Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Rift" (7 of 25)

Connie Kleinjans fine art, Rift, 8x8, acrylic and mixed media on board

8x8", acrylic and mixed media on board, NFS

(#7 of 25 for the 20/20 show) Wow. I just looked at this and realized I should have called in Yin Yang. Although it also has a look of a pool of lava. As I recall, I got the texture that you see on the right in the middle by spreading a thin layer of gesso, then laying some plastic wrap on it and peeling it off. Lots of transparent paint in the pools, and opaque paint on the ridges between them.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Moonfall" (6 of 25)

Connie Kleinjans fine art, Moonfall, 8x8 acrylic and mixed media on board

8x8", acrylic and mixed media on board, SOLD

(#6 of 25 for the 20/20 show) This one had more washes and quieter colors than others. And it continued the technique of putting down patching paste and pushing mesh into it. And using metallic gold, which never photographs well.

So I'm doing some experimenting. As you might know, I like to play with effects using hardware store supplies. They work, they're cheap, and they can be long lasting if you choose material used on house exteriors. But official painting supplies can be nice, too. They're way more expensive, but can give you a different effect. So it depends on what you want. For instance, if I want to cover a lot of area with texture, I don't want to worry about cost, and Golden pumice gels are expensive! But I might find a specific application where Golden products works better.

Here's an example. I'm testing cocktail umbrellas. Seriously, I want to see how to attach them to a board. (Maybe I should post pictures of this.) So I tried five substances. Four of them hold quite well.

One interesting comparison was patching paste vs. Golden's hard molding paste. And I like the molding paste better. Why? Because it dries transparent. I also tried matte gel and like that, too, since it dries transparent. The patching paste and heavy gesso (I get Utrecht in big buckets, so it's cheap) work well, but dry white. That could be useful if you want to paint over the cocktail umbrellas, though. Maybe next I'll try clear gesso.

So, yep, it depends on what you want.

I still haven't experimented enough with tinting the material before I use it. Maybe that's next.

Friday, March 26, 2010

"Center of Buoyancy" (5 of 25)

Connie Kleinjans abstract, Center of Buoyance, 8x8 acrylic and mixed media

8x8", acrylic and mixed media on board

(#5 of 25 for the 20/20 show) When I do one of these abstracts and put down the texture material, it becomes another element in the painting, of course. But how much of an element it becomes differs depending on the painting. It can be a smaller element and add depth and interest, or it can drive the whole composition. This was one of the latter. I had two arch shapes, not parallel, and they were assertive enough that I couldn't just use them to make drippies or highlights. Hence the bold gold in the middle. Also, this might have been the painting where I fell in love with the crepuscular blue. ("Crepuscular" refers to that glowing blue light in the air just at dusk.)

Funny to think that all the artists' paintings are due at the gallery today. I imagine that the gallery is a madhouse. And I find my memory of the painting period is like a like a series of arcs with different forces behind them. There was the trajectory where I played with plaster gauze, where I added a lot of effects with brushwork (tingeing with gold, bleeding colors around edges), where I added egg shells (those went into two paintings).

One arc was referred to in the blog of Rebecca Crowell, who came out here for a workshop last year. She wrote of how, sometimes, you just love this beautiful little portion of a painting, but it's detracting from the whole. You paint around it for awhile, try to incorporate it, try to bend the rest of the composition to make it work, but you can't. In the end, you paint over it. She said the phrase for that is "Sometimes you have to kill the little darlings." It's a kind of uncomfortable phrase, but so accurate. It repeats a lot for my abstracts.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Alien Seascape" (4 of 25)

Connie Kleinjans abstract, Alien Seascape, 8x8, acrylic and mixed media on board

8x8", acrylic and mixed media on board

(#4 of 25) One of the fun things about small works is that they can have a lot of punch and get away with it. If you did a big painting with rough textures, and wild purples, oranges, and golds, it would probably be too much. And speaking o too much, I had hesitated to use metallic paint, since it seems to put you in danger of looking like decoration rather than art. But I like it. It does good things.

Another thing I'm enjoying is figuring out the little tweaks. Like this one: An eyedropper full of paint (watered down) lets me add drops to my paintings. That's nice. A way to add an effect. But the effect is different depending on whether I drop the paint on a smooth surface, rough surface, or wet surface. And whether the paint is watered down a little or a lot. Thicker paint dropped into or dragged through a thin wash creates a different effect than if the two paints have the same viscosity.

OK, that's the lesson for today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Unruly" (3 of 25)

Connie Kleinjans abstract art, Unruly, 8x8 acrylic and mixed media on board

8x8", acrylic and mixed media on board

(#3 of 25) The next painting for the 20/20 Show. I think this one surprised me. I was looking for more subdued colors, but the painting came out really dynamic, like D-Day on the beach or some such. I wasn't trying to do that.

One thing that was fun (and that you'll see again) is that I put down the patching compound and then pushed the grid into it. The compound, of course, oozed up through the grid. It's a cool effect in itself, but then I can paint the high parts one color and bleed another into the cracks.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"Swept" (2 of 25)

Connie Kleinjans, Swept, 8x8 mixed media on board

8x8", acrylic and mixed media on board, SOLD

(#2 of 25) I got the paintings delivered to the 20th Street Art Gallery in Sacramento. As I hoped, the drive was quicker on a Saturday: Only 2 1/2 hours each way. They had asked us to choose a painting to frame (at cost), and the guy at the gallery said "Wow!" when we first looked at a candidate. I love those little off-the-cuff remarks. Maybe I love them better than the planned statements, since they're usually emotional. I even think this one was honest. And I think we chose good framing colors to go with the piece.

This piece was one of several that look like they're under water. I think it's the paint color: It's Pthalo turquoise, and your eyes just want to drink it.

And now the paintings are delivered and I no longer have an external driver. It's sort of like when I do shows. Afterwards I almost have post-partum depression. So I'm tidying up my studio and getting ready for the next step. And also handling things that didn't get handled during the Last Big Push.

Must. Get. Going...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Phosphorescence" (1 of 25)

 Connie Kleinjans, Phosphorescence, 8x8 mixed media on board

8x8", acrylic and mixed media on board

#1 of 25. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was accepted into a show at the 20th Street Art Gallery in Sacramento. That's about a three-hour drive from me, here in Northern California. The concept of the show is to display twenty works at the 20th Street gallery, so it's called their 20/20 show. It opens April 7 and closes May 29. So they asked the artists to create 25 works of art and sold us boards at cost. They've put together blog pages for the artists. Here is mine, with the initial eight paintings they asked us for. Cool.

So I've been working on the rest of 25. (They're actually due next Friday, but I'm trying to avoid rush hour by driving there on a weekend.) And that brings up another piece of the Life of an Artist: As with any pursuit, parts are about dotting the T's and crossing the I's. :) In developing these paintings, I've been tracking which ones were done (or almost done, but I wanted to play with some more). I also tracked the other steps: a couple of layers of varnish, glossy or matte or a mix; initialing them on the front, and on the back putting a title (those can be hard to come up with), my name and signature, the painting number and the year; taking pictures of them and cleaning up the pictures in Photoshop; packaging them for the drive to the gallery; doing the drive; blogging. Later, with luck, some sales, then I drive up to fetch the ones that didn't sell, and maybe post pictures of them on my web site, maybe sell some, so I'd package and ship them. Then taxes. Of course, this is why artists have assistants.

And speaking of tasks, I need to look over my artist's statement, since I need to update that, too.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Connie Kleinjans, Heirlooms, 20x20 oil on canvas 
20x20x1.5", oil on gallery-wrapped canvas

So, I'm really lucky: I have three painting spaces.  Upstairs in my study I have a box on a platform I can raise and lower and light any way I want, so I do my small still lifes. In the basement I have a huge table and tall easel and it's OK to be messy, so I do my abstracts. And I have space at Gallery 2611. I've been casting about for the right kind of work to do there, and I think it's the right environment for doing the more thoughtful work that develops slowly.

This was one example. I had done a small 8x8 version of this, and liked it, and I still had the source image. So I started it at the gallery. One fun thing is that, when I enter, I come in a doorway where I see what's on my easel from some twenty feet. It's always a surprise, and can be quite illuminating. I'm making big changes to my current painting based on that element of surprise.

And speaking of source images (I did, you know), I guess I'm still a doofus with the camera. I can't seem to take pictures of things I set up with perfect lighting. I have a lot more luck taking pictures of things in natural light, as in this example. When I set things up, the colors are burnt out and overexposed, and the shapes have gone fisheye.

I'm also still working on the 25 paintings due on March 26. It's coming up quickly! More later.