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.


  1. Keep experimenting until you find what it is you want to put onto paper. That's what I do. It does waste a lot of paper and paint because I tear up a lot of art but I find it is happening less and less.

  2. Yes! If you want it to be true and authentic, what else can you do? Thanks for the encouragement.