31 January, 2012

Snow Day

Snow Day
 6x9, Pastel.
informal record w iPhone
Casey Klahn

This is my farm in eastern Washington.  We no longer grow Barley here, but old terms die hard.  This year, like most of the US, we had very little snow.  I did capture this one day, though.

28 January, 2012

Jackson Pollock Would Be 100 Today


Today, of all days, you can give yourself permission to go out to the studio and make a huge mess, step in it, and basically cut loose!

Jackson Pollock was born 100 years ago today in Cody, Wyoming, to Presbyterian Irish and Scotch-Irish farmers.  He changed the world.

Telegraph Article on the centenary of Pollock's birth.

What follows is my research post on Jackson Pollock, which has been beviraled by Google and utilized by thousands of university students as a starting point for their studies.

Galaxy, 1947Jackson Pollock

This post was originally published in 2007. It gets enough attention that I brought it up to date.

See also The Jackson Pollock Researcher for the comprehensive and current links on Jackson Pollock.

Originality was the hallmark of Jackson Pollock's art. He found a way to both connect with, and yet break free of whatever else had been happening with art. It's a little hard to appreciate the originality of Pollock from our high horse of retrospection. I liken it to some of my experiences with rock climbing. Sure, a particular rock climb will have a difficulty rating and a status as severe or hard, but when you go to climb it, you feel that it isn't as hard as described. Well, put yourself in the sticky shoes of the very first ascensionist. What was the experience like for him?

So, imagine the first "pure" abstraction. How does one completely eliminate the subject from a painting? The Abstract Expressionists often likened abstract painting to getting "in touch" with your inner child, because children draw and paint with freedom and innocence. I argued with that comparison until I had my own children picking up pencils and crayons. Now, I completely believe in the childlike aspects of abstract visual expression. Now, I just have to work out my objections to the "primitive man" comparisons to painting abstraction.

My own experience with abstraction took place when I took a workshop from Diane Townsend, who happens to be a great abstractionist with ties to New York and my hero Wolf Kahn.

How do you begin painting abstractly? Townsend unlocked that door for me, and before noon on the first day I was having a great time painting "nothing". I hope to continue my exploration of abstraction in the near future. It actually can be one of the hardest styles to paint in and make anything really good. My abstracts can be seen here and here.

Let's follow some link paths for Jackson Pollock.

Steven Naifeh and Greg Smith have written a Pulitzer prize winning biography titled: Jackson Pollock, An American Saga. I have some serious misgivings about it's historicity, but suffice it to say that it seems to be the "go to" book now for looking at his life. Ed Harris brings it to our attention in his comments about his movie about the keen artist.

Harris also thinks Pollock may have been manic-depressive. Of course, my first inclination would be to look up the paperwork on his 4-F status, just in case that might reveal something about a diagnosis of this or something similar. I guess he also saw therapists, and the records from that probably reveal something, too. Shades of van Gogh.

Pollock's Studio Floor

Don't miss the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in East Hampton (Long Island). This small property with rustic facilities was purchased by Pollock and Krasner with help from Peggy Guggenheim, who was Pollock's "super-patron". It was here that Pollock began his drip paintings, and you may visit this museum and walk on the floor where his drips are preserved. Could these be considered accidents?

I recommend the Pollock bio written by the director of the P-K House, Helen Harrison.

There is a Pollock-Krasner Foundation, which I think is a very classy move by the late Lee Krasner, who was left as a widow by her drunken and cheating genius-artist husband. Trying to figure out what made Krasner's relationship with Pollock tick is an exercise in head-trips that some may enjoy. We'll look at the wonderful Krasner a little later in our Abstract Expressionist study this month.

The National Gallery of Art in DC has a good site about the old boy. A quick look at his process is seen in this GIF - Video. Here's a Quicktime featurette of a Hans Namuth film of the Camel-smoking curmudgeon at his task of working a horizontal canvas.

I have to limit the scope of JP references found at the Museum of Modern Art, since they are numerous. Man, this stuff is knee-deep. How does one have an "itinerant childhood"? Uh, never mind the MoMA for now...

Of course, my favorite site for Jackson Pollock is the fun and interactive "Create Your Own" Jackson Pollock by Milos Manetas. It's an ingenious flash page where you drip "paint" on your CRT screen. Of course, you don't control the color - those come as accidents. My only advice is cut loose, don't stay inside the frame, and don't stop too soon!

Links referenced above:

27 January, 2012

Henri Roche Pastels

 A little box has arrived from Paris, France.

 12 Half Sticks Discovery Set plus 3 Sticks.

My report is forthcoming.  I'll be in the studio till then.

26 January, 2012

A Little Box Has Arrived

The Postmaster says she has a box for me to pick up.  It's from Paris, France!

La Marseillaise.

I will definitely have something exciting to blog about tomorrow...


25 January, 2012

Room at the Workshop for Two More

See Differently. Authenticity & Your Art.

PSA member artist and author of The Colorist blog, Casey Klahn, will be teaching his workshop in Morristown, NJ, March 17th & 18th, 2012. See Differently. Authenticity & Your Art. 

Contact ArtSpace Studio, Julie Gridinsky Friedman, to secure one of the 2 spaces remaining. A waiting list will be started for this workshop when it fills. Also, the workshop on the 15th & 16th is full. Contact Julie to be added to a wait list.

23 January, 2012

Rivers Abstract Well, Don't You Think?

A Riverside
6" x 4"
Casey Klahn

iPhone Photo

This pastel painting started out as one thing, and then I turned it upside down to check the composition.  It looked better, so I kept it that way.

12 January, 2012

Interior Sketch

Barn Interior Color Sketch
7" x 6"
Casey Klahn

Just thinking out loud.  In color.

10 January, 2012

Is It Art?


First published October, 2011.
Is It Art?

Wolf Kahn said, "Each painting has its own dignity, its own requirements."

"But the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old: 'It's clever, but is it Art?'" Rudyard Kipling.

"The air one sees in the paintings of the masters is not the air one breathes." Edgar Degas.

"Why don't you bore a hole in yourself and let the sap run out?"  Groucho Marx. 

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer.

Fauvist Forest, Casey Klahn

"To sum up, I work without a theory. I am conscious above all of the forces involved, and find myself driven forward by an idea that I can really only grasp bit by bit as it grows with the picture." Henri Matisse.

"Always do whatever's next." George Carlin.

"Information is cheap, meaning is expensive."  George Dyson.

"I found that I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way -- things I had no words for." Georgia O’Keeffe.

"A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to." Banksy.

"Each new situation requires a new architecture." Jean Nouvel.

Pierre Bonnard said, "There is also submission to the picture."

This page, and other quotes pages, are available for free download here.

09 January, 2012

Small Works in the Studio

I'm in the studio making lots of small works, and a few medium ones, too.

05 January, 2012

March 15, 16 / 17, 18, 2012 Workshops

Never look at your artwork the same way again.  
See Differently.  Authenticity & Your Art.

Offering two workshops in New Jersey, in the New York City area.  To be specific,  my See Differently workshop will be taught in Morristown, NJ in March, at the studio of Julie Friedman.  The dates are: March 15, 16 and March 17, 18, 2012.  More info here.
Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism