28 June, 2011

Choose Without Knowing Why

Whitetail Heaven
5" x 7"
Pastel & Charcoal
Casey Klahn


An example of intuitive choices is given by this small painting that I did from memory.  We have daily visitations by Whitetail deer  at my house, and so reproducing one on paper doesn't require actually looking at one - memory is good enough.  The trick, for me, is in rendering a four-legged animal because I almost never draw them.  Anyway, this was the result of my memory sketch of the buck.


After this one hung on my studio wall with a piece of tape for about a month, I looked at it and wondered why I had made these linear and color choices.  I realized that there are several layers of observation in this image, none of which I was thinking consciously about when I drew it.


Deer, while considered color blind, don't actually see in black and white, either.  According to the science, they are supposed to see the the ultra-violet, and perhaps also the infra-red spectrum spaces. They have been shown to respond to blue, and possibly yellow.  Why did I choose to bathe this image in blue?  Was I thinking, at some level, about the way deer see?  Consider also the fact that they aren't binocular in the same way that people are. They see outlines, but not much depth.  Movement is the thing they respond to, and they trust less of what they see, but everything that they smell.


Whitetail Heaven shows the vague, broken outline of this buck, who is sniffing the air at dusk and he is in motion.  Weird how this turned out that way.  Strange, in fact.


Maybe I'm making too much of it.  I gotta get out more.

11 comments:

kat said...

I love the vibration of this painting.

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

It was great to see this painting in person earlier this month. It has a great feeling!

Celeste Bergin said...

"I've gotta get out more"...lol

No, Casey, one of the very best things about you is that you analyze and share your thoughts. It would be awful if you started going out more and stopped doing that. (IMHO haha)

This is a fantastic painting. I really should try this memory thing.

Casey Klahn said...

Kat - thank you very much.

Kvan - I did bring it to battleground. You can tell I like this one.

Thank you, Celeste. I will keep thinking.

SamArtDog said...

Every living thing "sees" things differently. Makes ya think...

Wild C said...

Beautiful. Reminds me of where I used to live where we had Cabra Montés visits - big wild goats that look very deer like.
What you are describing is the essence of art-making, no? The unconscious choices we make, the relation at a very deep level of different kinds of knowledge we have combined with emotion and intuition. I'm tempted to think that painting from memory may allow for more of this, but then I think of the Impressionists and I realise it's possible to do the same thing painting from life...

L.W.Roth, said...

Hello Casey, Your work caught my eye on Bill Cook's blog. I immediately liked the speed and motion that's in this painting as well as the layered colors. Your slide show is great too. It looks like a lot of fun goes on in that wonderful studio of yours as well as around your household of art lovers; I'd never leave.

Casey Klahn said...

I am thinking, Sam. Too much?

Casey Klahn said...

Cherry Jeff - well put comments. Thank you for this.

Casey Klahn said...

I am very happy to have your comment, Linda.

Jala Pfaff said...

It has a magic.

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