22 May, 2009

Intuitive Art

Yellow Gesture
18" x 11"
Original Pastel
Casey Klahn

The gesture embodies the intuitive approach to art. Sure, color choice looms large. Linear composition, also big.

And I am holding drawing up as the most fundamental pursuit within the big tent that is fine art. No offense, ceramic and glass. No offense print media, and photography. But drawing is the alpha (if not the omega) of artistic expression.

So, consider the gesture. Robert Henri denigrated the gesture in his seminal book: The Art Spirit. His opinion was that the gesture cannot stand without some purpose, or composition to be a part of. However, taken as an element of expression, what else goes so close to the bone of the artist's intention as the curling, bold, climactic gesture?

I offer the gesture as a pigmented mark pregnant with feeling. Grab a pastel; scumble it on it's side to tone your paper. Don't think about the next color. Grab the pastel stick and make a gesture with your whole arm - No! Your whole body! How does that look to you? Can it be improved upon? Should you add some definition to it? Or should you just discard it? Another color, perhaps.

Have a seat, now, square in front of you easel, and ruminate. That's it! Get up, choose another pastel stick and gesture along the paper. Now that precious mark has been covered; changed forever.

This post is a re-post from March, 2007

1 comment:

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Fasinating ideas about intuitive art! I do consider myself an intuitive artist because the critical voices become unhinged for awhile allowing ideas to flow from a place that feels like a pool outside of myself. These ideas are not new and others have access to them like I do. I also like to move prompted from my muscle memory with my brain asleep allowing the muscles to go on auto pilot. Then I do back off from my painting to plan drawing into the picture to bring forth forms making gestures sugested by the marks. I didn't know that my muscular approach to drawing into paintings was intuitive because it is planned. But I think you are correct because the planning is stimulated by the auto pilot marks.
The experience I have from working intuitively often comes with verbal ideas that I like to write down either on the painting or on a map made to document the journey I took as I painted.

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