, I struggle with WK as much as any. But, after a while of reading and seeing what he does, I begin to see what he means.

I liked a story he told about outdoor painting in Venice. he was "burdened with his own conventions" and, of course, the well over-baked scenery of Venice itself!

Just that description alone helped me to see that he isn't a superhuman artist, but a guy struggling with making new things. Only, he wants each step up to the easel to be new. That's hard.

Casey Klahn said...

Thank you for saying these things, Sonya. After one fills-up the painting, how does he then go about emptying it out? That's what I ask myself, anyway.

Maggie Latham said...

Casey, Your painting and the words of Khan have given me a slap on the back to day! I have been contemplating lately how to translate some of my recent graphite and water landscape ‘sketches’ into paintings…and then your wonderful limited palette painting popped up on my screen to inspire me and spur me on… …..So, I guess I need to take out even more detail, and go for colour harmony, mood and try to keep the essence and mood of my initial wash sketch. Tall order, I think!!
How to throw off convention? My take on it is that it’s a bit like always trying to clear your mind before paintings…and a lot to do with connecting to your creative source.

Jala Pfaff said...

Stunning. I really love it (the painting, although the quote is good too).
I'm curious--how long on average do you think it takes you to paint a pastel like this?

Casey Klahn said...

Hi, Maggie! It's kind of you to look at my work. I'd say your theories are good. I know your work inspires me.

I have been basing my works lately on a charcoal sketch directly on the board. Often, it shows through.

Casey Klahn said...

Hi, Jala. Since you are an artist, I'll give the better answer, instead of the "pat" one for this question.

Of course you know the idea takes forever - lots of observation and thinking. That's in one's hip pocket, so to speak.

This one is re-claimed paper, with a lot of color showing through from the rejected work. So, add the time of one failed work.

The time involved now depends on how the pastel goes on. If I'm doing well, everything goes fast, and in the zone of an hour or two. One loses track, but it is close to that.

Without breaks, I'd say an hour or two. There are no details, and everything is gestural. The most time consuming event is looking at the work between applications, and deciding which color to use next.

Also, on La Carte, one waits about 10-20 seconds after spraying a fixative layer.

Kim said...

Casey - feel it down in my soul. One of your most moving pieces yet. Beautiful.

Jim Serrett said...

Wonderful work, love the subtlety and suggestion.
Kahns mind is as unique as his work.
I think it is all about seeing as a artist, with a artists mind and eye.

Celeste Bergin said...

I LOVE this painting..It's just gorgeous. I can see why your work is so popular, it doesn't "hit people over the head"...au contraire! Your work allows the viewer an opportunity to draw many of our own conclusions. Many years ago I was fascinated by photo realism. Now when I see it, it so totally leaves me cold...now I love to look at the stroke and the emotion. The mark is "human" -- photo real is....a machine. :)

One Step Away said...

Like the painting and the quote. Feel a bit of Hans Hoffman space in this.

Dan Kent said...

I love the silver and gold spirit of this one! And HERE HERE for WK! Love that quote! To me it's saying in part, if you want to say it exactly as everyone sees it, use a camera.

Adam Cope said...

So I imagine Wolf Kahn wouldn't be a fan of many of the 'painting a day' blogs then?

Degas said pretty much the same thing too.

nice pastel :-)

Casey Klahn said...

Hey, Adam. If Degas said it, I am twice as happy. Yes. the daily paintings can become convention-bound.

Casey Klahn said...

Thank you very much, Dan. I see the WK thing as his own closed universe. How will he break his own conventions is what he asks.

He does make a great argument for avoiding description.

Casey Klahn said...

Hi, Steve. I appreciate your view - the sky exerts weight, and is only a sliver of space. Directional lines travel downward.

Casey Klahn said...

Thank you, Celeste!! Glad you respond to this one. That reminds me of the way a writer crafts a short story - the reader fills in. Cool.

Casey Klahn said...

Jim - I am happy you read and thank you. Kahn is a real intellectual, and yet his art has much beauty. It's powerful.

Casey Klahn said...

Hi, Kim. High praise, and I am very pleased you read here.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

This is wonderful. Great color harmony and design.

Casey Klahn said...

Thank you, Mary!

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