28 February, 2008

Behind the Pastel Curtain, Monty

This Week: Give it Up for the Grays

At the Pastel blog, I am giving up my secrets on pastel work faster than Mata Hari's dinner date. Hurry over and see my new series, called "Five for Fridays", before I get off of my meds and realize what I've done.

27 February, 2008

This Day in History Blog

Got History?

Try this Portugese Blogger's daily historical happenings.

26 February, 2008

Which Artist Lives Here? Abstraction vs. Realism vs. Process - A Tag Team Battle - Bump!

Ponte Vecchio - Old City
@7" x 6"
Graphite on 70gr. Sketch Paper
Casey Klahn

"Best Of" post with a little bit of navel gazing.

Quote from my post
I have found that the requirements of good abstract work are more taxing on my brain, and simple compositional mistakes have a greater impact.

22 February, 2008

Print Your Own Pollock

Influenced Pollock

Don't try it at home this way, folks. I finally figured out how to save my own action painting and post it, here. But, since I am under narcotic influence after my operation, I have to let this one slip away as "not my masterpiece". Of course, if I were one of The Beatles, there'd be an excuse to use it as is...

I'll tell you how I did this in a minute, but first a little back story. One of my die-hard fans recently e-mailed me saying that something in my blog was causing a page or browser to open involuntarily. In checking my Stats, it seems like the one old page of mine that is getting a large amount of unexplained hits is a Pollock page.

Now, I'll admit, is was a great set of posts and a well written series that I did on Jackson Pollock. It had a nifty collection of links, and of course a jpeg or two of his amazing art. But, since I have ruled out my third party widgets as possibly causing unwanted page loads, I am wondering if the Pollocks are over-loading you, somehow. In further study, I see that the visitor hits are commiserate with the pageloads for those heavy Pollock days, so I still feel a mystery.

Well, one way to go will be to track this happy Pollock post and see how it does. Now, how to make an action painting. Find "How To make Your Own Action Painting" by Milos Manetas. You'll be in over your head before your know it. He doesn't offer an apparent way to save your product, but in my genius I discovered that I could use this funny button on my keyboard called PrtSc, but what then? Then I took meself to me desktop, opened up a new folder and then a new document and pasted that bad boy there.

My document allows an instant upload as a PDF, don't you know? Take the PDF over to your Photoshop and there you'll be able to play some more. I suggest you get the colors your own way, but that's just me. Have fun!

21 February, 2008


Thanks for reading, and I'll be in bed for a few days. I'll try to post these "Best Of" reviews, and at Pastel there is a new post up about Schmincke. I hope to add Five for Friday Tips there by Friday, which is already written.

The op went fine and I'll be on narcotic pain meds for who knows how long.

19 February, 2008

New School Color Philosophy

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

Click This Image To Read The Text

Want to read more on New School Color as an art philosophy? Please consider the following posts:

Atonement & Automatism
Rough Drafts
Intuitive Choice in Art

18 February, 2008

Riva Ridge

La Ca, Italy
5.25" x 5.25"
Casey Klahn

The Portal
4.75" x 4.5"
Scene at "Riva Ridge," Italy
Casey Klahn

It was sixty-three years ago tonight, in Italy, that my late father and his cohorts in the Tenth Mountain Division fought at Riva Ridge. It was a seminal battle that became an epic story and started the landslide that undid the Nazi German forces in Northern Italy.

Truly a unique chapter in military history, and one that I heard first hand from my dad.

NBC Report 2006
NPR Report, 2007

Van Gogh Bump

Vincent & Moi

Since I'll be out-of-action for a few days or more, for an out-patient operation, please enjoy the following "Best Of" posts from The Colorist:

Van Gogh Posts
Van Gogh Project
My Artworks

17 February, 2008

Studio Update

And now, time for an pictorial update in the studio.

Organization Low

I bought a new easel that is a table top style with hinges (not shown). It will be used for large, full sheet work, believe it or not. The studio trailer ceiling is too low for extending the masts on my regular easels! I may mount the new easel on the wall, or I may design a way to mount it on my largest easel, which is still in the house.
The insulation you see is an area waiting for a sheet of drywall so that I will have a white wall to show framed art against.

Snow Deep

Although we are plowed out, the thaw will likely wash out our gravel road. The travails of winter in the north country! New snow fell last night, which I hope will slow the thaw a little.
This photo looks north, where you can almost see Canada (with a little imagination).

Creative Spark High

With organizational hassles, weather worries and personal challenges (I have a day operation on Wednesday the 20th) it is a challenge to get to the studio. Still, I seem to be out there daily!
January and February have been great months for the Studio Klahn as regards patronage, and I am thankful for that.
Time for another pain pill, now. The op will put me out-of-action for a few weeks, possibly. But, I hope to be able to stand at the easel, at least.

Administrative Note: Either there is an enormous increase in interest in J Polock (intentional misspelling) in blog-land, or my post of JP references, dated 4 may, 2007 is involuntarily loading on my readers' browsers. Is this happening to you? I'll admit, it was a very well written and informative post, but I wonder if a something is wrong.

14 February, 2008

Wolf Kahn Project Number #3

After Wolf Kahn, #3
9" x 8.25"
Pastel on Rives BFK Heavyweight
Casey Klahn

Scanned and pieced together in Photoshop.

13 February, 2008

Wolf Kahn Project 2

After Wolf Kahn, #2
6" x 9.5"
Pastel on Paper
Casey Klahn

The Wolf Kahn Project will be posting here at The Colorist instead of at Pastel from now on. My intention has been to keep the general art and process stuff here, and my pastel art (especially "off target" art) over at Pastel.

Also, I am beginning another new topic thread at Pastel, which will be tips & techniques oriented. It will be a toe-dip into teaching basic pastel techniques. My e-mails and comments there have indicated the demand, and so I am going in that direction.

A couple of things that I am discovering about my WK Project are:
  • Since my paintings already explore WK's color directions, and since I wish to scan these project drawings, I will be focusing my study on techniques of application, subjects and linear/mass compositional aspects and not much on color.
  • The current study is focused on mark making, but as I do this I am made more aware of his broad compositional inquiries.
  • Because subject is a big element, I may be moving very quickly to my own original subjects. Those will have objective titles, instead of "After WK," etc.

11 February, 2008

New Wolf Kahn Project

Even though I don't need another project at my blogs, I couldn't resist beginning my new Wolf Kahn project at Pastelsblog. Let's just say the time is ripe. See the project at this post.

After Wolf Kahn, #1

08 February, 2008

Jafabrit Wins Award

The Art Medal

It gives me great pleasure to inaugurate The Art Medal and award the first one to Jafabrit, CorrineBayraktaroglu, of Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Her online portfolio is here. She originates from England and had an artist's upbringing in that her mother was an artist. She came seriously to art making after the age of 40, and the maturity of her art shows because of this.

Our decorated artist is known for eclectic art, art philanthropy and is a community organizer for art concerns. If you reside in the Yellow Springs area, you may discover one of her creations in the nook of a tree or tucked beside the mailbox.

Her freedom of spirit is expressed in an art that approaches the disturbing, but never crosses that threshold. Instead, you are mesmerized and need to see more. No respecter of the figure, face or creature, she nonetheless offers these elements of her art as emblems of feelings. Her idea is to eschew medium as too limiting, but instead builds her artworks around subjects. She says,
"This allows form to be dictated by the content and not restricted by discipline."

Corrine's courage in making, presenting and giving her art to the world has distinguished her, and it is a pleasure to recognize her for these reasons.

The citation follows:

Please take the time to vote the poll in my right hand column if you want to help name this new medal.

Art Medal

Introducing a new meme that I hope will cheer the blogging artist world this late winter of '08. Drum roll, please. I have coined a medal in my virtual foundry which will be awarded judiciously to artists who example artistic merit. The intention is to award one a month, at first, but to eventually reduce the frequency to one a quarter. The commendation is written in the quote below, and the merits are described separately.

The object is to commend artistic merit, pure and simple. This medal will be awarded by myself, by virtue of my authority as a rank & file fine artist with Photoshop and a PC. In addition, recipients of the medal may award other artists the medal, by virtue of their own authority as awardees.

What begins as a simple blog froo-fru may eventually have greater merit if the Order of Awardees justify well their choices, and limit the frequency of awards. There is an unmistakable authority in peerage, and an inherent virtue in selectivity and prudent judgment. The scope of those eligible will be limited to the fine artists (those involved in painting, drawing, pottery, sculpture) if for no other reason than that there are more awards these days for the other arts than there are for the old school disciplines.

One aspect of this meme is that there will be no link back to myself or this blog beyond one awarding. In other words: I (Blogger A) award the medal to blogger B. Blogger B will have to explain what they have received by referring to the awarding authority and will link Blogger A. But, when Blogger B decides (if they do) to award the medal to a Blogger C, there need be no reference back to Blogger A. The reason is that it is not about Blogger A. It is to illuminate the recipient of the award!

The medal needs a name. I have posted a poll so that any who wish may participate in naming this award. If you don't like any of these, write me a comment.

The following great virtues have been displayed by the receiver of the medal:
Artistic consistency
Unity of thought
Artistic courage

The following citation may accompany the award:
The recipient of this medal has displayed the finest of virtues in the role of presenting his (insert "her" when necessary) fine art. He has exampled the values of courage, creativity and expression.

This artist's work has inspired the public, and has brought human culture forward. His art has earned the praise of this authority and is hereby recognized.

Examples of art medals
are as follows:
Wikipedia on Artist's Medals
American Art-Union Medal (America's first medal series struck in the US)
Gold Medal, American Academy of Arts and Letters
French Legion of Honor (example)
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Medal of Honor

The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (SMFA) Medal Award
California Art Club Gold Medal
Pastelsblog Best Pastel of All Time
Others include The American Artist's Professional League Medal of Honor and The Allied Artist's of America Silver Medal of Honor.
Morse Medalled
Mary Cassatt Cited
Knip the Kitty Artist
Degas the Master
Decorated Art Heroes:
Artist Samuel Morse (of code fame)
Mary Cassatt
Henrietta Ronner-Knip
Edgar Degas

Self-Decorated Artists:

Future of the award:

Potential directions for the award may be to convene a board of awardees (Order of) to create nominees for the award. Other changes may occur so that, if this award has legs, it may need to be "brought along". I may develop a list of awardees, but will post it on a separate web page.

If the image of the award seems gauche, a redesign may be offered.

Various benefits and awards may accompany this award if it gains cache, and other evolvement may occur with time.

Now that the stage has been set, please stay tuned for the first awardee, who has already been selected.

07 February, 2008


Playing by the mail box - 1.5 miles up the road.

The Klahn's Farm in Winter

Will it ever end? Not according to Punxsutawney Phil, who calls for more of the same. But then again, I could've guessed that one for you.

Lorie stayed in town last night, given the predicted blizzard that came overnight. She gets some work days that way, and relief from the constant stress of wondering if she'll get out. I wonder if this is the way the islanders feel when they are stuck?

06 February, 2008

New School Color - Turquoise Forest

Turquoise Forest
14" x 10"
Soft Pastel
Casey Klahn

I am starting to really get into these turquoise images. More to come...

BTW, we are so snowed in it's ridiculous. My poor wife has been stuck a number of times, and had to ski the mile out to her Chevy Blazer this A.M. The neighbor lady was getting her kids home early from school and got into a white-out going through a "cut" of snow we call a tunnel. She put her hand out the window to touch the snow wall and kept on going at ramming speed!

05 February, 2008

The International Pastel Tour & Pastlsblog Update

Over at Pastel, also known as pastelsblog.blogspot, we have been touring international pastelists, and we are following the pathway that Santa Claus might take if he were visiting bloggers that use pastels. So far, five nations with a pastelist have been highlighted: Scotland, England, Sweden, Poland and Romania. We will exhaust Europe first, and then jump continents.

This is not the easiest task, BTW! I haven't decided if the difficulty lies more with search engine limits, or lack of pastel bloggers overseas, or what. If you know of someone who is a pastel artist with some web presence, please let me know. I will be posting on occasion at Pastel, and using the hypothetical Santa-path as a means of organizing my tour. Anyway, I told my children that he follows this path!

Other series' that we have been following at Pastel include: Interviews and Brand Reviews.

04 February, 2008

Snowed In - Winter Wonderland at the Klahn Studio

The Well-Known Barn

The Cedar Shed

North Yard

House Snowed-In
Photos Lorie Klahn

If I hadn't gone to the grocery store the day before yesterday, I would not have known how really snowed in we are here in Lincoln County. The east-west legs of most roads are so wind-blown with snow drifts that they are just barely plowed. The experience is one of fitting your truck through a tunnel ( or scoop) with head high side walls.

As a matter of fact, as my wife drives away this AM, I wonder if she'll get out, because it doesn't take a lot of drifting to close our road. And four wheel drive doesn't do much against high-center drifting!

My hope is to get some studio time in the pre-dawn hours tomorrow, and then to get my kids off to school. But, the (evil) weatherman is calling for more snow!

On the subject of studio, let me spot light an enjoyable blog by an artist in Iowa, Bruce Morrison, who is remodeling an outbuilding into a great studio space. Enjoy.

Also of great interest is the retreat that artist Tracy Helgeson is making to the famous Vermont Studio Center. I am thinking of how she has determined to open up a new direction with her art, and is doing it the right way by taking a complete retreat from all distractions and giving it the college try. I can't wait to see the results.

I tried to push a change in my own studio work, and fell flat on my face because of distraction. I am also planning to return to the figure, as Tracy is doing. But, I see the challenge ahead for me if I do!

02 February, 2008

Composition Posts - Abstract Saturday

Abstract Reds Over Blues
20" x 12"
Original Pastel
Casey Klahn
Collection the Artist

For those few of you who may have missed them, the posts at Vivien Blackburn's and Katherine Tyrrell's blogs regarding composition are a mini education on the subject. I thought I would add my own example to the fray, since these posts made me reflect on what compositional elements I use.

Approximated spiral (yellow), thirds (pink) and Golden Rectangle (parameters)

My observations on the abstract above are that I created this artwork at a workshop on abstract pastels, and had a decidedly empty mind about color choice and composition at the time. Old habits are ingrained in an artist's mind and hands, though. This one turns out to be an approximate of the Golden Rectangle, and the Golden Spiral can be well placed with it's starting point in the lower left hand portion.

Additionally, I notice that the high key red gestures pull the eye down from that spiral's center and into the high contrast zone of the light blue. Mitigating that is the weight of the dark zones above, creating balance. There are multiples of thirds, if you will. High key red, "Browned up" reds with blue and gray highlights, and the high key blue "frame" create thirds of hue, and thirds of value. There are gestural areas too, if you divide the area into thirds vertically, and also horizontally.

Who ever said that abstraction was chaos? It is anything but.

I want to draw your attention again to a nifty site where you may figure the sides of your Golden Rectangle instantly. Very useful: http://www.mathopenref.com/rectanglegolden.html

I checked the image in Photoshop. If the short side measured 7.2", then the long would require 11.65" to be the Golden Rectangle. It is about that ratio, in fact. I cropped it, arbitrarily, at 10.97", but if one takes the original (Tiff format photo) it may have easily been cropped at 11.6". It helps, when making these abstracts with an empty mind, to have a calibrated eyeball.

If you need the Fibonacci Spiral, here it is.

An essay on my Abstract Reds Over Blues work.

01 February, 2008

Annotated Violet Drum

Since my comments are multiplying about this particular work (and it has sold to a patron who owns about a half dozen of my artworks), I re-post it here with a "reveal" of the technique used in achieving the vibrant electric blue of the sky. Thanks, Katherine, for asking the question regarding how I did this sky.

As noted in the image posted above, the ground is toned with a deep violet. I used the side of a Kitty Wallis hand made pastel and brushed the color in with Turpenoid and an inexpensive brush. The ultramarine is scumbled on with the side of a middle value Diane Townsend Terrage pastel, plus some other lighter colors of ultramarine or violet.

The subject is a bunkhouse at the Heins' farm, where I have picked many of my scenes from this past year. Envision plenty of sunlight, a picture-perfect farm placed in a shallow, wide draw manicured by cultivation. Their farmstead is so neatly arranged, I once kidded them that I have to add some junk to make it look realistic.
Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism