12 March, 2009

The Hoquiam River Series

Little Hoquiam River
February, 2009
15" x 18.5"
Casey Klahn

Right click to open today's music in a new tab.

Working on a half sheet of La Carte sanded board, I had my memory of this place (near memory and distant memory) and a photo series taken on an overcast day. Even under cloudy skies, the light from above is the greatest element. That is made more evident by the darkness and the light absorbing qualities of the old green forests.

As I post this image, I am aware that I didn't really "nail" the dark zone as I wanted to. The colorist impulses took over, and I focused on the red in trees and the green of the muddy river water. So be it. The image works for that.

As an extra bonus, I felt very influenced by Henri Matisse when I was at the easel with this work. How so? The abstract pattern and the shapes remind me of one of his interiors.

Crop of the Little Hoquiam River
Photo: Casey Klahn

This violates my usual practice of not posting a photo with an image. But I want to illustrate what I am exploring.

Music Credit: medienkunstnetz.de


Anonymous said...

Hi Casey,
while I read your post I wonder why you mentioned "violating your practise of not posting a photo..."?
I always find it extremely interesting how artists interpret a photo or the scenery of an outdoor place or any other subject. This has nothing to do with a potential argument that "this does not look like the original".
I am also a bit irritated that you often mention other artist's work to influence your own as if you doubt that your work could stand on its own.
We ARE continuously influenced by all kinds of things within our personal environment, often subconsiously. So it is natural to pick up ideas and transform them in our thinking and working, intermingle them with thoughts, bits and pieces so that we cannot truly say any more which ones are completely our own.
As visual beings, not living as eremits without any social or other contact to the outer world - we cannot exclude influences by any means - even if we would like to do so!

Casey Klahn said...

But, I am a hermit! Ha ha!

This long winter has me feeling that way - zero degree temperatures as I write, the furnace in my studio catching fire (everything is ok, we are fixing it now), deadlines looming, and today both little ones home from school sick!

This makes every one of my heater systems that have given up in this long winter!

Thank you for your support regarding influences, Petra - I know my art stands on its own and is authentic by itself. But, I am learning tremendously from these grand masters of Modern Art - and it helps me to process that.

You are ever the fine photographer, Petra, and it is integral to your art. Myself, I have to keep it at a distance. Mostly, I don't want the association with *real* visuals, and want to let the art speak for itself.

In the instance of this Hoquiam River Series, I am bringing in the place as an element. Same thing with the music - I am revealing influences and ideas. But, you are right - the paintings stand alone just fine. On the other hand, I am also not afraid of the extra data for perhaps the same reason - the art is strong enough to support the backstory, too.

loriann signori said...

Your art does stand on its own and majestically! Posting the photo was interesting if only to show how much of a master you are. You find inspiration in the place, but the painting is a true experience for the senses. What beautiful use of color!

Jala Pfaff said...

Casey, your work just gets better and better and better... If I ever become rich, I'm going to buy it all!

Casey Klahn said...

Muchas gracias, Loriann and Jala.

Tom Willa said...

Henri Matisse what a wonderful source of inspiration during winter's homestretch. I checked out his interiors there is so much warmth. Another interesting category of his work are his cut outs. His management of color is what fills his paintings with warmth are what leads others to appreciate his mastery.
I think sharing a inspiration source is a nice gift. It allows others an insight into what one is interalizing. I think Little Hoquiam River shares a similar vibrant sense of color and temperature as Matisse's creations,excellence.

Casey Klahn said...

I'm glad for your comments, Tom. Welcome to artist blogging!

Bob Lafond said...

Casey, I discovered an artist that I had not previously seen before, a German named Lesser Ury. I bet you have heard of him. I saw a reproduction of a beautiful pastel landscape at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lesser_Ury_Birkenwald_im_Fr%C3%BChling.jpg
and I immediately thought of your work.


Casey Klahn said...

Thanks, Bob. There is something very cool about being remembered in this way and I appreciate it very much.

On a newsy note to my readers, I had the pleasure of receiving an e-mail from the mayor on Friday, who caught wind of the HR Series via his Google alerts tool.

Looks like I'll have some venues to show this series - yikes! Better get in the studio and resolve these images.

jafabrit said...

I enjoyed seeing your post and the photograph and the image. I like hearing what influences you and how you are trying to strip the elements down to mood of a place.

Casey Klahn said...

Yea,Bob. I like the pictorial problems Ury dealt with - I am looking at all of his pix at wiki commons.

Bob Lafond said...

Ury's pastel called Am Landwehrkanal im Herbst (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lesser_Ury_Am_Landwehrkanal_im_Herbst.jpg)
reminds me also of Wolf Kahn, only 50 years earlier.

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks for the interest, Corrine.

Deborah Paris said...

Very beautiful Casey- I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the series. I think choosing your own place- and one you have memories of- will insure this work is completely your own. The memory has a wonderful way of distilling (intensifying) not only what we remember but filtering out all that is of little consequence to us.

Casey Klahn said...

I'm looking forward to getting in the studio to do the series! I hope that my regular Tuesday studio day comes to pass.

Thanks, Deborah!

Adam Cope said...


I can understand your reticence about not wanting to post a photo alongside a place-inspired artwork. The advantage of doing so, IMO, is that it helps a little to contextualises the blog, the artist (where she/he is) & the place (homogenising globalisation erodes the distinctive place).

Fascinating to go to the places where art work was born. last spring I ate in 'Le Dôme' in Monparnasse where Satre, Beauvoir & Picasso used to create whilst hanging out on the terrace. Giving artwork a sense of place is anti-museum but fun. Roots.

Hope those boilers are back up now. My oil fired one has been done for years but is replaced by a woodburners. Bonne courage.

ps. funny you should talk about dark places & spots etc. All I can see in the photos is the pinkish complement to the greens but then I don't know your place, do I.

Casey Klahn said...

I always saw red in the trees, and the photo makes that evident, huh? Glad you see that, too.

Sometimes pictures take their own directions! Thanks, Adam. BTW, I thought your last cliff painting, with high blues, was excellent.

Adam Cope said...

Understand your comments about dark forests & bright 'fauve' mediterrean light.

the important thing for a colourist is that colour should be the central pictorial concern, and not that the timbre of light be mediterrean.

fauvism was born in the dull light of northern France when Vlaminck switched his greens into reds.

Casey Klahn said...

That's absolutely right, Adam. Light is not at all the subject, as with the Impressionists.

I eschew shadows for many reasons - sometimes because I am avoiding the subject of light, and sometimes because my hometown upbringing was in a land without shadows (very diffuse light).

I liked how Hilary Spurling, in her Matisse biographies, described him as a "man of the north." There is an interesting thread here with van Gogh's colorism, and Fauves Vlamink and Matisse being men of the north. As, BTW, am I.

How influential nature is - even to abstractionists.

Adam Cope said...

from the north... with a hunger for the sun of the south

garthfromseattle said...

Hi Case,

I see what you mean about the shadows...they're a tad lost in the war of color.

Something of a 'sniper' war? Focusing dead center...

I sense some unsettled feelings about Hoquiam from this.

An undercurrent below the surface.

Just a feeling...

Here's hoping for a happy/SAFE heat solution for your studio.


Casey Klahn said...

Maybe I did hit the "Twilight" movie part? Or, maybe the "Twilight Zone" instead.

The whole dark shadow meme is me trying to study the plastic part of picture making - with eye sumps that pull you in.

Glad there's an edge somewhere to this. Good eye.

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