06 October, 2009

Looking for the Why

The Portal
4.75" x 4.5"
Scene at "Riva Ridge," Italy
Casey Klahn

Partly because I am blocked about writing the next essay on "How to Paint for the Prize," I want to bring you along on the search for content and the need for having ideas in your art. I am blocked by the overwhelming amount of information that I have about content in art. I could tell you my ideas in painting for my recent prize. But I'm getting tired of ringing my own bell. I could write an essay on the academic truths about what content means in art; how art content is different from form and
subject. So dry.

I am not lacking inspiration on art ideas - far from it. I am uber-inspired by the things I read and see concerning the masters and what many good writers have to say about aesthetics and meaning in art. How can I get you, dear reader, to ignite your spark and paint your best for that next show?

Yesterday's post on drawing, with two simple quotes from Ingres and Picasso, is foundational to what I believe about my art. Drawing is an ascendant element in
contemporary art. I am reading more essays about drawing, and as a result I am going to renew my drawing focus for my next one man show. Conceptualizing my River Series as drawing-based was a huge part of the success of that series. Remember, drawing isn't as much about the tools as it is about the ideas and approach to your work.

Here are some drawing links that will get your artist's heart beating faster, and challenge you to renew your faith in your ability to win the prize of the finest art you can make.

Drawing Masters: Ingres, Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, Rubens, Käthe Kollwitz, and Picasso.
Mary Adam - Drawing Criteria.
The Rebirth of Drawing.
David Jon Kassan - This is his best video of time lapse drawing because the others lose the technique.

Speaking of painting for the prize, you would do well to follow the work of Loriann Signori, whose art was recently recognized with a first place award at the national Shades of Pastel Biennial Exhibition in Maryland.

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


Diane Widler Wenzel said...

I read your links and looked at some of your River Series and I do see aspects of drawing now as well as the color hue relationships. I never thought about distilling the essentials of a volume as an act of drawing. You are so right.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Do you draw ahead of time or is painting color and drawing accomplished in one act? I tend to put color down and then draw or modify as in drawing. On second thought I actually work both ways. When a piece is going really well I am drawing and painting as one act. Usually I have to modify by drawing. If it gets too compulisve in the drawing stage I spash more color that starts a new direction in the drawing.

Casey Klahn said...

I do both, too, Diane. You're on to it. And, I don't want to over think why one painting is drawn first, and another is executed directly.

I do know I want to do a series of graphite and charcoal drawings next.

It is a brain twister, but I think of drawing as an attitude different from painting. Painting is a process for me where I go in thinking very much about the relationships of things - light, color, value, subjects, etc. Everything is comparative and especially transitions or meeting areas.

But, of course, drawings can have cunning meeting areas (edges) too. That becomes an aspect where using the pencil can be a lot like taking a painting attitude. But for me drawing is an approach where I will define my artwork by marks, gestures, and many things. More than just the line! I just bought some bottles of liquid graphite - can't wait to lay those down!

Sorry I'm not too intellectual this AM, but busy life awaits. But, all of this is pushing me back to the studio soon. Wonder if the heater out there is working?

Casey Klahn said...

One thing that strikes me about drawing is the place of the sketch and the working out of an idea. I like composing areas much more when I think of my work as a drawing.

Clive said...

Loads of new entries...it's been awhile. Congrats on the award at Sausalito; that is a very prestigious fair, I think. Once upon at time, when I imagined that I could do all the things that are required to exhibit regularly in fairs, I considered attempting to get in, and so read about it a bit. Of course, it would have been nice to visit San Fran as well. Reading through your posts on preparing for fairing reassures me that heck, I ain't got it in me! But you sure do, again, congrats, a marvellous award for you.

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks, Clive. Good to see you.

The fair is a good one - I had visited before but this was my first time exhibiting.

You are right - fairs take a lot of effort. I wonder if I'm recovered from that one, yet.

http://peacefulones.blogspot.com said...

We are SOOO excited to hang a show at Northwest. Proud of you - and can't wait to see your work. Rosemarie Kowalski, alumni services

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks, Rosemarie. I'll make an announcement here when the time gets set in stone. I am excited for the show.

Adam Cope said...

"The process of drawing is, before all else, the process of putting the visual intelligence into action, the very mechanics of visual thought. Unlike painting and sculpture it is the process by which the artist makes clear to himself, and not to the spectator, what he is doing. It is a soliloquy before it becomes communication." Michael Ayerton

love the mid-tone grey border BTW

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks, Adam. It is a funny thing how that drawing needed a border - perhaps because of the irregular edge. I also filtered the drawing to look like a conte red, rather than the original graphite. I do this quite a bit.

Beautiful quote. I'm ignorant of the author, so I'll have to google him.

loriann signori said...

Hi Casey, thank you so much for mentioning my recent accomplishment! You are so generous with your comments.
Drawing for me is about sensitivity. Sometimes I just draw to feel the planes of the landscape and to help me realize what is important. It is a sensual moment. When you speak of drawing more for your next show, what is your purpose? Is this as an end point, a planning, a sensitivity moment, of simply for the pure enjoyment of the action of drawing?
I have a question, when you are speaking of content is that the same as concept? For me concept is as simple as why is it you are painting this painting.
Please tell me more.

cheers, loriann

Casey Klahn said...

Well, Loriann, it was good of you to earn a first place award for me to include for this essay.

I like your personal view of drawing - very insightful.

Concept would be a good synonym for content, although I like content - it seems to have a fuller meaning. Concept may include perhaps the how to approach a painting series, while content might speak to the why.

Some artists have offered subject as the what, style as the how and content as the why. Pick your own words, I guess, but be true to your reasons for the paintings.

Adam Cope said...

I don't dig beneath the surface for things that don't appear before my own eyes. (John Singer Sargent)


does the why have to be verbal, cerberal, non-visual, theoretical?

Casey Klahn said...

It is very possible to over think the whole thing!

OTOH, I am pleased by the paradox that is the overlap between drawing and painting.

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