25 October, 2010

Repost Research

The Colorist

Number 31, 1950
at the MoNA
Jackson Pollock

Lavender Mist, 1954
Jackson Pollock

Here are a selection of Jackson Pollock links.

Jackson Pollock:

  • New York Times On Topic for Jackson Pollock-Link. Best to read the NYT if you value critics that use words like "inimitability". Otherwise, follow their Jackson Pollock Navigator until you find an article that makes some sense.
  • My dated post on the topic of Jackson Pollock links.
  • Squidoo Lens on Pollock.
  • MoMA Collection of Pollocks. Link. From the NYT list, but I'll put it here as an important collection.
  • The Art News Blog lists these links for Pollock.
  • The Pollock-Krasner House.
  • Pollocksthebollocks is a blog with a base in Abstract Expressionism.
  • The movie about Jackson Pollock has certainly pushed forward his star in the public conscience. My review is found here.
  • There is an interesting video legacy of the drip painter which may do much for his posterity as we go further into this digital age. Hans Namuth and Paul Falkenberg.
  • Jackson Pollock Unauthorized. Looks like bootleg prints, but some good info, too.

You can't get through Pollock without visiting Abstract Expressionism.

  • Here are my posts on the topic.
  • I recommend the Wikipedia post on the topic.
  • This book, Taschen's Abstract Expressionism, by Barbara Hess, is a good pictorial analysis, by artist, of the great American movement.
  • A dated Wordpress blog with some nice AE references.

And the inimitable Clement Greenberg requires some study if you want to cover JP correctly:

20 October, 2010

Quotes - The Artist's Ideas

Der Blaue Reiter, 1903
Wassily Kandinsky

"I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else," Pablo Picasso.

The artist must have something to say, for mastery over form is not his goal but rather the adapting of form to its inner meaning.” Wassily Kandinsky.

"One can say nothing about the content of a painting...It says itself, like breath without words." James Matthew Wilson.

"Truth and reality in art do not arise until you no longer understand what you are doing and are capable of, but nevertheless sense a power that grows in proportion to your resistance." Henri Matisse.

"In art, one idea is as good as another. If one takes the idea of trembling, for instance, all of a sudden most art starts to tremble. Michelangelo starts to tremble. El Greco starts to tremble. All the Impressionists start to tremble." Willem de Kooning.

"Any artist should be grateful for a naive grace which puts him beyond the need to reason elaborately," Saul Bellow.

"But often it's doubtful whether the logic of the work itself and the words used to describe it really have anything to do with each other," Thom Mayne.

Trust your feelings entirely about color, and then,
even if you arrive at no infallible color theory, you will at least have the credit of having your own color sense.” John F. Carlson.

"See, don't think." Attributed to Wolf Kahn.

"I never came upon any of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking." Albert Einstein.

Kahn quote: h/t Tracy Helgeson.

15 October, 2010

The Inner Meaning

"There are more valid facts and details in works of art than there are in history books," Charlie Chaplin.

Some readers know that I have been bottle feeding a litter of kittens whose mother was killed by a coyote. Two different times, I've had the experience of bringing a kitten back from
the threshold of death. These limp, comatose pets fit easily in one hand, and I bathed them, forced Pedialyte by soft syringe and just held them.

What is it that
animates the body just moments before death, and yet vanishes at the point of expiration?

Käthe Kollwitz
Woman with Dead Child, 1903

We are considering The Artist's Ideas, a series on the things that are understood in art but not stated outright. Tired of words and heavy thinking? Here is a visual way to understand this subject. The drawings of German artist Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) are easily understood just by looking. I queried her images on Google, and was immediately struck by her poignant meanings. Ugly truths, but tender beauty is revealed by the hand of this master. I understand there are about forty schools named after Kollwitz in Germany.

Käthe Kollwitz
Blogger view.

Käthe Kollwitz
SP, 1898

13 October, 2010

The Artist's Ideas

"Pittura est cousa mentale"
Painting is a thing of the mind.
Leonardo da Vinci

Imagine entering a beautifully appointed building, in which there are many rooms hung with original fine art. Some of the paintings are by masters, such as Rembrandt, Eugene Delacroix, Mary Cassatt and the like. Others are by unknown or little known but well respected artists from past eras. Still more are by contemporary artists in practice today.

at the art museum Pictures, Images and Photos

You are just one of a large crowd of viewers, pausing at one painting, then another and another. There are no docents chattering; no plaques or notes posted to annotate your visit. Somehow, as the throng proceeds, they note little of each image, and by the time they spill out of the exit, most even have trouble remembering the names of the creators of the paintings or the subjects painted. By the time he orders his latte at the cafe, one patron has no recollection at all of even one image seen in the exhibit, and that is a representative experience of the crowd as a whole. He flips open his cell phone, and starts to read his texts.

Nothing was gained
by this visit to the art exhibit; no memorable emotive experiences will be remembered. The coffee was good, but the viewers did not partake of any of the artist's meanings, and they go away with souls unfed.

Whose failure was this? Was it the lack of curatorial effort? Surely, but I lay the blame mostly upon the artists themselves.

Don't get me wrong. Rembrandt's meanings are readily available to his audience, as a painter of beauty in respect to all mankind and as an advocate of excellence in oil painting. Cassatt gave impressionism the delicacy of pastel's grace, and the charity of womankind exampled in the mother and child. But, in my imaginary tour (which idea I took from Kandinsky in his writings) the meanings of each artist, from the known and all others, is obscured by certain factors.

The hanging, although beautifully lit and nicely placed, contains artworks whose elements are so diverse, and confused in subject, type and style, that any hope of ascertaining a meaning is lost. Tragically, the majority of the works displayed do not have a foundation in ideas, but rather are pretty pictures set adrift in a sea of misspent intentions. It wouldn't hurt to have a patronage well schooled in visual basics, so that they may understand art's intent when they have the opportunity. But, we are taking up the question of The Artist's Ideas in this series of essays.

When you read my essay series on How to Paint for the Prize, posted last year, you may have noticed that I wrote a lot about content. Half of the posts described the artist's motivation through his ideas. Now that my exhibition season has, for the most part, ended this year, I am wanting to write more in-depth on this holy grail of the artist's true goals: The Artist's Ideas.

Now the prize is no longer my personal best, but I have resolved to triple the quality and the value of my art by next year. How will that be done? Mostly by resolving the core issues that exist for any fine art. I want to present my ideas in comprehensible ways through visual means. Read this series of essays on art content to see how core ideas can illuminate the visual artist's work.

"Never trust the artist. Trust the tale," D.H. Lawrence.

To really understand the foundation of this series, you ought to read again the series on How to Paint for the Prize. These are the posts:

How to Paint for the Prize
Looking for the Why
Quotes on Content
What Are Your Ideas?
Get There Quick!
Edit Your Own Work

Art museum photo: toni_janelle at photobucket

11 October, 2010

Personal Events

Two kittens remain in our home from the litter we've been bottle-feeding, and they're now dealing with some kind of illness. One is better, and the second now presents as sick. There are some other health things going around my family, mostly minor, but my girl has been sent home from school today.

On the way home, I ran over the neighbor's dog, which is a tragedy I've never experienced before. He ran in front of the truck, as I was slowing down and expecting him to chase the vehicle. That is a heartbreaking event. Somewhat removed from me, but serious, is a friend from my hometown who is experiencing a major family tragedy. This kind of time is what prayer is for, and I am sending mine heavenward today.

I'll be back with the new essay series in a day or two. Thanks for reading here!

06 October, 2010

Paint Better Now

Towpath in Winter, After Wolf Kahn
8.5" x 11.75"
Casey Klahn

A new essay series is in the works and I will post very soon. Last year, after returning from Sausalito, I wrote about how to get a juicy prize for yourself. I want all of my readers who are artists to excel, and you will find some inspiration in that series. If you aren't an artist, but want to reach for the brass ring in any field, have a look. How to Paint for the Prize.

The upcoming series is a result of some recent conversations I've been having with artists and patrons. I want to offer you my ideas about creating art that is based on the best common denominator - ideas themselves. The most accessible fine art has some truth to reveal, and if you want to swim in that pool of making art that speaks, you must have ideas.

Meanwhile, I have been busy cleaning my studio and getting ready for the next events. At the same time, I am doing some professional development by taking a course online from the excellent Deborah Paris.

Please stay tuned.

02 October, 2010

Eight Hundred and Ninety-Two, and Please Don't Hate Me


Eight Hundred and Ninety-Two. I can barely write that number and get it right. That represents the number of hits The Colorist received on Thursday. Which is a few more - well, quite a few more - than it is used to getting. The stats have been exploding the past month and a half, but that represents something like a low-yield nuclear weaponized bump.

Many of you are like, "ho hum, I get 900 hits on my blog before breakfast." But, for my humble blab place, that is a happy anomaly. For those of you who walk with mortals and aren't used to such high-handed blog stats, pull up a chair and see how The Colorist got here. It is an amazing story of foibles, foul - ups and flouting full-force the power of the webtunnel.

As the author of The Colorist, I try my hardest to balance that razor's edge between bald self promotion, and universally interesting art content. No blogger that wants to be read by the racing public throng should focus on themselves too much. Does that even need explaining? To that end, I work at writing a few art essays, and I try to promote the best that artist blogs have to offer. Then, I sneak in the bald self-promotion, and likely way too much of that. When I begin to gag on narcissism, I revert back to art content. I hope it all works out in the end, and I have had readers introduce themselves and explain that they appreciate the balance. All I can do is try.

The reason for The Bump of the past month will make my artist blogger friends chuckle, or turn green with envy, or throw a brick through their computer. I hope for the first response. This post was receiving hits like a lab rat on nicotene, and I had to find out why. When I followed the trail left by StatCounter, I found a Google redirect page. As near as I can tell, Google, which never makes mistakes, had randomly selected my Jackson Pollock post as a holding place for confused search devices. Hallelujah! I get hits like Babe Ruth on steroids.

Before you throw that brick, I will plead some of my thoughts on this. On the one hand, that post about the famous artist is not too badly written. I sincerely feel, at the bottom of my heart, that it has near-zero original content. But, as a reference tool, it has something going on. And, as time progressed, my search rank for that post and the image of Galaxy, by JP, began to rank as number one at Google. That is reality, as we count it in computer land. Hello, manna from cyberspace!

I quickly updated it to represent my current format for posts, and added the Pollock dripping paint vid from You Tube. And (you'd do this too, I hope) then I added a couple of big, fat links back to this blog at the top of the post.

All those hits, and a dollar, will now buy me a cup of coffee downtown. Don't hate me, outright, for my good luck, friend. Just hope that Google throws you a bone now and then.

Casey Klahn

abacus photo by chicobangs/photobucket.
Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism