29 March, 2008

Sketch & Bio

Distant Ridge Sketch
6" x 7"
Pastel on Sketch Paper
Casey Klahn

It has been mentioned that I should differentiate myself from the artist Wolf Kahn, given that I'm doing a Wolf Kahn Project, the similarity of my subjects and style to his, the fact that Europeans may not know this otherwise famous American artist, and the lack of an "l" in his last name.

This post will cover my short biography. The next post will describe Wolf Kahn, the famous American artist, and also will provide a brief on the motivation for this project.

This is another example of the requirements of the artist business, where I should have a bio
of myself ready at a moment's notice. I am up to speed on the resume, but I haven't drilled out the short bio, yet. Always something, huh?

My name is Kenneth C. Klahn. The nickname, Casey, is a play on my initials.

Max Klahn,
my grandfather, immigrated from Germany around the turn of the 20th Century and pioneered on the very, very rugged and extreme northwest corner of the USA. I was born in 1958 and grew up in the hardscrabble logging town of Hoquiam, Washington, which is known mostly for logging. From the age of four until I graduated high school at age seventeen, I drew in excess of 100,000 drawings. Mostly the figure.

I did complete two of three large correspondence binders from the
Norman Rockwell Famous Artist's School Course for Talented Young People when I was not quite a teenager. I co-founded a "Master's" art class for senior high schoolers, cartooned for and co-edited our award winning HS newspaper. Otherwise, I am a self taught artist, and began the fine art profession about ten years ago.

A few other interesting things about me include that I am married to Lorie Teel Klahn, who is a Nurse Practitioner, and we have two young children. We own a small farm in eastern Washington, but don't actively farm.

My work life before fine art included specialty retail sales work at REI, mountain guiding on Mount Rainier, and ten years in the Army National Guard where I was a Captain of Infantry. I have done a modest amount of international travel, and hold a Bachelor's degree in the Bible. I served as a short-term missionary in the deep jungles of Costa Rica, affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.

Famous Artists School

26 March, 2008

Picabia @ Pollocksthebollocks

In His Studio

The buzz today is over at Pollocksthebollock's, where you can read a very well written post about artist Francis Picabia (1879 - 1953). The courage of this French artist is evident in that he gave up an established gallery-artist reputation to explore the cutting edge. And then he just kept exploring.

Feeling stale? Think about Picabia.

Enough inspiration there to rev me up for the rest of the month! I think I'll put a picture of the great artist in my studio for a while.

Another blog about the artist.
Official Picabia website.

Self-Portrait, 1923
25 x 21 cm, ink on paper
Francis Picabia

25 March, 2008

WK Project "en Plein Air"

Unrecorded But Finished Art

The Wolf Kahn Project continues with my own subjects drawn and painted en plein air. Before, I was copying directly from the master, but now want to build my own library of content. Dovetailing with the WK Project is my Plein Air Project at Pastel, pastelsblog.blogspot.

WK Project Examples

The Wolf Kahn Project has been my attempt to learn, or perhaps re-learn, the free and loose drawing skills that I value. What I mean to say is that I had practiced abstracted figurative drawing for many years, and only put my focus on the landscape in recent years. WK is adept at manipulating nature to fit the needs of the picture plane, and I want to grow in that direction.

While I still want to remain a studio artist, there is the need to get out and see nature. If for no other reason than to add to my catalog of objects for my New School Color works. More buildings, more trees, more landforms are what I need.

Admin Notes:

If you follow my studio progress, you'll note that the wood paneling still adorns my walls, and one wall even has insulation peeking through. With my kids home from school with the sniffles, and my own convalescence from an operation, little remodeling has been accomplished! But, the studio is gradually coming together, which I'm happy about.

The same set of stresses has kept these new artworks from getting official photos taken. That will happen soon, but I add these candids for their newsworthiness.

24 March, 2008

Art Bump

Thanks to colored pencil rock star Nicole Caulfield for the widget idea that is playing on the right hand column. If you want the full-on Pollock DIY website, go here.

Here comes an old favorite post of mine:

Process Sketch - Italy

Bell Tower Process Sketch
Casey Klahn

Since I missed the Wolf Kahn pastel workshop in Manhattan, I decided to "channel" him through this sketch. He makes these squiggly lines with unpredictable colors, you see. The end result, though, is a rather built up set of layers, and an expressionist landscape that pleases the eye.

In fact, I have never done one like this, and when I finished it, I said: "How did I do that? It looks like a Wolf Kahn!" I guess it goes to the "seeing" operation. If you look hard enough, and long enough at art that you like, it will find its way down your arm and out your hand, eventually.

I couldn't be happier.

Another factor is the sketch paper. I'm used to working on (expensive) Wallis Museum stock, or Sennelier La Carte, both of which are sanded heavy stock. The regular laid paper allows the sketchy look.

The big difference between a WK and my own pastels (besides about $2,000) is that he is a little more interested in the scene, or nature, than I. He uses pastels as a drawing tool, and I make a finished painting. Indeed, I visualize WK's Oil Paintings when I make my Colorist American Landscapes.

I wrote somewhere in a comment (probably Tracy Helgeson's blog) that I made the effort to go see Kahn's art at the Ameringer-Yohe in New York, while I was in transit to Italy last summer.

I was rewarded with a ring bound catalog of their last Wolf Kahn pastel show. And, I had to suffer through the assistant (not the main staff person, who was top notch) describing the artist's layer build-up as probably done in oil pastel. (steam coming from my ears, here)

Back to my drawing. I also played a lot with the colors, by building up as many layers as the cheap paper would take. I was thinking of van Gogh's Auvers church, and looking for a complex of colors for the main building and tower. I was thinking of his letter where he describes the pink road in his painting.

Postscript: Thanks Robyn Sinclair for the photo reference for the Italy sketch.

21 March, 2008

Good Friday

Christ at the Column, c. 1607

Descent from the Cross, c. 1603

Deposition, 1925
Ludvig Karsten (1876-1926)

Il trasporto di Cristo al sepolcro
Antonio Ciseri (1821-1891)


Wikipedia on the "Descent from the Cross" theme in art.

20 March, 2008

Spring Drawings

Behind the Garage
Graphite on Sketch Paper
7" x 8.5"
Casey Klahn

The Greenhouse in Snow
Graphite on Sketch Paper
5" x 7.25'
Casey Klahn

New Drawings. I'll have some paintings photographed to post for the near term soon.

18 March, 2008

Of Interest to Artists

Artist's content hasn't been a priority subject here at The Colorist since its inception over a year ago. Some may find that hard to believe, since there is so much ART content, here. What I mean is that I haven't directly gone after an audience of readers who are artists. But, guess what? They're here in numbers too many to ignore!

It is my opinion that patrons of art don't thrill to see the machinations and intricacies of the art making life. Ever watched sausage being made?

But, in an effort to please the base, I am finally starting a link roll that will be titled: "Of Interest to Artists". The direction of The Colorist is solidly embedded and a little art business bone won't hurt. These links aren't new to many of you, but I use them and new artists in blogging will want to check them out.

Empty Easel
Wet Canvas
The Painter's Keys

BTW, I already have a blogroll that is "About Art", which list web sites that take a third person view of art news and art subjects.

Shelley's Art History Blog
Modern Art Notes

The Intrepid Art Collector
Art News Blog
Art Business

While we're on the subject of art business, then, I want to share the following documents with you. They are my One Sheet, which has been suggested is a good option for the artist in today's information-overload society (thanks, Alyson). The object is to get your blurb out there quickly with an image, contact info, brief resume and statement.

One Sheet 1.0 (click on to read)

One Sheet 2.0 (click on to read)

Here are my two revise proofs. I had my awesome-businesswoman spouse helping me with this last night. I gathered from her that the best goal is to stand out in a unique enough manner that the page will actually get read. I see that I need to punch the award profile forward some more.

This One Sheet would have come in handy yesterday morning, when I needed to respond to a patron's e-mail inquiry, and had the need for a really mild "horn-toot" in order to support the patron's decision. Instead of inserting a gratuitous "brag" in the e-mail, I could have simply attached this One Sheet!

Your input, please. Which is best? Other details?

17 March, 2008

In The Studio

As always, if you're here to see my artwork, click the My Artworks label in the right hand column.

Wall Easel in Action

Bald Ridge, Heath and Hut
Casey Klahn
Details To Be Posted

Bald Ridge, Heath and Snow
Casey Klahn
Details Later

Back in the studio for me! Mornings continue to be my personal time, when I can be up @ 4 AM (Oh-dark hundred, as we used to say) and making art.

Here are some images that I have been working on, and I may take some of them back down after I get the good camera photos.

The first photo shows my new wall easel in action. Yesterday I moved the big easel to the new studio, and this morning I re-assembled it.


Saint Patty's Day! AKA Guinness Day!


ROTF not for the squeamish:


Have a happy Saint Patrick's Day!

15 March, 2008

Trumped Art

Most of you would never admit to watching reality shows, would you? I do. Since I've been indisposed, I failed to watch my fave last week, The Apprentice. That was my bad, since the episode I missed featured a NYC gallery opening, entitled "Painting by Numbers". I don't own TiVO, and my little TV may be obsolete in a few months, but there's always good old You Tube for catching that missed episode.

The pure voyeurism of watching a big city modern art opening is yummy enough, but the whole reason I watch the Trump show is to get my fix of cut-throat business competition and social psycho-drama. Add the art gallery part and that's the cherry on top.

The premise of The Apprentice is Donald Trump pitting contestants against one another during odd business tasks. The hopefuls are vying for rewards, and scrupulously trying to avoid being the target of Trump's famous, "You're Fired!" screed. More interestingly, the Celebrity Apprentice has celebrities winning large purses for their favorite charity.

What a gas to watch these famous persons struggle in the world of fine art! In this episode, the celebrity apprentices are Carol Alt, Supermodel, Lennox Lewis, World's Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Piers Morgan, Talent Show Judge, Trace Adkins, Country Music Star, Stephen Baldwin, Actor, and Omarosa, Reality Show Celebrity.

They operate as two teams of celebrities, and their challenge is to select and represent a modern artist's visual art at a high end NYC gallery opening, and sell the highest dollar amount of art. The task involves selecting the artist's work that they trust they can sell best, and the rest is pure promotion and on sight salesmanship.

Here's the rub. These celebrities express their own ignorance regarding contemporary art. In a funny and revealing way, this episode displays how intimidated these stars are to have to represent art.

The gallerist seems suitably snooty, although he may be just feeling the stress of spoon-feeding these celebrities through this task. The fine artists are nowhere to be found. They are, Shirley Shor
and David Kramer. The gallery is the Moti Hasson Gallery.

What I gleaned out of these was that even the elites are hopelessly lost when it comes to art, which is a bad thing for us artists who wish to reach our audiences. Also, promotion is indispensable to getting the message out about one's art. Limited edition tactics created more wealth, and a higher per-piece price was a factor, too.

The full episode can be viewed here, although you endure a commercial. Otherwise, I have embedded three YouTube segments that cover the show.

Trump's Blog

Blogs About The Celebrity Apprentice:
Wordpress On Topic

13 March, 2008

Artist Interview - Julianne Richards

Glad to see Julianne Richards, The Colorspeaker, receiving great press. She deserves it. And, I hold her interview by Kim Rodeffer Funk up as the way it should be done. Now I know more about Richards, and her art.

Thanks for mentioning me there, Julianne. I appreciate it.

11 March, 2008

Excellence is as Excellence Does

Now, to respond to the excellent Kim Barker's meme, given to me here. My job is to rate 10 more blogs as excellent. BTW, my ratings & stats have come from "the tank" to "groovin'" in the past 2.5 months. I am happy for all of you who have linked me, blog rolled me, or just plain read this blog. My heartfelt thanks!

Some of you have eschewed these memes, and I have no way of knowing. Nothing bad will happen to you if you break this chain! Something good, as far as readership, may happen, though!

Excellent Blogs:

Meg Lyman - The Crash Octopus
Julie Oakley - Julie's Pictures
Maggie Stiefvater
- Graywaren Art (I figure you don't do these, Maggie, but here it is anyway)
Tracy Helgeson - Works by...
Lisa Hunter - The Intrepid Art Collector (She's so droll, she'll probably take me off of her blog roll for this - but I love her blog!)
Joan DaGradi - Postcards from New Orleans
Robyn Sinclair - Have Dogs...
Elish - Art & Critique (Hmmn..Can't find a name for him, but I appreciate his work)
YellowSteph - A Roker Artist
Deborah Paris - A Painting Life

10 March, 2008

Kahn Project Report

So far in my Wolf Kahn Project, I feel that I have barely scratched the surface. The following is a mid course review of what I've observed/learned.

Going forward, I will be doing plein air drawings instead of copying the man's works. Let's see what we can do with what we've learned.

More in-depth observation could be made, but with limited time, I'll post this, and add more tidbits as the project continues.

08 March, 2008

WK Project #4

Wolf Kahn Project
After Wolf Kahn #4
@5" x 7"
Pastel on Paper
Casey Klahn

07 March, 2008

Paper it Over

If you aren't subscribed to Pastel yet, here's a heads up that the Five for Friday post is up, and we're discussing paper.

Doctor says things are going fine with my post-op recovery. I can taper the narcotic meds, and my body just has to break up a big hematoma. It's about the size of a small cell phone (hello!) and takes energy for my body to resolve.

The good news, at least, is that I won't be hampered by the meds in the studio. Maybe some art will begin to flow again. I think I'll start back with the Wolf Kahn project to loosen up, but I have a commission and an alternate-venue hanging to get done, and those are for big works. Luckily, I finally figured out how to mount my new easel on the wall so I can do full sheet works, now.

06 March, 2008

Birthday Artist

Michelangelo by Daniele Ricciarelli of Volterra

Happy birthday to Michelangelo Buonarroti, who was born on March 6, 1475, near Florence in Caprice, Tuscany.

I took the trouble of looking up Caprice on Google Maps, but it wouldn't be found this way. I had to use the comune of Arezzo as a reference. Suffice it to say, it is an Apennine backwater. However, they have rightfully named their village Caprice Michelangelo, after their favorite son who became known as the best artist of all time. Complimente!

Made Day

Thanks to Jafabrit for this touching blog award.

The easiest way for me to fulfill my obligations to my two current "viral" awards will be to list my bloglines feeds. These are the blogs I view daily. I am plodding along on some bed rest, you know, so I'll finish this post and ping these bloggers about this soon.

Today, we'll respond to the Made My Day Award. Let's pick a theme of abstraction, as these artists make me think:
  1. The Colorspeaker - Julianne Richards, of NYC. She does colorful abstracts , Acrylic on canvas or paper. Medium sized works that include a combination of gestures, shapes and colors.
  2. An Artist's Journal - Martha Marshall, of Tampa, FL. Another Acrylicist whose work is as notable for its rich textural content as for its compositions. You really need to see her website to get the breadth of her work.
  3. NZ Art - Elizabeth Love, of Timaru, New Zealand. She is one of the best colorists on the internet, in my opinion. Elizabeth shares her Christian faith in an interesting interweaving of textual content with abstracted compositions. Her art involves canvases reminiscent of quilts or tapestries, and lavish, brilliant color.
  4. David Novak - AE- Life in Flat Land. David's in Matthews, North Carolina. He is also very prolific. I linked him recently, but also added him to my feeds. His automatist work, he says, is akin to "shooting craps." He exploits the chance events in the abstract painting process. And, he's not afraid to think and write about his work, which I think is admirable.
  5. deCloned - William Lehman. William lives in Newark, OH, and has his hands in more projects than you can count.
Here's the meme:
1. Write a post with links to 5 blogs that make me think and/or make my day.
2. Acknowledge the post of the award giver.
3. Display the “You Make My Day Award” logo.
4. Tell the award winners that they have won by commenting on their blogs with the news.

05 March, 2008

Artists Get Exposure

Just by way of news, here are some exposes of some of our friends in the art blogging community. You will be impressed and won't want to miss either one.

  • Jafabrit - Guest Bio @ PTB Blog.
  • Lloyd - Artist paints world as he remembers it - TV spot in Chicago.
Lloyd's TV spot wouldn't play for me. Perhaps some cunning expert could rip it and put it on You Tube for those of us without the absolute latest player.

03 March, 2008

Thoughts & Links on Abstract Expressionism & Color Field Painting

Yellow Gesture
18" x 11"
Original Pastel
Casey Klahn

The popularity of the Abstract Expressionist movement continues today. Although the conventional wisdom wishes to move on, the movement has legs beyond it's supposed demise.

In the light of this, I wish to ask a couple of questions. Why would an artist today wish to identify their work as Abstract Expressionist, when it is considered defunct? Is it actually experiencing a rebirth, then? Do contemporary artists "give a care," as the vernacular has it, whether a movement is alive or dead in order to be associated with it?

Are these contemporaries the ultimate nerds of the art world? Or, are they just blithely ignorant of conventional wisdom, and happy to make art as they please?

My own references to the Abstract Expressionists have been many:
Here are some current blogs closely associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement:
On a related fresh note, the Smithsonian is loving the Color Field movement right now (through may 26th):
Speaking of color field work, Peter Plagens, at Newsweek, wonders what ever happened to color in contemporary art? Oh please, Palgens! Click on Google and find me, for heaven's sake! If you'd do a little research, you'd see that it is alive and kicking in the New School Color theme.
Thanks, Martha Marshall, for the Novak link.

02 March, 2008

Blog Awards, Book Tour

Thanks to my awarders for these recent memes. Jafabrit made my day, and Kim Barker grades me an "E" for excellent.

Also, we will get a chance to interview Alyson Stanfield about her new book, I'd Rather Be In The Studio. That will be April 29th. , so be sure to look here then.

Alyson is a spunky, energetic dynamo in person, and prone to the occasional witticism. She has helping artists "in the gut", and it shows in her efforts at the ArtBizCoach, and at the ArtBizBlog. I have sought her help on a number of occasions. Her class on Get Organized is a suicidal month of labeling, trashing, introspecting and interacting. You will suffer. You will cry. You will be a better business person, and be more focused on your art in the studio with fewer monkeys on your back telling you, "what ya' gonna do with that room full of paperwork spread all over the floor?"

I am still convalescing, and wonder if a large hematoma may cause a second surgery. I'll see my physician this week, and may have better news. I am getting in the studio the past three days for @ 3 hour stints of time. Still in bed much of the day, with some pain and nausea. Anyway, that's my excuse for not linking through my obliged award memes, but I will do so soon.

The art is coming along, with a few successes and much discovery. I am developing a "reductive" method that is a lot of fun, but then again that might be my meds...
Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism