Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Still Life with Cherries"

Connie Kleinjans still life10x8", oil on canvas board

OK, yeah, this is getting closer to a more interesting painting done in non-realistic colors. Note that, as I mentioned in my last post, the items themselves need to have some of the local color of the item. I think. Would these still look like cherries if they were all blue? And the guidelines for painting still apply, of course. Things like having the focal point away from the middle, having some rest areas as a break from the dynamic areas.

I went looking for a book on how to use nonrepresentational color, and I couldn't really find one. I'm looking into the Fauvists, especially Matisse and Vlaminck. The closest current book I could find was Brilliant Color by Julie Gilbert Pollard. She does, indeed, use intense colors. Where I might differ philosophically from her is in having a dominant and focal color. The colors in this painting are blue-green, white, and alizarin crimson. It's rather cold, with a little warmth in the plate.

I've been feeling recently like I need to have more of a concept when I create a painting. Last night I was looking at some of my still lifes from a year ago, and I discovered that, whether I knew it or not, I did, indeed, have a concept. Leaned against books on the bookshelf to my right I can see paintings where I explored seeing shapes through colored glass, how a glass vase looks with a highlight hitting the inside of it, how different the colors of tomatoes can be, and how to do a traditional still life but add sunglasses. This is kind of liberating. I'll have to go look at my abstracts.

So, at the moment I don't know how to classify myself as a painter. I also don't know if I need to. What the heck.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Odd Orange Out"

Connie Kleinjans Still Lifes8x10", oil on canvas panel

A college art teacher once said to me, "Connie, when are you going to stop experimenting?" My amazed response was, "Never!" Now, I know what he meant: At some point it's good to choose a specialty and pursue it, specialize in it, become expert at it. But I just don't seem to be able to do that. At least, not yet. The subtitle of this blog is "Painting What Feels Right." In an earlier post I think I spoke of the amazing selfishness of art: You can't paint from someone else's vision or perspective. Well, you can try to channel them, but hey. So the only thing you can do is to stick with what's authentic. And you get to define that.

So, I recently saw some Fauvist style paintings and became fascinated with wacky color. I also remembered a truism I've heard: "If you get the value right, you can paint it any color you want." Wow. Color doesn't matter, value does? OK, we know this, right? What if you push it?

So I did. First I did the apple study, below. Then I did the oranges, above. (I like that painting better, so it's at the top.) It reminded me of the still lifes I was doing a year or two ago, but with strange colors.

Connie Kleinjans fine art"Apple Study," 8x10" oil on canvas panel

What did I find? Well, I'm still figuring it out, but I think I discovered a few things:
  • Color matters a little. Like, in the painting of oranges, it did need some orange color. As it is, it could very well be pink grapefruit.
  • A digital camera is really, really handy. Yes, I have a piece of red acetate, but that darkens everything. The digital camera isn't perfect but it does give good value data.
  • I'm able to loosen up a lot if I paint this way. It's way fun.
I'm noticing a lack of neutrals in these and many Fauvist paintings. I'm wondering where that will go.

OK, back to the topic at hand: Should I specialize? Maybe some day. I feel like I'm collecting a wide variety of tools and means of expression, and that maybe at some point I'll find a concept that I stick with for a long time. At the moment, though, all I can do is what is right for me. And these are fun.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Connie Kleinjans abstracts9x12x1.5, oil and cold wax on couched hardwood

My mojo is back. Or at least within reach. You know what I mean? You can feel it out there, and you just might have a hold on it. I'm not quite sure yet, since I'm coming back after some excitement (OK, tenth wedding anniversary trip to Paris) (and some other stuff), but things are starting to gel again. I'm playing with the cold wax techniques from the workshop (see my summer posts) as well as my prior methods. Soon I'll start to meld them.

Meanwhile, this is another painting from that workshop. I love purple and green (OK, greenish-yellow) together and this also has some delicious texture. After I got it to a point I liked, I burnished it. That removed lost some of the intensity from the color, so I went back in and boosted that. Still learning, still playing.

I'm also having some serious fun playing with intense textures, and I'll post some of those soon. Nice to be back.

(I'm probably not supposed to use words like "mojo," am I? I mean, I'm a middle-aged white-bread type. But it felt right.)