Monday, March 31, 2008

"Reclining Carrots," 6x8, oil on canvas board

Connie Kleinjans fine artI have a Jack Russell Terrier puppy on my lap, which is making it hard to type, so I won't say much except that I just had to paint these once I saw all their colors.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Tulip," 8x6, oil on canvas board

Connie Kleinjans fine art
I love saturated colors, but to paint well you really need to learn how to use neutrals. They (whoever that is) say that as an artist matures, he or she moves from the saturated to the more subtle colors. That's a bit too broad a statement, but I get the point. And, yes, I know I have artistic maturing to do.

On this one, I wanted to try more subtle, darker colors, and I wanted to practice painting glass. FWIW, the glass is actually vertical, straight up and down, but I thought the rounded shape looked better. What the heck, this is my universe I'm creating.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bike Gears (in progress), and an Eric Maisel exercise

I'm painting this one for a friend who rides bikes a lot. I told him about this concept and he seemed intrigued. Fortunately, we both like intense colors. This is not one of my fruit or flowers paintings. All honor to them, they've been painted for millenia for perfectly good reasons. But I like that this is pushing me to stretch a bit. By the way, this is canvas taped to a board. I'll be cropping and stretching it later.

I enjoy how this mixes realism with abstract. In fact, I'm feeling drawn to more abstract work recently, and when I look at paintings from long ago (I had a break in my painting) I see some hints of them in what's coming out. I guess that's part of finding your voice.

I was reading into Fearless Creating by Eric Maisel, Ph.D. (Tarcher/Putnam 1995) and encountered this:

Trance and Untrance

High joy is to enter into the trance of working with a rich, clear idea (or in rich relationship to the work-to-be), and then work effortlessly, entranced, until, hours later, you merge with an increment of work completely done, whole, intact, unmarred, right, beautiful.

Doesn't that sound nice? Isn't it amazing when you can reach that point? The exercise goes on:

... Practice in the following way. Get some paper, an ink wash, and a brush. Hush, hold, and begin to meet the paper, but with your eyes shut. Feel entranced, follow an idea, work with no idea. Work until your self-consciousness evaporates.

Now ready yourself to stop. In this readying moment, you must watch your self-talk, for most people prepare in this pre-appraising moment to criticize themselves. Hold the following affirmation: "I am happy to look." Look. Look both gently and firmly. Is it a mess? Fine. Is there an amazing accident, a handful of strokes like a beautiful crane? Fine. Either result is all right.

Count to ten and as you count make a decision, whether you will work on the crane or whether you will toss away this sheet of paper. Count with an easy and not a heavy heart; either decision is fine. Do not frighten yourself by saying, "If I touch the crane, I'll ruin it." Do not harm yourself by saying, "I certainly screwed that up." Hold that you want to return to the trance of working because you love it there.

At the count of ten, work again. Recover your trance state. Practice this exercise as many times as you can. It is vitally important that you learn how to recover this trance state and return to work, even after you have looked the work in the eye.

I haven't read the whole book but I like this. I like it because I don't take time to play. I find myself always painting for someone else, for eBay, for my blog. Going public is a two-edged sword (most swords are two edged): You want the accountability and the feedback and support, but you also get performance anxiety. Somewhere in there you need to figure out what's true for you.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Reach for the Sky," 6x8, oil on canvas board

Connie Kleinjans fine art
Oh, I feel silly tonight, or this morning. The title of this piece reminds me of this story. I just love the line "Freeze mother stickers! This is a f#@k up!" Makes me giggle.

Anyway, I've done a few paintings in the last couple of weeks that I haven't posted. There are two that I flat out dislike, so they're staying on a side shelf. I might try to do something creative with them. I haven't posted the others just because of feeling kind of busy, and also with working on a commission (more later). But this is the same anemone I posted on March 3, only with X-treme perspective. Sometimes I like loud.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

"Pear Halves on a Scarf," 6x8, oil on canvas board

I seem to be painting fruit halves on plates. A friend gave us some oranges, and that started me looking around at the grocery store. The thing that's kind of a kick about this one is that the focal items (the pear halves) have the least intensity. The plate and the scarf are much more saturated.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

"Orange Halves," 6x8, oil on canvas board

Connie Kleinjans painting: Orange HalvesOccasionally I do this weird thing. I'm working up close to the canvas and putting in a lot of detail. Then, at some point, I back up and look at how it feels, and it's too busy. I then go in and brush over some of the detail -- I undo some of what I've done -- and it looks better. Some people paint detail and it works. Others do so, and it doesn't. I'm not sure it's accuracy so much as a sense of mastery. Little futzy strokes don't convey certainty. Clean, strong, confident strokes do. I think. Maybe there are people who do the futzing and come out fine. I don't know. I'm still working on this idea.

Monday, March 3, 2008

"Anemones," 6x8", oil on canvas board

Connie Kleinjans painting: AnemonesTwo things coincided: I picked up this delightful little white vase at a nearby store, and I found these anoemones with a color that can burn holes in your retinas. It seemed like a match made in heaven, and even gave me the chance to explore painting white on white. Sort of. Hey, white actually has lots of colors in it. Check it out. I find it interesting that the shadows on the white vase look a little like watercolor, don't they?

I'm reading into Japonism. This might have elements of that: the oblique angle, the composition that isn't perfectly centered. More when I feel like it!