30 June, 2009

Plein Air Links

Photo: Lorie Klahn
This box of pastels I made from a cigar box which is deep enough for two layer of sticks. The top tray is a hand made Fome Core tray. The levels are further sub-divided with Fome Core, and the top tray is lifted out with a ribbon.
I organize this box by six values, and choose mostly subdued hues. Casey Klahn.

The plein air links I posted the other day were very well received, and I promised a continuation of these links. As I take up a project of painting outdoors every day for a month, follow my journey. I won't post everything, but my foibles and fun will be shared liberally.

On my mind as I take up my month long project are the following links:

Painting Wales Diary - Rob Ijbema
Plein Air Artists. Ning
My French Easel - Benoit Philippe

Telluride via Deborah Paris
Michael Chelsey Johnson
Pastel Pointers with Richard McKinley

27 June, 2009

The Lighthouse Keeper

The Lighthouse Keeper
5" x 7"
Casey Klahn
scanned image of artwork

This image of the lighthouse base at Yaquina Head, Oregon, is a studio finish of an on sight drawing. The real artwork is more subtle, but here is a scanned and somewhat adjusted version posted just for the sake of interest.

Now that I'm on day 3 of my daily painting outdoors project, a few things are becoming evident. My goal of creating finished works at the French easel is still the main thing, but so far I have two "thumbs" and one that's a keeper. Many will simply be studies for studio works.

I won't be posting all of them, or even daily, since that isn't the goal. But, kind reader, you will see many of them as I go on this exploration of daily outdoor painting. This is a good time for you to Follow Me, since my month long project is just beginning.

It helps to have a picturesque home and surroundings. Although our older farmhouse still needs a lot of TLC, the yard is coming along better this year. Also, my kids are just old enough to let me go outside for an hour or so without creating a massive disruption in the space-time continuum.

I'll post some more plein air links on Monday.

26 June, 2009

Plein Air Plans

paptrbrtsfullabove.jpg picture by caseyklahn

Painting Near Point Brown
Ocean Shores, Washington

Yesterday I did a painting in the front yard, and so begins my month of a daily painting en plein air. Having just returned from a family vacation at the Pacific Ocean beaches in Washington and Oregon, pictured above, I am well tuned for the hard work of outdoor painting.

Yaq. Pt. Lighthouse Sub Building
Pastel & Charcoal in Moleskine
Casey Klahn

Here are some links to some recent plein air web sites and events:

Hudson River via Linda Richichi.
NW Pastel Society Paint-Outs.
Pacific NW Plein Air Painting Competition.

American Artist "En Plein Air Pearls from Painters Past."
American Artist A Conversation with Camille Przewodek.

More in my next post.

A first draft goal list for my project includes the following:

  1. Daily painting of at least one work - not a drawing, but a soft pastel work.
  2. Reorganize my pastel box to fit in my ThumBox.
  3. Refine the pastel boxes to moderate the hot colors and to "fit" the area around my studio and home.
  4. Refine my choices of support.
  5. Fine tune my usage of umbrellas. I have two, and want to get at least one to stand alone by staking it in the ground. I want to customize this myself.
  6. Get or make an extender for supports for my ThumBox.

25 June, 2009

Pop Icon Passes

smil47c8902016474.gif image by caseyklahn

Since I have made some traction, myself, off of Michael Jackson, I think it fair to give the old boy some airplay on the event of his untimely death. Known as the King of Pop, Jackson passed on today of a cardiac arrest. My connection to him was our coordinate birthdays - one week apart, in 1958. I have blogged about him, and another child pop icon of the same age, whose name I won't include here.

May he rest in peace.

24 June, 2009

Back in Action

Back to the Studio

We are back safe & sound from the family beach trip. I did blog twice from our beach hotel in Washington, but couldn't get a connection from our camp site on the Oregon beach. Imagine that. Mild weather, big ocean fun and plein air outings at the lighthouse completed our trip. Oh yeah, I can't leave out the Newport Cafe (Oregon) and wonderful sea food baskets.

I made contact with a few galleries along the way, and hope to follow up on one invitation to send a portfolio. Several plein air pieces were at least started - about 4 or 5 I think. I really love one of them, but have hopes for the rest at least producing studio finished works, as well. Believe me, just getting the easel and umbrella and pastels set up on the beach is a huge success. I'll have pictures of all of that soon.

18 June, 2009

Beach Bits

Photo: Lorie Klahn

I love the beach.

Yesterday I set up and painted from my Guerrilla ThumBox. I had to contend with the tripod, pad of paper, mid-sized box of pastels, etc. I was lucky that I didn't have to put up my new umbrella as the sun angled just right to shade my paper. And, the wind cooperated.

It was a success just to get out and up. Not to mention I really liked the results. I will see what I can do to get a photo and post it. Maybe a sunlight set-up, we'll see.

17 June, 2009

Being Coastal

The family and I are on the coast for a vacation. The Pacific Ocean, no small feature, is built-in to my psyche. My father and my mother, Nadine, raised me here until I was about 1 year old. Mom was born and raised at the beach. She subsisted for times on clams, and washed my diapers in the iron ore streams that empty to the ocean. I'm told that made them red.

Here is
my last post where I drew these pictures of the jetty. Hopefully, I'll have a few plein air images to post of the beach, and of the Hoquiam River, soon.

Time to relax, now.

12 June, 2009

Start Again

Deer "Cast" Drawing
14" x 12"
Charcoal, Conte and Compressed Charcoal
Casey Klahn

"You have to start, over and over again."

Willem de Kooning. de Kooning, An American Master, Mark Stevens, Annalyn Swan.

Here is artist blogger Chris Ashley's view and review of de Kooning at the MoMA.

A new start for me is taking place at art *setter, where I have posted some images and an essay.

art *setter. person or institution whose tastes, talent, knowledge or ideas, has an influence on art.

10 June, 2009

Terrific & Terrible: Technical Tidbits

printer_smash_2.gif image by caseyklahn
IT Guys

In reviewing this month of posting daily, one thing that looms large is the technical train that runs this blogging adventure. I have experienced both the terrific and the terrible with daily posting, and here are some of the events that have colored my month.

Technology Terrific.

One awesome thing was being street juried into the new and very high quality site, art *setter. I was asked to present an essay for their premier, and provided Artist, Know Thyself. I am noodling the idea of writing a SP book about the Artist's Traits series, and this was my opportunity to begin the final write of these essays.

Twitter. Now it seems that artist bloggers are getting the idea that Twitter can be a useful tool and is low impact on one's time if you do it right.

There has been increased readership here and at Twitter. I have met a number of new people, including many artists. New commentors have "de-lurked" to add their two cents here.

My sometimes poor citizenship around my artbog chums' blogs has been better during this month of posting. Recent sytem problems have curtailed that, unfortunately. Sorry to all of you who I usually visit more.

I discovered, by accident of course, how to biggie size the photos in my posts. That was a goal of my template switch, which has only been realized with the added power of big images. This blog is image centric, but not that busy compared to many websites. These bigger images should still load reasonably quickly, and I think they are batter at representing what I'm posting. I haven't tried them on artwork, yet, so we'll see how that goes.

Photobucket has been a peach of a tool. I can get animated gifs, and use them for free and on their server, too. My favorite is the axe smack down with the *pro* wrestlers. Also, some videos are available to post, which is where I found the street chalkers in Florence about a month ago.

Head_Bang_PC.gif image by caseyklahn

Terrible Techno Gaffs.

I have discovered some chinks in the home system. My router is seeing it's final days of service. It works intermitantly and that means that I can't get on the internet when I want. The worst symptom, so far, has been the inability to get Twitter searches to work, and I often lose connectivity at Twitter altogether.

I have begun the De Kooning book club with Alyson Stanfield, et al., at Twitter. I couldn't get on the club page (which is accessed by doing a search query at Twitter) for about 3 days. No search query worked, although I did get on there once the other day. My router? My PC? The server at Twitter?

After downloading the Tweetdeck utility, and a day of fretting and cleaning up my PC, I am finally hooked up with my book club. Woo Hoo!

The Washington State Art Bloggers post has been updated to include new or omitted bloggers. Also access that information via a button on the right hand margin of this blog.

09 June, 2009

Refreshing the River - Studio News

coffee.<span class=
Pour Yourself a Cup of Joe.

Studio News.

After creating possibly my largest series of works done at one time, The River Series, I am hitting the reset button. One series that is helping me recharge has been some tiny still life works. Apples with strong compositions and color notes.

These still life works are going to be my studies for my next few River works. One big change will be the aspect will run vertically instead of (landscape aspect) horizontally. The strength of composition and color in these apple works is giving me inspiration to revive the river.

Since we aim to provide the best quality photos of my art, Lorie and I wait until dark to do our photo sessions in the studio. Finding the time for that, now that the sun sets later, is especially hard. The children are in their final week at grade school before the break, and family needs are making it hard to get to this task. So, with your kind patience, I will tease you with the promise of about 10-13 new artworks to be posted soon. The actual number depends on the axe man.

The family will be on the coast for a beach vacation next week, and I have high hopes of revisiting my Hoquiam River Series. The series is based more on actual observation than most of my work, and so the long road trip is necessary. Other plein air work will be enjoyed also on the nearby Oregon coast.

coffee.<span class=
Pour It Quick. We Have Work To Do.

Random News.

Washington State is known for its wonderful wine crop. Rumor has it that us older men can now enjoy the newest variety of red without the wakeful downsides.
Pinot More.

coffee.<span class=
What's Next?


Sorry - couldn't resist that. Tomorrow I will post my lessons learned regarding this past month of daily posting.

08 June, 2009

art *setter

My profile at art *setter.

The new web presence art *setter has gone live. My article, Artist, Know Thyself, has been published there. The artist as navel gazer? Not so much! It is the artist as a risk taker that we dissect.

art *setter is a global community website for people who are interested in contemporary art.

On another global note, some artists whose work I admire:

Zul Albani
Ujwala Prabhu

07 June, 2009

Blue Sky, Obligitory Daily Posts and Trip Planning

clouds home 2
Photo: Lorie Klahn

This Sunday is one of the few days that I have almost nothing to post. We are all participating, you readers and I, in a daily post for a month project. So here is today's 0bligitory post, and some blue sky photography.

This week I will be through (on the 11th) with daily posts, and will return to my regular schedule of 2 or 3 posts a week. More art is waiting the photographer's lens, and our family will be taking a vacation for about ten days. I hope to get in some quality Hoquiam River Series sessions in my coastal home town, and also we will visit the Oregon coast just because we can.

See you again, tomorrow, with more hard hitting art content.

06 June, 2009

D Day

loading lsi

ht loads

June 6th., 1944.

Sixty-five years ago today, the Allied armies invaded Europe. Pictured above is the loading in the UK
of Allied troops and equipment for the assault.

Hundreds of thousands of acts of bravery were performed by mostly young men from nations such as the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Poland. What acts? That Tuesday morning, almost 200,000 soldiers and sailors put on their uniforms, and made their rendezvous with destiny - they put ashore. This became the legacy of our civilization throwing off the chains of tyranny.

Very nice full screen panoramic views of D Day sights.

05 June, 2009

Am I a Stat Whore?

<span class=

The One and Only Donny Osmond

Only my truly dedicated readers know of my coincidental association with Donny Osmond. There are two mega-star singers who share my age, and they have been "with me" since they became child stars many years ago: the inimitable Donny Osmond and the incomparable Michael Jackson. The three of us (perhaps the two of them don't know this) are all the same age (50).

If I were a stat whore, I'd be posting about Donny Osmond every day. Why Donny Osmond? Because Donny Osmond is responsible for a hefty chunk of my random visits here at The Colorist. Sometimes I regret ever posting a picture of Donny Osmond. Don't get me wrong. I like Donny Osmond just fine. He is a fantastic singing artist and personality in his own right. And much more popular than I knew. I know that from my stat counter.

My photo of Donny is the most often visited page of my "Came From" stat, after my subscribers and home page hits. He is a more powerful attractant than Matisse, van Gogh and Jackson Pollock. By a long shot.

We all work our hardest to get good content on our artist blogs. Good content would be an image of one's art, some text about the personal process of getting this art created, and some posts about the broader context of one's art. Broader context comes in the form of one's influences, both past masters, living artists and also the community of artist bloggers who share their art online.

That's good content. Stat whore content would be placing SEO (search engine optimized) phrases in incongruous places all over one's posts. If I were a true S.W., I would figure out a way to fit in names like E lvi$ Pre $ ley or Ang el in a Jo lie. But, what sort of silliness would that be? After all, I have Donny Osmond!

Seriously, my blog is graced with fairly modest statistics regarding readership. I value every one of you who reads here at The Colorist. I am very glad that more readership has come this way because of the daily posting for a month project, the River Series, and my new membership at Twitter.

I'll leave the SEO monkey shines to the experts.

In the interests of full disclosure, I have discovered that D.O. is about half a year older than myself. Jacko is nearer my own age, with his birthday about a week away from mine. How nice.

04 June, 2009

Hopper's Light

City Sunlight
o/c, 1954
Edward Hopper

Sunlight in a Cafeteria
o/c, 1958
Edward Hopper (1882-1967)

"The only thing that interests me is how the sun hits a white wall." Edward Hopper.

Eighteen Hopper Paintings.
Alone, Together. Arts Editor.
Museum Syndicate. Mother lode of Hopper Images.

The simpler I try to make my artwork, the more I value past masters who got more and more basic as they progressed. Hopper just wanted the sunlight on a white wall.

Systems Event

This is post #21 of the 30 every day posts goal. I almost missed yesterday when my router went down. I actually made the trek to town and posted from the coffee shop! I envisioned having to give up, but got the systems event resolved this morning. We'll see if my computer can hold on for the remaining few days of this project.

03 June, 2009

The Axe Falleth

Smackdown_2952009___Rey_Mysterio-2.gif image by caseyklahn
Smack Down the Axe

In the comments section of my recent post, Red Tree, a good conversation took place about the role of the artist as self-critic. In the post, I said:
"A thing I do is, after completing a run of artworks, I will spot a couple of dogs in the lot, and axe those. Then, I will look at the remainder, and axe the two or three weakest paintings, as well."

Here is the conversation.

Carolyn L. asks:

"While you are 'axing' what questions do you ask yourself? What do you look for? Do you have a specific set of guidelines you apply? While I am sure the process is not entirely objective, there must be a thought process you pursue. Learning to evaluate one's own work is not easy. It is not a skill directly taught in art class. I would like to hear your take on the subject."

My response:

Good questions, Carolyn.

Sure, the first thought is something subjective. A niggling something that isn't right (usually a compositional problem). Often, the compositional issue has to do with proportion. Some element is too big, or too small.

The big problem is when it's close to okay, and then the struggle starts.

Distance of a day helps. I sit and look at my work a lot. I tape or tack the series on the wall and stare and evaluate. I use mats or tape to frame them. I get the rejects out of the way, although they still reside on the wall somewhere out of the way. A stack of rejects (or 2 or 3 stacks) sit around the studio, and I can refer to those for ideas later.

No guidelines. That's a little too static for me.

I look for strength in a painting.

I don't outright reject a work for technique issues. Some mistakes are okay with me if the point comes across. And, meanwhile, I am on a program to improve my technique! There's a contradiction there for you.

Some very important reasons for rejecting an artwork are if they don't fit the series, or my style direction. In that vein, I will get rid of works that have too many sharp or defined edges, or too much detail, compared to the whole.

Another issue can be dull spots where the paper just packed up too much with pastel.

Another problem can be value comparisons. Bad value progressions - too stark or too similar, are a bad thing.

Maybe a shape of an element isn't right. Too regular; wrong size or direction.

Endless...and people think art is easy!

Diane Wenzel then followed up with this question:

"Casey, your review of critical axing is very useful. But how is it when you begin a series? When you are in the heat of creation, what do you do with your critical hacking voice? If the hacker is asleep, I can see how you might become caught up in one place adding unwanted, useless details."


Well, Diane, it sounds like you are asking two questions. One: how to edit a whole series at the start. The other: do I get caught up in a the process and add superfluous stuff?

Or, perhaps you are asking that if the series is in its infancy, how can I tell which parts belong?

I never choose a series from an idea. The series presents itself based on a successful image that needs to be explored many times. So, the series is already a successful image and hopefully never contrived.

What are the qualities of that first successful image (or two)? These become my criteria. Also, my whole art statement comes into play (color - modern treatment - realism - abstract heavy).

Superfluous stuff? I go down that road often. That's why I have to edit the works after they are done. Interestingly, I will be in the groove and create nice works with new and fresh passages, and all is well then. Other times, I won't even know what I am doing in the studio!

02 June, 2009

Getting Some California

<span class=

You say you want some California? Land Sketch has it for you
(Nathan Fowkes). Usually in watercolor - and beautifully done.

This is post #22 of my month of daily posts. I have found out much from this project. It hasn't been as challenging as I first imagined. I always seem to have something to say. And, I still have lots of content ideas rolling around in my noggin' for posts.

Here is an inventory of what I have posted so far in this project:

  • 8 original artworks posted for the first time, and all of a series.
  • 2 artworks re-posted.
  • 2 photos of the pastel box.
  • 1 knitting art photo.
  • 2 landscape photos.
  • 2 Matisse posts, with 1 portrait of Matisse and a Matisse artwork.
  • 2 book covers, one of which I am actually reading.
  • 1 Studio photo in black & white.
  • 1 meme (award received - I have 1 more to post, still).
  • 1 "coffee cup" studio news post.
  • 3 music videos.
  • 1 Map.

01 June, 2009

Yellow River Rose

Yellow River Rose
Casey Klahn

"(Woody Guthrie's) influence on me was never in inflection or in voice. What drew me to was that hearing his voice, I could tell he was very lonesome, very alone and very lost in his time. That`s why I dug him." Bob Dylan

Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism