29 November, 2010

Picasso Cache - Truth or Theft?

Poor Pierre Le Guennec. All he wants is the almost eighty million dollar windfall that ought to come with his recently revealed cache of artworks made by Pablo Picasso. Unfortunately, few believe his story that the master artist gifted him with an enormous treasure of drawings, paintings, collages and more. Generous the artist was, but $80 Million? That was some great electrician-client relationship that Guennec had with Picasso!

For my part, I want to believe the French working man. I even hope he gains profit from this somehow, but hopes don't make proof. I advise anyone giving their art as a gift may want to provide some documentation along with it. Who knows who will accuse the beneficiary of art-theft in generations to come?

28 November, 2010

Reader Traits & Matisse Bits

Originally posted November, 2008.

The faithful readership
of The Colorist are responding with some well thought-out Artist's Traits. These are responses to my Artist's Traits series, and represent the desired character traits these artists feel would bring them growth.

First, I will list the traits, and then a blurb from each respondent.





Adam Cope, of Dordogne Painting Days, France, writes the following:

"Well then can we say that doubt & questioning is part of the mix of ingredients?

Doubting is part of the critical functioning & must work in a way that is constructive to creativity. When it works well it is analytical & opens up the artists to new opportunities. However, in my experience, the suspensions of the doubting, critical self in the beginning phases of making a painting is important, for if the artist is to dig deep within himself (herself) & tap into the authentic, the natural - 'le Propre du Soi' - then this is more of an affirmation, a kind of YES as it feels natural & as if it always were & will be. The opposite of doubt maybe?

Do some research into the the idea of Genius as the Ancient Greeks meant it.

So my traits are doubt & genius."

Deborah Paris, of Deborah Paris-A Painting Life
, Texas, says,

"High on my list of traits for myself as an artist and for my work is- Authenticity. By that I mean possessing an aesthetic which is 'of its own time' (reflecting both the time and place of its making) as well as one that successfully announces the unique passion of its maker."

Lisa Bachman, of The Studio News, Maryland, explains,

"I admire perseverance. That ability to persist towards a goal in spite of frustration or self-doubt. If I could use only one word to describe Van Gogh, this would be it."

Julianne Richards, our ever-faithful Colorspeaker, New York City, writes this comment, too,
"Here are some of my thoughts on 'traits and...'
First, what I call 'a strong (very) work ethic'-which falls under the already mentioned 'discipline' is the first thing that comes to mind whenever I think of a trait of necessity for the 'artist path.'
In staying with artistic traits, in addition to self awareness, I would definitely add having a keen awareness (and interest) of one's environment-both on the small and larger scale. As your posts are reflecting, being open minded to learning and change, ultimately makes one a better artist as well as a better person."

Thanks, also, to Martha Marshall and Zoom (who added "Love, faith, hope, courage, persistence, generosity and a sense of humour")
for checking in. Also, a special thanks to the others who have commented throughout this series.

More Matisse Bits

I will be noting some fantastic Henri Matisse trivia as I come across such. See my study of the great Modernist here, here and here. Also, if you select my label, "Henri Matisse", you will see all of my posts on the keener, but several of them overlap with the Artist's Traits posts.

I mentioned before that Matisse's progeny are involved in arts, but I also notice that they don't seem to flaunt the name. With some propriety, I send you to this young man's very nice blog.

This fantastic blog, the Quip TORUM, entertains me much. Today's Matisse post led me there.

Laura K. Aiken writes A MOSAIC STUDIO, a "Mosaic and Visual Art Blog sprinkled with Henri Matisse".

I am gob-smacked by children's art, especially since I am a father of two young ones myself. I came across this really enjoyable video of some young student responses to Matisse.

Speaking of the wee ones, my own were watching some Bugs Bunny cartoons, and I happened to see one that is a tribute to Matisse. "Wackiki Wabbit" not only features landscapes with Matisse patterns, but the castaways are drawn in the linear style of the great artist, too. I post it here, but keep in mind that this gem is 6.41 minutes long! Sorry about the Google ads.

25 November, 2010

T Day T Dump

"T Dump" meaning Tab Dump, which is internet speak for, "Here's what came in over the transom." Enjoy these links to Thanksgiving Day posts. We'll be going to dinner at Grandma's house, but only after I recover Lorie's pickup truck with the dead battery and the frozen-shut hood. Minus temps do things like that.

Jane Librizzi, The Blue Lantern, Thanksgiving.
Margaret (Peggy) Stermer-Cox, Drawing 329 And Meet Sid The Cubist Turkey
Sippican Cottage, He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven
Katherine van Schoonhoven, Art and Music, Thinking and Thanking
Elizabeth W. Seaver Fine Art, "And Then HE Said..."

19 November, 2010

The Artist's Ideas - The Artist's Ethos

Edvard Munch
The Scream, 1893
o/c, tempera & pastel

A work of art can't be questioned or dismissed. Saul Bellow.

The obscure word ethos has a different meaning today than it did seventy years ago, and it has traveled a malleable path since the days of Aristotle. Whereas, today, it is a corporate creed, it formerly held a deeper meaning. Pre-war artists owned the word - it was the artist's ethos. My 1936 Webster's dictionary has the following:
Webster: From the Greek, ethos, ἔθος, character. The moral, ideal or universal element in a work of art as distinguished from that which is emotional in its appeal or subjective.

How do the artist's ideas exhibit themselves in an artwork? Is it important for an artist to express an ethos through the making of art?

We have been considering
The Artist's Ideas, with these previous posts:

Have Ideas
Quotes - The Artist's Ideas
The Inner Meaning
The Artist's Ideas
Paint Better Now

The Artist's Ethos.

The Greeks saw ethos as the first proof of debate, and it had to do with trusting the moral competence of the
rhetorician. Fast-forward to our concerns and the artist's ethos. Let's unpack the definitions of moral, ideal and universal elements.

The Moral Function of Art.

Webster describes a moral element in a given artwork, which is, by definition, an illumination of right or wrong. As concerns the formal parts of art, there is no right or wrong. "There is no must in art because art is free," Wassily Kandinsky. So, we are left with artworks that reveal a moral quality intended by the artist, such as in the case of Sacred Art. See below some artworks that reveal strong moral qualities in a broader context. See The Sistine Chapel for Sacred Art.

John Dewey said that
“Art is more moral than moralities.” Artist and blogger Katherine A. Cartwright is reading Dewey's important 1934 book, Art as Experience, and hosting a community discussion on The Moral Function of Art. See here, here and here, and remember to read the comment fields.

Here is the "see below." For my part of the discussion at Katherine's blog, I have been illustrating the moral function of art by identifying individual artworks that I see as strong moral forces in the canon of Western art. Blogger/artist Linda W. Roth had the idea first, and she chose Edward Munch's The Scream for its moral content. I think she's right on with that, and I thought of Andrew Wyeth's Groundhog Day, and Willem deKooning's Woman 1. These artworks are linked below.

The following opens a window into Dewey's thinking: Art is morally powerful because it is indifferent to moral praise and blame (loosely quoted). Do you agree?

Ideals - The Artist's Ideas.

otice that the Websters definition relates to a work of art, and not the group known as artists. My understanding of "the ideal" is that an artwork must, to be true to the artist's ethos, reflect his ideas. See these quotes on The Artist's Ideas.

Universal Elements.

Art is a universal mode of language. John Dewey. Philosophers will tell you that language is wanting in descriptive power - it falls short of expressing what man is able to think. Art is a huge bridge in "speaking" to mankind aught words.

Edvard Munch, The Scream.
Andrew Wyeth, Groundhog Day.
Willem de Kooning, Woman 1.

Ethos at Wikipedia.
John Dewey, Art As Experience.

15 November, 2010

Links and Studio News

November 15 in the Studio, Hoquiam River Scenes
Casey Klahn

Jeanette Jobson, who does Gyotaku Prints, has published an interview of me at her newsletter. Jeanette blogs at Illustrated Life. Go here to find out about my studio secrets.

Katherine Tyrrell, of Making a Mark, has linked me on her popular Sunday feature, "Who's Made a Mark This Week." If you don't already make a habit of reading her
Sunday entries, you should. I consider it the artist blogger news.

Here at The Colorist, I am continuing to think about The Artist's Ideas. If you haven't found your answers as to what your art ideas should be, that's good. Keep looking, and use my essays as fuel for your thoughts.

Also, in the world of blogging, I wonder who will become my three-hundredth follower? Next month will be the fourth anniversary of The Colorist, and I think you can appreciate the effort that requires. I appreciate each reader at my humble artist's blog.

I am becoming active at the ning community, Artistes de Studio. Jennifer Evenhus, a great artist from central Washington, is the driving force there. I enjoy the status of a Master Artist in the group.

Studio Panorama

In the studio, I am going forward with the long awaited Hoquiam River Series. Consider it like Twilight, only more moody. My representation of the rainy, coastal little river is a passage I am making by means of strong pastel paintings. Are these paintings of one of the most interesting places on Earth good representations of the scenery there? Only if you look at them through the heart.

I hope to have an opening in Hoquiam, my hometown, some time next year.

11 November, 2010

Apple Pie and Veteran's Day

American cemetery
Florence, Italy
Photo: Casey Klahn

Today, my children are enjoying a day off from school for Veteran's Day. Yesterday, I was invited to attend an assembly at the school in honor of veterans. It is a good thing to have a community memory of the military service that some have provided. I came home with an apple pie, given to each vet who left the ceremony. That was nice.

04 November, 2010

Have Ideas

Hoquiam River Bright
10" x 14.75"
Pastel & Charcoal
Casey Klahn

Here are some thoughts on painting:
  • A painting must become more than the sum of its parts.
  • A painting is a history of what happened to the artist.
  • An artist should communicate his ethos through his art.
  • I believe that a painting should affirm the personal.
I made a map of my art ideas. My 7 year-old daughter added her input, too.

Here is the theme music for this post ( Right Click to open a new tab). Open in your media player.

You might need to update your adobe reader to view my illustration.

Previous Mind Maps
Map Your Ideas

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