27 December, 2006

Colorist Art

Blue Branches on Red
Casey Klahn
14" x 10"
Original Pastel

Back to this thing of finding red in the forest. I found that an intense blue, while not the full compliment to red, did "pop" out. Cool in front of warm, intense on top of neutral, splits of compliments that are sort of "triangulated". What I mean is, a red that leans toward yellow, and a blue that leans toward red, are a "split compliment".

How do you make a landscape out of just primary and secondary colors only? Will it turn out upsetting, or harmonious? What about perspective? can I eschew perspectival elements, even contradict them, and still render a believable landscape?

The Fauvists assigned "wrong" colors to local symbols. I want to import meaning and order into symbols (trees, ground, forest, sky), but be free to choose colors for their own sake. "Local" color, where trees are green, and ground is brown, is helpful in illustration, but limiting in the vocabulary of the artist.

I especially like what Wolf Kahn said about art: "the role of information in art is limited".

Casey Klahn


Anonymous said...

I like this painting very much and can see that it works really well with the 'alternative' colour use.

I find it very hard to shake off traditional teachings and self-inflicted 'must do's'!!! But as I try to develop further I find myself drawn more and more to abstraction and less to realism.

Now when I look at a superb photo-realistic painting what pops into my mind is "Yes, it is very good but what was the point?"

Its taken me 7 years to even start to think in those terms and goodness only knows where such thinking will take me! If at all.

Love your blog.

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks, Lesly. Compliments from other artists are very gratifying.
I am a huge fan of realist work, and do some in my studio, as well. I think at least a nominal skill in drawing is essential to every artist.
I feel that learning the essentials: composition, line, form, etc., are foundational. Then stray away at will, using intuition guided by ingrained "formal" habits.

Philip said...

I think the distinction between abstract and realism is often very blurred. For example, the sea and the sky, in my opinion, are both totally abstract. Look at anything very close up (a leaf for example) and it becomes very abstract - especially when taken out of context.

You might like to read an extract from an interview with Jackson Pollock (back in 1957!)that I recently included in my blog. I always find this helpful in explaining some of the drivers behind abstract work.

Casey Klahn said...

Thank you for posting this comment, and all the way from Spain!
The interview with Pollock is very well written. I am becoming very aware of the power that the New York Abstract Expressionists had available to them by being able to write about their own art.
I just left a post at Lesly's blog about abstraction that I have done, and the great joy that it has brought me.
My work is, of course, in the field of realism. But, I incorporate some "abstracted" aspects in them, for the purpose of pulling the color composition forward.
Soon, I will probably either post or link to a new blog about my more narrative or illustrative realist works.
Don't you hate it, though, when you do a completely abstract work, and someone comes along and says, "Yes! I see a tree in this work! Look, there's a cat!"?

Martha Marshall said...

Yes, I've gotten comments like that frequently. One dear friend of mine makes it a regular habit, so I just let her have her "visions."

I love this piece, Casey. Saw your comment on Lesley's blog. Now I'm going to check out what I've been missing!

Happy New Year.

Philip said...

To be honest I have got used to people seeing things in my work that I never intended! Someone recently saw Queen Victoria and some angels in a large abstract painting I did for our lounge! That's the fun of abstract art though as it works on so many different levels.

I am all for making art 'participative'and less stuffy!

Casey Klahn said...

Point taken. I don't want to lose track of my "prime directive" here, which is to be participative. No "artspeak", as I have said.
I think that for a moment there, I had placed myself back in an abstract workshop, and I found these reactions among my fellow art students to be missing the point.
But, artists do talk amongst themselves, and it is probably a peek behind the curtain for patrons to see the ways that we think.

Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism