Monday, March 16, 2009


Connie Kleinjans contemporary art
NFS. 30 x 40 x 1.5", acrylic and mixed media on stretched canvas

The composition for this came to me while I was hiking, when I saw some cracked rocks. Of course, although I started with that notion, the painting developed a mind of its own. (Maybe they all do.) And as it developed, it contradicted a guideline I have that I've mentioned before: Mostly I find paintings are better if they're simpler. But when I had finished the textured underpainting, it was too simple. It needed something else. So I just added some shapes. I was a little concerned about them, since they're so, well, stark. But it felt right. One of my favorite parts is on the leftmost "rock," where I glazed in some yellow, then dripped the white paint through it whilst it was still wet. It picked up some of the yellow, and it's a cool effect.

So, I had an interesting discussion with a friend today (on IM). Two interesting points he made about abstracts were these:
  1. People viewing a painting seem always to make figurative stuff out of pure abstractions.
  2. And there's a strong desire to see something personal. It's the self-referential tendency.
Then he thanked all available dieties for the name Untitled. There was more, but I especially enjoyed those points. And the one where he encouraged me to trust my instincts.

Speaking of instincts, I used to be told that I thought too much. Could be. I have an obsessive streak. But I think that what came across as thinking was actually me trying to feel my way to an answer, and talking about it -- articulating my feelings -- helped. But the articulating seemed too cerebral, hence the "you think too much."

So, what, you might ask, does "Rondus" mean? I believe I found it in the derivation of a word meaning "round." And it felt right. I mean (and I kind of hate to admit this), my initial thought was that I should entitle this painting "The Jellyfish and the Moon." It's almost charming, but "Rondus" is better.


  1. I think with these abstracts it's best to title them with vague words. Jellyfish and Moon would have been too descriptive. My personal opinion.

    I've been liking your titles very much.
    And I'm especially fond of the effect you achieved by dripping white paint over the yellow glaze.

  2. Hi Silvi. Yeah, a specific name might be too forceful. Better to leave a little room so viewers can find their own meaning. And this is a funny piece. Almost too specific, although one friend really likes the sense of flow in it. Abstracts are funny. And do keep sharing your opinion. It's so cool to hear what different people think.

  3. I just read something Lucy Lippard wrote in her book Overlay--that "abstract symbols not based on shared cultural understanding lose their power." Goes back to the self-referential comment that your friend made I think. With a circle--there is no one "shared" meaning certainly, but it resonates with different meanings, so there are both personal and more universal associations.

  4. Rebecca, I've noticed that there are certain primitive shapes that we seem to absorb at a more primitive level, hence their use in symbology. I would think they can be co-opted, too, as when we see a triangle, point down, and think of the Yield sign. Thanks for giving me things to think about. And I liked your blog!