31 May, 2008

Technorati & Art Fair

It has been fun watching a goal come together and bear fruit. I set my goal about 3 or 4 months ago to increase my Technorati "Authority". I guess I didn't enjoy watching it take a little dip, and wondered how to add to the pesky little number. As a byproduct, the authority at Pastel has risen, too.

For my humble blog, a "45" is gratifying. If for no other reasons than just to see that there is some readership, and also just to see a plan come together. I get some fun out of reading other bloggers' authorities, as I find new blogs that way.

Now, anyone know where to find that spiffy widget that tells one's Technorati authority on it? I have tried their widget inventory and I cannot find it.

Today I visited all of my cronies at the Spokane ArtFest, which I am not participating in this year. For a news report on the fair, and art fairs in general, visit my blog, The Endless Summer Art Fair, soon. I will cross post half of the report here, as well, with pictures of some of your favorite artists in their booths.

30 May, 2008

Art Education

Yellow Trees, Blue Forest
9" x 7"
Casey Klahn

It was a great joy to receive the following question from a second grade teacher located in Mexico:

Hi. I would like to know what do you think about the idea of Rockwell of painting Pollock’s in his.

I am teaching 2nd graders about Pollock and I have found it more complex that just dripping!

My reply:

Thank you for the question.

Maybe you saw my post about an image named The Connoisseur that Norman Rockwell did of the well heeled museum patron in front of a Jackson Pollock painting.

I have a special affinity for NR, as I studied art via the Norman Rockwell Famous Artist's Course for Talented Young People when I was not much older than your second graders. He deserves the renewed interest that the art public is giving him, in my opinion.

On your question. What artist doesn't want to be liked for their artwork? Certainly there was a great deal of "artistic courage" that both of these famous artists exhibited.

NR was big enough in his heart to portray the wholly different painting style of the emerging super artist Jackson Pollock, and at the same time doing this with irony and humor. That was his trademark.

I don't see him passing any negative judgment in his painting, and as far as the art side of it is concerned, the man stands in the middle bottom of the painting, almost like a tree trunk whose canopy is the abstract painting. A wonderful idea, and difficult to pull off. Not at all following strict compositional rules. His talent in composing a painting is on show, here. That's irony, too!

JP had obvious "artistic courage" by not using regular oil paint or regular brushes or even regular primed canvases. He didn't use the easel, either. He was changing everything about painting, or as many things as he could think of to do.

As a contemporary artist, I have been given permission by JP to do more kinds of things to express my art than before he "broke" all those art rules. I choose to repeat my compositions over and over again, to make the point that the colors are the "meaning", not the trees. I like to get rid of "depth", so hammered into my brain by the great Norman Rockwell school. That reminds me (and maybe you, the viewer) that after all, you are looking at a painting about: color.


Casey Klahn

28 May, 2008

Special Artist Alfred Waud

Battle of Beaver Dam Creek
Alfred Waud

Battle of Charles City Road
Alfred Waud

Alfred Rudolph Waud (1828-1891).

Battlefield sketching of the Civil War met pastellist Alfred Waud on the pages of the Boston Carpet-Bag, the New York Illustrated News and Harper's Weekly. Waud was probably the most prolific combat chronicler of the Civil War and likely the only artist present during Picket's Charge at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

When I visited the Civil War reenactment in Spokane this last weekend, I got the idea that I may blend in better in costume next year. The field easel is a red flag for attention in a crowd, and it takes some mental effort to work in those conditions. Add to that gusting wind, biting flies and cannonade noises and you get the idea. As luck would have it, I stumbled upon this web page demonstrating the latest in Civil War artist's acting kit. See a full crew of "Bohemian Artists" here.

For an example of present day Civil War field sketching, see my own offerings at pastelsblog.blogspot.

26 May, 2008

Memorial Day Sketching at a Civil War Reenactment

Photo: Casey Klahn

Not to be missed! The full post is over at Pastel, since it is part of the Plein Air Project.

Physical and moral courage is the stuff of battle. Artistic courage is going into a holiday crowd and doing pastels en plein air of something you've never done before. New subjects, unusual environment, subjects you intentionally avoid (horses) and fast moving action!

Have a meaningful and memorable holiday.

24 May, 2008

Research Keyboard

Keyboard to Pollock Research. Detail: Jackson Pollock's The Key, 1946.

The Jackson Pollock Researcher is now accessed via a virtual key at the right side of this page. Click on the key image and the link takes you to the definitive list regarding the popular Modern artist.

JP News: Pollock Squared is a low budget, innovative art movie that brings Jackson Pollock back to life via the participation of contemporary NY area artists.

23 May, 2008

The Jackson Pollock Researcher

Number 31, 1950
at the MoNA
Jackson Pollock

Lavender Mist, 1954
Jackson Pollock

This post will be my selection of Jackson Pollock links.

This blog receives an inordinate amount of traffic from the query: Jackson Pollock. Aside from an entertaining study I did about this key light of the Abstractionists, I have to admit that I haven't got much really meaty or original content about him here at The Colorist. Not, at least, of any academic value.

But, for the good of the cause, I will aggregate some research here about Jackson Pollock. Then, the numerous college students who find my site can get on with their studies. By the way, I have been heartened by the otherwise non-Pollock attention that students have paid to The Colorist. Maybe there is some original content in here after all!

Jackson Pollock Research:

  • New York Times On Topic for Jackson Pollock-Link. Best to read the NYT if you value critics that use words like "inimitability". Otherwise, follow their Jackson Pollock Navigator until you find an article that makes some sense.
  • My dated post on the topic of Jackson Pollock links.
  • Squidoo Lens on Pollock.
  • MoMA Collection of Pollocks. Link. From the NYT list, but I'll put it here as an important collection.
  • The Art News Blog lists these links for Pollock.
  • The Pollock-Krasner House.
  • Pollocksthebollocks is a blog with a base in Abstract Expressionism.
  • The movie about Jackson Pollock has certainly pushed forward his star in the public conscience. My review is found here.
  • There is an interesting video legacy of the drip painter which may do much for his posterity as we go further into this digital age. Hans Namuth and Paul Falkenberg.
  • Jackson Pollock Unauthorized. Looks like bootleg prints, but some good info, too.

You can't get through Pollock without visiting Abstract Expressionism.

  • Here are my posts on the topic.
  • I recommend the Wikipedia post on the topic.
  • This book, Taschen's Abstract Expressionism, by Barbara Hess, is a good pictorial analysis, by artist, of the great American movement.
  • A dated Wordpress blog with some nice AE references.

And the inimitable Clement Greenberg requires some study if you want to cover JP correctly:

Work in progress. Although I know there is already a Squidoo Lens on Pollock, I see room for more definition. My own spin. The opportunities are to illustrate it properly (without stepping on toes) and to lay out the format well. Any ideas?

21 May, 2008

Heroic Art Ideas

Abstract/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning and American Art, 1940-1976,
is open at The Jewish Museum from May 4th through September 21st, 2008. The famous action
painters were chronicled, commended and enshrined by the art critics Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg. The way Peter Schjeldahl has it in the current issue of The New Yorker, the real action figures may have been Greenberg and Rosenberg. See what you think.

Coming soon to The Colorist:
The Jackson Pollock Researcher. My hits on the subject of JP are so numerous, I will serve humanity by posting the catch all, end-all collection of Pollock links.

19 May, 2008


No Rules!

Things are blooming all over the place, with spring blossoms on the apple, pear and cherry trees. In the studio, the fruits of the past few weeks of labor are beginning to bloom, too. In a moment of spark, I have made an artistic breakthrough! I needed a chance to find the center of what is motivating me, and this picture from Italy popped up on the CRT and hit the target.

See the full story on this when I post the big image.

Pear Tree in Bloom

Apple Tree in Bloom

Speaking of original art, the Molekine that Yellow is beginning has been themed "Genesis." Another special thing about this sketch book is that it will eventually make it's way from Scotland where it originates, to my remote mailbox in the hinterlands of eastern Washington, USA. On the way, it also will have sojourns around Scotland, Northern Ireland and also New York City, and Illinois, near Chicago.

We are collaborating on a new blog: Moleskine Exchange.

The idea is from the Molesinex17 project blog. The type of sketch book is the unusual Japanese model, which is an accordion fold design. The concept is to provide some continuity to each book, and then one may display all the entries at once. Artists will be posting the results at their blogs and at the Exchange blog. I'll not post my own sketches, so that the next guy down the line will have a surprise when the book arrives in the mail.

Participants are:

Brian McGurgan, NYC.
Lindsay, US Midwest.
Gesa Helms, Scotland.
Steph (AKA "Yellow"), England.
Lor Lor, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Casey Klahn, Washington State.
David Cornelius, Scotland.
Vivien Blackburn, England.

Updated from the original post. Let me know if there are errors in this list, please.

Cherry Tree in Bloom

Mention was made at Sue Smith's Ancient Artist of moi. An uplifting post about artist's block/motivation for the over-fifty artist. A quote from Sue:
Believe that there is enough time to do what you are supposed to do.

On the other side of the planet from me, in Australia, I have posted an image for competition at Kim Barker's Laketrees blog.

18 May, 2008

Italian Olive Grove

Olive Grove Sketch
9" x 11"
Pastel & Charcoal on Sketch Paper
Casey Klahn

A dear cyber friend allows me to do work from her photos. Here's draft one. Keep an eye on this space for updates.

17 May, 2008

Late Breaking Rausch Up

Robert Rauschenberg
Detail of Erased de Kooning Drawing 1953
Collection SFMOMA and Rauschenberg estate

Here's my round up of the late Robert Rauschenberg buzz. The following will be the most comprehensive linkage to the esteemed man's obituaries, reviews and articles that you have seen.

My first impression anytime a famous contemporary artist passes from the scene is, "good on him for making it big and living an artist's life." Then, if I am at all curious, I read up on the subject and (graciously) pass my own judgment on their corpus. That means the work.

Rauschenberg is counted among the Pop Artists. They being the ones who supplanted the Abstractionists.

The story that sticks with me is Robert going over to de Kooning's studio with a bottle of liquor under one arm, and asking for a self portrait of the great Abstract Expressionist. Willem de Kooning says, "I know what you're doing," and graciously gives up the charcoal and graphite portrait. The young acolyte takes the art and erases it. It takes much effort and many erasers to destroy the master's work, and the point is well taken.


Rauschenberg defends his erasing of de Kooning (You Tube).
Tyler Green's incomplete round up.
Jen Graves
Regina Hackett
Roger Kimball
Is it okay to take a shot at the newly deceased artist? Kimball does, which rounds out this round up.

16 May, 2008

Art Barter

Army C-Ration

There was a time when I would've said my favorite barter was with a bartender, but that was just because it sounds funny.

is a time honored activity of trading goods or services for something other than money. I remember bartering Scrambled Eggs from my C-Rations for Apple Sauce or Fried
Ham, Sliced with Juices when I was a young soldier.

Doctor's Bag

Times change, and this past week I was able to barter a pastel work for the surgery I underwent about 2 months ago. How many artists can say they've done that?

13 May, 2008

Art Blogs in Washington State

My home is in Lincoln County - I see no other houses from mine, so this map must be about right. Since it's a possibility that my side of the mountains (eastern Washington) could get left out in a list of this type, I will post one before this happens ;)

Art Blogs Washington:

Update June 11, 2009

Binky Bergsman
Jan Heigh
Lisa McShane
Neece Clark

The Colorist
Steve Hill
Shann Spishak
Jennifer Evenhus
Jason Waskey
David Patterson
Nancy Merkle
Miki Willa
Jennifer Phillips
Daniel Smith Art Supplies by Deborah Burns
Kathleen Cavender
Jennifer Robin

For updates, view my label: Washington State Art Blog

12 May, 2008

Third Critique Up at Art and Critique

Casey Klahn

In case the loyal readers here missed this, Elijah Shifrin, of Jerusalem, has kindly written about my art in his blog, Art and Critique. I usually have a response written to his wonderful crits, but since I am running to catch up in the studio, this will have to wait. Die hard fans of The Colorist will enjoy reading his short essay on my recent landscapes of trees and clouds.

He has added value to his blog by launching a forum related to the blog, and is offering the Art Interpretation Guide.

Blogging Under Threat

Forest Study
6" x 5"
Casey Klahn

Don't tell Blogger that I'm broadcasting on this net. They think I'm
m alwar e.

Being l ock ed owt for three days was not much fun. Whenever there's any type of tech issue with my PC, I usually feel forced to attend to it right now, so that when I need my service, I have it. So much for being in the studio in the mornings last weekend.

Sorry to breath negatives today, since my kind readers here at The Colori st are used to me being upbeat (which I am 99.9% of the time). This may be a word to the wise that Blog grr is blank et blo kking owt a whole swath of blogs that appear to contain m'licious s oft ware or auto mat ed thingies that b o t around the net from blogs. Something to do with s p a (m) I guess.

When I was in the Army, it was against military law to treat the group as holding the guilt of the one. If one guy screwed up, all couldn't be punished. Of course, this is a fine regulation for civilians, but the an army must run as a group. Teams are teams. So, we ignored the stupid reg. But, is there anything more independent than a Blog ger? The treatment of a swath of individuals in this manner is appalling. Remember fascism? Obviously the young ge eks at Blog grr skipped their world history classes...

OK. That feels a little better. Your faithful artist will continue here. I'll be making a back up of The Colorist and associated blogs, just in case I need to go packing from the Sovie t of Blogs ville.

11 May, 2008

Blanket Block Out

Has anybody in my readership experienced the blanket block out by Blogger?

For the third day in a row, I have fallen under the dark hand of blocked blogging. Blogger explains that my URL or IP Address looks like one that has "automated" something or other on it.

A search for help reveals that Blogger is just blocking out big swaths of users, from Newfoundland to Mexico. Various sites suggest using third party software for various patches. Hello. That sounds like the exact problem that Blogger is trying to stop - third party vacuuming of it's pages.

Anyway, if there are tech wizards in my world, what do you suggest? I wonder if any of my third party thingies are standing accused? I will wipe a few out, and see how that does.


Turquoise Forest
14" x 10"
Soft Pastel
Casey Klahn

Blue Wandering
14" x 10"
Original Pastel
Casey Klahn

The following quote from Lloyd is a good reminder of what we love about the color blue. It is prized by the artist, and I will add that French Ultramarine is the easiest color to form into pastel sticks, and my yummiest single color.

Blue. The noble color of the sky.

Blue has always been associated with royalty, it is cool, soothing, a reminder of infinity and things spiritual. It gives a sense of stability. It is no co-incidence that big financial institutions often have blue colored emblems.

Although the sky and the sea are both rich in blues, blue coloring is rare in natural minerals, Azurite and Turquoise being almost the only ones used for art until modern times. Ancient Britons covered their faces in Woad, and around the Mediterranean Indigo was used for dyeing textiles. The scarcity of good and affordable blues meant both were employed by artists from time to time. The Egyptians developed Blue Frit to meet the need for a good blue but it was too weak and coarse to last until modern times.

When the Europeans began importing ground Lapis Lazuli they thought they had found the perfect blue finally. It was except that it cost more than the same weight of gold. It wasn't until the synthesization of Ultramarine in the 1820's that artist had what they really needed all those years, an affordable, permanent, and useful deep blue of great beauty.

Lloyd Irving Bradbury

10 May, 2008

Trees & Clouds

See Elijah Shifrin's latest critique of my landscapes at Art & Critique: "Casey Klahn: Trees And Clouds, Transient Monuments."

I'll have a response up later. I lost some time this morning dealing with a Google lock-out of my blog, as well as all the art blogs (Blogger) that I tried to read. I see another one is still locked out, although I am "up" now. Scary stuff.

09 May, 2008

Project Labels, a How To

Serial posts about a given topic are "Projects". I have found that labeling these popular posts with their own banner has been a fun and effective tool. An example of a banner and project is my Five for Friday tips at the Pastel blog.

Here's how to make them in Photoshop. Open a new project and title it appropriately. The size may be any size, as you will crop around your words later. The truly efficient here will want to establish a common size, but I don't.

Select the writing tool, which is labeled as "Horizontal Type Tool" in my version and configuration. I begin by typing the label, "Wolf Kahn Project", and then I open the font, size and style tools and see which font appeals to me. Select a color while you're at it.

Now the crop tool to center and size your finished product. Save your gem using "save as", and make it a Jpeg file. I like to get it in a file of the same name where I can also organize the pictures and sometimes text for the posts that I'll write under this banner.

A truly savvy computer user would tell you here how to make this banner clickable, so that it will provide a link to all of your posts with this label. Hello. This is me your talking to. I have no idea how to do that. There is a way in Blogger to "make hot" a Jpeg in the marginal column, as I have done for my labels "My Artworks," "My Abstracts," etc. But, you may wish to do the same in your posts.

I will do some research and see if I can learn how to write the code for making these Jpegs linkable. Or, some tech. reader will probably write it as a comment here. Enjoy your post labels!

08 May, 2008

The Klahndromat

The Klahndromat

The results of last week's remodel in our pantry. We discarded the old washing machine & utility sink, tore up the floors and walls, and then leveled the floor and installed vinyl wall boards, a new sink and one of those new-fangled "high efficiency" washing machines.

We paid extra for the
glass top on the machine, but the picture tells why. And yes, that is our dryer on the platform. A space saving idea that is working out for the better.

And now you know what keeps me
busy when I'm not in the studio!

06 May, 2008

Barn Free

Elijah Shifrin at Art & Critique
has written about my barn and rural building subjects in his article, "Casey Klahn: Barns And The Abstract Wizard Of Washington".

Elijah is thoughtfully focused on the abstract qualities of my building paintings. I have carefully tried to avoid being cast as "the barn guy". The reason is that sentiment is so easily attached to this great American symbol, and yet sentiment is bygone content in contemporary art. The challenge has been to de-construct this awe inspiring structure and make it relevant for today's art.

My Barn
Photo: Lorie Klahn

Working against my efforts to keep the barn image down have been a number of forces. Sales, believe it or not, has been a force tugging at my shirt tail. The popularity of this theme and image, the American Gambrel barn, has been so high that sales of anything barn related are a fairly easy turn. The great thematic content that is associated with the barn is reflected by the book cover that has my Red Barn with Ramp image on it: An Anthology of American Literature, by McMichael. Another force is the fact that I live out here in the rural landscape where every farm has a big barn.

Barn Sketch
Casey Klahn

Here in Davenport, WA, the barn isn't just American myth writ large, but an actual part of our lives. To be sure, the way of life is changing. The Heath family pioneered this farm at a spot about five minutes walk down canyon from my house. When the internal combustion engine started to replace livestock for locomotion, the farmers were able to build their houses and outbuildings uphill and farther from spring water sources. My family are the third owners of this farm, and the agricultural roots are gradually being eclipsed for a number of reasons. How wonderful for us to not see another house from ours!

Violet Oil Drum
7.5" x 10.5"
Soft Pastel
Casey Klahn

I'm heartened that Elijah has seen the abstract elements that are key to these building paintings. Shapes, colors and position are the content, more than the buildings themselves. Don't get me wrong. I'm as much a sucker for the deep meaning of the American barn as the next guy. My father built a barn once upon a
time. And, the building in my iconic painting is my own barn.

Thumbnail of Barn
Casey Klahn

The architect who designed the Gambrel barn was a flat out genius. The way the barn structure occupies the open land in rural America is stunning in scope and even vision. My barn, which is no longer used for any working good, occupies a side hill and commands a territorial view. I have some pride in owning it, but the Great Horned Owl that frequents it seems to have a bigger claim by virtue of time spent there.

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

Wolf Kahn uses the barn image a great deal in his work. He has taken it down to the pictorial elements with content that describes the position of the building on a slope or prominence, and elements like through-looking doors and windows, and severe value gradients.

The Heins' Farm
7.5" 15"
Casey Klahn
Private Collection

The story of my Red Barn with Ramp image I have told many times. I received a box of twelve "Wolf Kahn" Terrage pastels made by Diane Townsend, and in a first moment of inspiration I made a very small thumbnail sketch with the colors. It was the barn image just as it is seen on the book cover, except that sketch was about 1 inch square. I was in the moment, entranced by pure color and by the tactile qualities of the big, thick pastel sticks. Abstract shapes were the tools, and color was the content.

Elijah has written a good back story to the barn and building themes. The literary link to The Wizard of Oz is apt. The elemental truth of my surroundings is hard to contradict. Wind, sun, sky and agriculture. Can an artist overcome his environment long enough to forge content that aspires to higher art? I suggest not thinking too hard, but letting the hand and eye draw intuitively. Maybe that's the only way.

05 May, 2008

Top 20 Art Blogs?

Violet Woods
6.25" x 9.2"
Original Pastel
Casey Klahn

The Top 20 Art Blogs. I think from the perspective of the subject of contemporary art, rather than art itself, this may be a useful list. Provided originally by The Met, it came to me via All Things Visual (University of Chicago). Although I like to read about the subject of art, art history and criticism, I much prefer to view the real Magilla.

For a great list of top artist blogs, see the list compiled by Kim Barker at Laketrees.blogspot. Find The Colorist at rank # 43, which is calculated by Kim from viewing Technorati authorities. A fun way to peruse art blogs is to open and view a blog's authority, and scroll down the list of who links to that blog.

Emptyeasel.com has their list of the eight must-read art blogs for 2008.

The thing I'm looking for when I'm trying to sift up new artist or art blogs is some eclecticism. The typical blogroll is biased towards the same type of art that the blog author creates. Examples of niche groups include: oil painters, pastelists, daily painters, illustrators, comic art, and crafters. These groups are perfectly fine, but I want to get out and mingle!

As I am searching for these lists, I notice that many lists are for the "top art blogs in Washington DC/New England/Berlin, etc." That gives me the idea of putting together the one for Washington State. Of course, I'd be doing this out of pure self-defense, since the eastern side of our fair state is often not considered in publications generated from the urban corridor centered in Seattle. I'm not complaining, here. Just keeping the word out that rural artists exist.

02 May, 2008

Art & Critique

Casey Klahn

Casey Klahn

Casey Klahn

The arrival of a critique is a welcome thing for a working artist. Elijah Shifrin at Art & Critique has chosen to render a sensitive review of my abstracted landscapes.

In "Casey Klahn: How to Make Your Audience Weep," the critic sees some uncannily true aspects of my art that I haven't consciously voiced before. He seems to have nailed the elements of my landscapes in deep and psychological terms that unearth my artistic formative years.

How does Shifrin know that I grew up drawing hours and hours a day, in the land of the pouring rain? He writes:
...some of the pieces appear as if seen from behind a car’s front window when it’s raining. Objects (trees) look heavily smudged, lines break down and some areas of color appear to be still in the process of modulation. Second is the use of pure blue reminiscent of the sea; the patches of blue indeed bring to mind large bodies of water. And third is the thick, streaming down lines of the trees, resembling water pipes. All of these characteristics deal with water and raindrops in one way or another.

That large body of water was the Pacific Ocean, where I grew up in the land of giant conifers, and constant rain. The only rainforests in the lower forty-eight states, in fact, where my stomping grounds.

Much is made of the diffused and ambient lighting present in the works by artists of the Northwest School. Tobey, Callahan, Graves, et al. That love of gray, and the tendency to describe light without a direct source, or without cast shadows, has been my style as well. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, eh?

01 May, 2008

Arte y Pico

Thanks loads to my blogger friend, JAFABRIT, for this exciting and handsome award. Blogger bling is much appreciated, and I always enjoy being sent some kudos. Go here for the citation, and for the rules. When I award my five, they must read the rules and follow the meme. Or, some bad thing may happen, such as the lost opportunity for more readership!

I so much like the looks of this little statue that I may have to Photoshop it on a mantle and frame it for my new studio wall.

I award this meme to the following bloggers that exemplify:
"creativity, design, interesting material and also that contribute to the blogging community no matter what language."
  1. Eden Compton
  2. Vivien Blackburn
  3. Harry Bell
  4. Joan DaGradi
  5. David Cornelius

Thanks again, Corrine.
Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism