30 November, 2007

January Gallery Installation - Karlson/Gray

Light in Branches
21" x 13"
Original Pastel
Casey Klahn

Those of you in close proximity to Whidbey Island, Washington, will be able to see an installation of my pastels in January. The newly remodeled Karlson/Gray Gallery has a blurb on it at this
website. The gallery location is the former Gaskill/Olsen in Langley.

28 November, 2007

Sketch Box & Bag

Sketch Box & Bag
Graphite in Moleskine
Casey Klahn

There is much on the horizon for me, but little time for posting. Next month I'll celebrate the 1 year anniversary of The Colorist, and will probably take advantage of this event to reflect on art blogging, and on the state of "colorist art" as a contemporary style. Also, I will be posting soon about a gallery opening in Western Washington, and an interview in an online magazine.

26 November, 2007

Art Link Letter, An Art Bloggger's ViralLink & Viral Tags

The Art Link Letter was originally an idea I had to start a blog that would be just a link cloud of art sites. However, in researching ways to increase my Technorati authority, I came across what may be a path for doing my links program, and for giving a boost to my (and your) blog. The authority of TheColorist has gone from @32 to 21 in the past month, and although 21 is nothing to sneeze at, I for some reason want it to improve. Call me an overachiever wannabe.

Here is the way it would work. If you elect to participate, you simply cut and paste into your posts the "Art Link Letter" that I have created at the bottom of this post. Then, change the name of the host to your own link, which will contain your URL and anchor text (Three words or less, please). Replace a Viral Tag with your link in the same way, and you're in business. When you get a ping somehow that someone has you in their ViraLink, reciprocate by pasting them in your matrix.

You can place this viral link "cloud" in a post, after your footer, or anywhere you like. It is suggested that within posts would create less clutter, and according to the techies increase hits to your blog. This is known as a ViraLink, and the idea is referenced here and here.

It may be effective to just do this once a week, or every few days, if you don't wish to clutter up your blog pages with this "Link Cloud" on every post. Here are the simple rules:
  1. No Porn
  2. Don't change other peoples URLs in the link text
  3. Keep the links to the Arts. I will be culling out ones that I copy from your posts which stray from the subject of art, but I will stay broad.
  4. One link per person
The value of this to our art blogging community will be to increase the links to every blog involved. There are some blogs in our community, mine included, who hold a strict policy regarding whom they link to. Content and quality are the main motives. This is an experiment in increasing my own and your Technorati (and perhaps Google) rank, but I am hoping that the "Art Link Letter" can maintain some of these qualities in the fact that each blogger can edit the content as they wish.

Cut & Paste Below This Line:

Art Link Letter

I removed the link cloud due to the phenomenon of "Link Farming" being a red flag at Google. Although I consider my blogroll to be a targeted link tool, and because it is hand generated, I felt "on-topic" with putting it within the post structure. But, you can't fight city hall.

23 November, 2007

Best Pastel of All Time - Award

Referencing my previous post on the Best Pastel of All Time, you may be interested in seeing my considered and freely given opinion at Pastelsblog.blogspot.

Happy Black Friday

Here is a shout out to all of my people in the retail industry on this Black Friday. I toiled in retail, myself, for something over twenty years and it is a memorable piece of my life's history. Please try to be kind to those clerks and managers who shovel goods during the bust Christmas season. Maybe even thank them if you notice good performance - I always do. And when I receive substandard service? Well, at least at Christmas time I try to be a little more gracious than the rest of the year!

On subject, I am warming up to the very popular blog, Lines and Colors, by Charlie Parker. Early in my blogging I found it, but sort of overlooked it as a drawing or illustration blog. Turns out that I am returning to my own drawing roots as part of my own process, and it also turns out that Parker's blog covers a broader, more eclectic set of art subjects than I originally thought. That's a nice discovery.

Speaking of art topics, the magazine Contemporary Art Gallery (CAGZINE) is a fine read and I recommend it for modern art and artists content. I found it through Giselle Borzov, whose blog Art Now is a regular read of mine. Read this article where Cagzine celebrates it's one year anniversary, which I will also do in a couple of weeks here at The Colorist. Read this article to gain an understanding of their content and direction.

Looking forward at The Colorist, I am about to reveal a new tool that I hope will become a meme for art blogs in the broad community. It will be known as the Art Link Letter, and looks to be a great opportunity for artists to gather blog traffic, and admirers to search a list of sites of interest to the artists linked through the "letter".

22 November, 2007

Turkey Day

This is the old school way of getting a turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!

21 November, 2007

The Rational Versus the Irrational

Superman Comics features the idea of a Bizarro World, where everything is the opposite reality. Sort of a bizarre dimension of opposites. Well, here is my Bizarro World: a blog called Rational Color.

Keep in mind that if The Colorist theory exists as the opposite pole of Rational Color, that makes me the Bizarro side of the equation. Hmm. Feels funny. Me so happy.

18 November, 2007


Pink Forest
7.3" x 5.3"

Casey Klahn

Pinks & Greens
7.8" x 6"
Casey Klahn

Hill with Red Sky
12.5" x 9.5"
Casey Klahn

The Four Seasons, Winter
14” x 10”

Casey Klahn

The color pink is interesting for being really just light red, yet it has it's own name! Do blue and yellow demand equal treatment? Is it fair that light blue is just that, "light blue"?

The web is replete with sites that say things about pink, but I wish to avoid them. Their general bent is to assign meaning to the color, and I prefer to let you make your own associations. And my direction as a "colorist" artist leads me to avoid assigning meaning to any color. I am more interested in how pink interacts with other colors, and what the value ranges do to change these interactions.

The story of these paintings in pinks and greens is that I visualized doing an artwork with these colors, but it took me months of failure to finally get it the way I liked it. Then, what I learned from that first success (entitled "Pinks & Greens," above) enabled me to create more of them with this color composition.

17 November, 2007


I am happy to announce that I will be participating in a landscape exhibit at the Karlson/Gray Gallery in Langley, Washington in January of 2008.

The Karlson/Gray was formerly the Gaskill/Olsen, which enjoys a long and fine reputation in the Seattle & Puget Sound region. A noteworthy element of the Langley location is that it anchors the southern end of Whidbey Island and that area is an artist's colony. Perhaps the biggest in the state.

On a personal note, hanging next to my own work at the Karlson/Gray Gallery will be the oil paintings of Whidbey Island landscapes by Pete Jordan. Pete's work is well-known in our region, and I am having a hard time finding the words to say how fantastic it is. Let's just say incredible and top, top, top drawer. Further, Pete is a friend and mentor of mine since the days when I only dreamed of being a working artist. His advice and encouragement has been a tremendous boost for me, and now he's going to have to suffer hanging with me at his home gallery. I am humbled.

Also, his spouse Joan Govedare is a Raku Potter whose work is featured at the Karlson/Gray, and over the years I have bugged/volunteered with Joannie at the Bellevue Art Fair and other venues. Those were the days when I wondered "how do you break into these art fairs?" Both hers and Pete's art grace our own home, and so I am happy that we'll get to be in a show together. A milestone for me.

Did I mention that you will (probably) have to ride the ferry to get there?

Karlson/Gray, 302 First Street in Langley on Whidbey Island.

15 November, 2007

Genius Widget

Genius cuts two ways, sometimes. I added this widget to my right column:
The Blog Readability Test - What level of education is required to understand your blog?
If you dare to follow the link, you may add the URL of your blog in a window, and a mysterious calculator will score your efforts.

Since it looks like a total gimmick, I decided to try a few other URLs just to see if everyone gets a "genius" score. First, I entered the well-known blog that won best blog in last year's Weblog Awards, just to see if there was a political slant to this thing. In my cunning, I thought that this would show prejudice. That one scored low: High School. Hmmn, I liked this widget.

Then I tested a few of my peers. Undisclosed results showed a range of scores. Alright, my blog scores "genius". On the one hand, give yourself a big pat on the back if you're a regular reader of The Colorist. You read at a genius level. On the other hand, if I were truly a "genius", I would be writing this blog at a Junior High School level, so that I would have more readers.

BTW, I have had the standard set of I.Q. tests, and they are mildly gratifying. My wife is smarter than I, and over the years I have noticed that quite a few of my friends are, too. Lucky me.

14 November, 2007

More Input Requested - (Bump) - Best Pastel Ever?

At the Theater
(also known as Lydia Cassatt Leaning on Her Arms, Seated in a Loge)
Mary Cassatt

The "Greatest Pastel" question has raised a lot of interest, and you all know my own choice has been the Degas painting posted below. At Making a Mark, the subject is being raised again and moderated by Katherine Tyrrell on this post.

Someone at one of the forums that Katherine linked to mentioned the Cassatt work of Lydia Cassatt, and I was amazed at how much alike the contemporary Degas Green Singer work was to this.

La Chanteuse Verte, 1884
23.75 " x 18.25"
The Green Singer
Edgar Degas

Which do you like better? I will offer my own opinion in a future post.

Note: See today's post at Pastel reviewing the Diane Townsend Pastel line.

12 November, 2007


Stumbling upon
an artist that you like is a wonderful thing. I found Rachel Dory of Seattle via the Seattle Art Blog this morning. She has a show currently up at the Gallery 3131.

Her very fresh work floods in a host of thoughts, intersections and associations for me. The
U-Turn, To The Gorge and Back hanging is a narrative of driving out of the city and heading east over the Cascade Mountains and into the climatically different Eastern Washington. "Gorge" refers to the Columbia River's deep cut and is a major landmark of our region. Her urban themes remind me of what Rachel Maxi has done for Seattle urban-themed art.

This theme is reminiscent of David Gutersons's novel
East of the Mountains, which covers the theme of a journey from Seattle to the east. I don't care for Guterson's books, but I like the theme he brought to mind. Western Washington, whose urban anchor is Seattle, is geographically a water-drenched and forested environment that is fundamentally different from east-of-the-mountains Washington. The inland side is substantially more arid, agriculture-centric and rural. Population density, politics, landforms-everything is different.

My own life story is a parallel to this "going east" theme. I was born and raised in the rainy
coastal city of Hoquiam, and now reside in the easternmost part of the state. Extreme rain versus wide-open spaces. Gray versus color, if you will. Growing up in the west, my artistic efforts were centered on the pencil, line and shape. Maturing as an artist, I now use pastels and focus on color.

Bruce Morrow has a classic American road trip theme at the Karlson/Gray, a gallery in which I will be hanging my art soon. I sense a theme here. Progress along a linear feature.

I have always been attracted by the river passage theme, myself. I am visualizing a Hoquiam River theme, but for some reason I am gravitating towards a realist style for that. It would be a traveling from the headwaters of the humble waterway near Mt. Hoquiam to it's mouth and the harbor that it empties into on the Pacific Ocean. The issues involved there are many. But, that's for another post. Will an idea not pinned to a roadway speak to the masses?

Animated panorama of the sight where I painted the Hoquiam Shipyard scene.
Try this one of the rugged coast of the Pacific Ocean.

Hoquiam Shipyard 1
6" x 4.5"
Original Pastel
24 October, 2007
Casey Klahn

11 November, 2007


The Portal
4.75" x 4.5"
Casey Klahn

The story of this graphite work of a tiny outbuilding in North Italy is a dear and personal one. My late father, Kenneth Klahn, fought in a battle here in WWII as a member of the elite 10th Mountain Division. This little building was adjacent to a tram that was installed during the battle, and it served as the temporary mausoleum for dead soldiers of both sides. I visited the site with veterans of the 10th, and snapped a photo of this historic structure that I had seen in the history books all of my life.

In my drawing, the uneven ground of the Apennine Mountains is evident as our vine-bordered pathway leads down and past the evacuation point structure, through the wooded opening beyond, and then upward to the heights of the rock escarpment Americans call Riva Ridge. For the men of the Mountain Division, this was their first battle of the war, and a portal to their experiences in combat. For the wounded and dead, a different kind of portal. Did their souls rise on high from this very spot?

School children from an Italian Hill Town (Gaggio Montano), some wearing pins honoring the American veterans, sing their national anthem and remember WWII.

The heroes of the Tenth Mountain Division on a reunion trip to Italy.

A son (your author) and a daughter of veterans of the battles in North Italy lay a wreath in the waters of Lake Garda to honor the fallen who perished in and around this large Alpine lake.

When I was a younger man, and as a youth, the veteran was a guy who fought in World War II. The reason, of course, is that the generation preceding my own was that generation upon whose shoulders it fell to serve in that great conflagration. Now-a-days, the number of men who have served in the armed forces has dwindled tremendously. Attrited by age, and smaller armies in the post-war era.

Don't think for a moment that these men (yes, and a great number of women who donned the uniform) served so that you would remember them. They served out of an old fashioned thing called obligation. And patriotism. Look it up in the dictionary. It has to do with ideas and values greater than your own self and your self existence. It has to do with love of your family and your neighbor and that includes your whole country of neighbors. The catch phrase was "way of life", and it has more than an arbitrary or abstract meaning.

That selflessness and humility is what stands out for me about my elder veterans. On this Veteran's Day I honor the recent returnees from the world war we are involved in now, and I remember vaguely that I wore the uniform part-time for ten years as a National Guardsman, but mostly I think of my own father's service in Italy in the Second World War.

World War II Memorial in Washington D.C.
Tenth Mountain Division of WWII.
Google Map of the Riva Ridge area. (working on this...)

05 November, 2007

Tower of Babel

For those of you wondering whether my translation widget (thanks, Google) has produced a result, my Stats do show an increase in international "hits". Too soon to claim more page views, and since I am not sure it is trouble free, I won't link it's source, yet. Anyway, it is easy enough to find by searching.

Note: The above flag gifs will animate if you click on the image. Why they are static on my blogger page is a mystery to me.

02 November, 2007

Bloggers of Note - Illustration/Drawing/On-Site

Fans of fantasy illustration and art in general will appreciate that James Gurney has a blog. He is the artist of Dinotopia fame.

His posts are outrageous and funny.

Katherine has made me aware of the SketchCrawl, and I am eager to look at good Moleskine and other sketchbookers that post stuff I like.

Those of you who value the Guerrilla Painter products like I do will be happy to see that a blog has sprung up to cover "from life" art.
Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism