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.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Connie Kleinjans contemporary art30x40x1.5, acrylic and multimedia on stretched canvas

This painting instantly became a favorite. It has mood and depth. I named it Abyss because it reminds me of being under water, and the filtered light you see when you look up. Trite? Maybe. Was the movie long ago enough? Anyway, while developing it I had worked on a really textured underpainting, and it just wasn't right. Then I remembered the Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS) rule. So I schlepped it up on my easel and had at it with my puddles of paint and rags and eye droppers, and even a brush or two. The more I simplified, the more I liked it. The orange and yellow parts left of center are about all that's left of the underpainting. Finally, not sure if it felt done, I rotated it to see it with different sides up (this is hard for realism painters to do). Once I got to this orientation I had that sudden "Yes!" feeling. Don't you love that bubble of excitement that rises through your solar plexis? (Of course, it doesn't do as much for my husband, which is useful to keep in mind.)

I haven't been able to paint as much recently. As I mentioned, I'm preparing to apply to a gallery or two. I don't have a lot of abstracts yet, but the number is growing. I've also been working on a web site; it will have a subset of the paintings here, since I don't know that I need to maintain two sites as exhaustively as I do this one. And I've been assembling an artist's statement and business cards and I'm working on a brochure. So, busy.

I had lunch with a wonderful plein air painter named Sandy Ostrau, who lives not far from me. Check her stuff out. It has great use of brushstroke and color, and she does that simplicity thing just wonderfully by doing a series of paintings in which she eliminates unnecessary detail. (Sounds like Strunk & White: "Omit needless words!") It actually makes me want to try redoing a few still lifes to see if I can simplify. This is a bit of a surprise, but not a shock. What I'm learning is that in making art you have to do what feels right.

If anyone has any hints on artist's statement, I could use them. Mine is a bit melodramatic right now.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Connie Kleinjans contemporary artSOLD 20 x 24 x 0.75" acrylic and mixed media on stretched canvas

This one became lava pretty much by itself. I was looking at the work of Brian Rutenberg, who does wonderful glowing paintings, and decided to try the technique on warm colors. Yeah, lava is pretty warm. I'm thinking of doing another piece sort of like it, but in cool colors to see what they say.

Well, I've spent a bunch of recent days battling simultaneously with two paintings that were fighters (as I call them). I brought one to a reasonable conclusion and will post it in the next few days. The other is on my wall, girding its loins for another battle. Then, of course, I did something that painted itself. More later.

In other news, I'm considering approaching one or two coop galleries around here (Silicon Valley). Does anyone have any experience with those? They sound wonderfully participatory, once you're in (it's a jury process). They ask you to pay monthly dues, staff the gallery one day a month, and occasionally do other tasks such as hanging shows or whatever you're good at. In return, at least one of your pieces is on display at all times, and they do promotions and shows. If they sell something, they take 30% rather than 50%. It sounds like a good way to learn about galleries, and I also figure it would be good to meet other artists, since I keep whining about how solitary it is high up on my mountain. So, any input is welcome.