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.


  1. Looks like you've been having a lot of fun with these abstracts. Are you abandoning realism or just taking a break?

  2. Hi Diana. Thanks for dropping by. Actually, I have no idea what my plans are vis a vis realism and still lifes. I'm learning to go by what feels right, and right now the abstracts feel right. But I have a hankerin' to try reductionsim painting (I made that up) with a still life: paint it again, eliminating all unnecessary details. And again after that, simplifying even more. Might love it. Might not. :)

  3. After your comment on my blog I am totally jealous! You've gotten to travel to all those wonderful places AND sample their sushi! I bet Tokyo did have the best. I would go there in a heart beat if I could. Sadly, my husband doesn't like sushi and with our tight budget right now I haven't had any in almost a year. *Sniff*

    BTW - Sandy's work is amazing!

    I think the title for this is very appropriate. When I look at it I feel enveloped by it. Lovely, really lovely!

    Best of luck with the galleries, I hope they love your work as much as I do.

    Oh, and one of the art associations I belong to gave us a questionnaire to fill out that is suppose to help develop an artist statement. If you want me to email you the form let me know.

  4. Hi Connie,

    You asked about the texture of the sushi painting. It's a recycled canvas so, it's gesso over an unsuccessful painting which gave it lots of bumps.

  5. I'm new to viewing your blog, but am enjoying your abstracts very much. You do have that most important element--from the gut.

    I also went to your website and read your artist's statement. Your first paragraph says it all! What you've written comes from the heart and that expression jumps from the words to the reader. It doesn't appear melodramatic in the least. Maybe that's all you need.

    Best of luck!

  6. Hi Melinda. Wow, thank you! Thanks for the kind comment on my paintings and also for the input on the statement. It kind of seemed like it might be too over-the-top. I'm glad that it conveys something real.

    I dropped by your site! Nice work! I'll be looking through it some more.

  7. Kim, you're a doll! Thanks for the file and information you sent, and for the wishes on approaching galleries. Some things are hard for those of us who are initially shy.

  8. i enjoy browsing through your work and writings- like a nice walk in the art gallery.

    will come back and visit you soon..

    from One Day at a time/

  9. Hi Silver. Thanks for your kind words. I sometimes thing I talk (write) too much. I guess I have a philosophical bent. Your blogs are lovely (and touching).