Friday, April 30, 2010

"Succulent" (14 of 25)

Connie Kleinjans fine art, Succulent, 8x8, mixed media on board

8x8", acrylic and mixed media on board

(#14 of 25 for the 20/20 show) The name for this one came out of the colors, which are primarily a really rich burgundy and green. The diagonal patch in the lower right corner is fabric; specifically part of a T-shirt. And there are the eggshells. I made very sure they were firmly planted in patching material, so they're on there pretty tight. This might be the most media I've ever combined in one painting.

Monday, April 26, 2010

"The Great Wave" (13 of 25)

Connie Kleinjans fine art, The Great Wave, 8x8, mixed media on board

8x8", acrylic and mixed media on board

(#13 of 25 for the 20/20 show) For the paintings I did in this series, I put down the texture material and then added color. I'm doing experiments now where I add color to the texture material and apply it, then go in and paint some more. It's a little more organic, actually.

For this one, the curling shape demanded a bright focal point. That curling shape just needed to embrace something.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Toward the Light" (12 of 25)

Connie Kleinjans fine art, Toward the Light, 8x8, mixed media on board
8x8", acrylic and mixed media on board

(#12 of 25 for the 20/20 show) So the interesting thing about this one is that it has brown eggshells in it. (For some reason, I love brown eggs.) Anyway, I'd washed some shells and had them sitting in a bowl, for months I think, and decided I'd try using them. Also, I like the patterns made by eggshells when you flatten them. So I placed these in the texture material and pushed down on them with a small board (OK, a 4x4" piece of gessoed masonite), and got a cool pattern.

For what it's worth, I think most art manufacturers put anti-mold, and possibly anti-bacterial, ingredients in their products. Why else wouldn't they go bad sooner?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Connie Kleinjans fine art, Wrench, 18x24,oil on canvas

18x25x0.75", oil on canvas

I think I've started a new series. I blame the book Expressive Drawing, by Steven Aimone. At his workshops, he has an exercise where the students alternate between these activities:
  • Automatic drawing: With large pieces of paper stuck to a wall, the students take a drawing tool like charcoal, conte crayon, or brushes, and they do automatic drawing. It looks a lot like scribbling in the samples in the book.
  • Painting over: At some point, Aimone calls out "Obliterate!" or "Veil!" The students stand back and take a look at their painting, then take a brush and white paint and start going over parts of it, leaving what they find intriguing or satisfying.
Repeat. As Aimone says, "...keep this processing of things going until nothing else occurs to you to do—or until you really love what you see."

I decided to do this in oil paint. I got out a canvas and my oil sticks, set up some brushes and paint thinner and color shapers. And I started scribbling. I went on pure impulse for color, scribble patterns, pace, and all that. When I felt like it, I switched to the paint and thinner. I went back and forth arbitrarily and capriciously until it felt done. Until I had no more to say. Behold the outcome.

So, what did I learn?
  • It's fun and really instinctive. Felt right.
  • And yet, you do end up following guidelines for composition: focal point, contrast, color identity (more on color identity below).
  • Oil sticks can make cool marks. Scribbly, like crayons.
  • So can color shapers. I need to get the narrow one.
And I like this painting. Mind you, I don't think it's "pretty." But there's something organic and energetic about it. Authentic. Loose.

I've been doing more paintings in this format, with mixed results. There was one where I tried to be impressionistic, tried to convey the feeling of a sunset. But it looks too contrived. I keep trying to go into a painting with an intent to convey something, and it doesn't seem to work. There's some sort of connection I'm looking to find, and can't seem to make it work. Maybe I should just surrender to the process.

Anyway, I'll be posting more of these.

OK. So, earlier I mentioned "color identity." It's that theory in art where a piece needs to tell you what it is. In regards to color, it means you need to identify a dominant color. If you don't establish one, people will find the painting lacking, and might be confused. And not in an interesting way.

And my thanks to Rebecca Crowell for things I learned in her workshop last year. Certainly I had never used color shapers and oil crayons before, but I also found myself making marks in other ways that we used in the workshop.

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Input Circuit" (11 of 25)

 Connie Kleinjans fine art, Input Circuit, 8x8, acrylic and mixed media on board
 8x8", acrylic and mixed media on board

This one has been reworked. See this page.

(#11 of 25 for the 20/20 show) I like the palette on this one.This is not a combination of colors I normally use. And I'm working on using more neutrals, so the brown was out of my normal patter. This is also quite gestural. I put down the texture material in big strokes (well, for an 8x8 painting) and then followed what it did.

I've been playing with oil sticks recently. (Yep, I'm back to oils.) It's fun. It's another way to get an interesting texture, since they leave a scribbly mark, sort of like crayons. I also just ordered some open acrylics, so we'll see where that goes. So much stuff to play with!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Mother Lode" (10 of 25)

8x8", acrylic and mixed media on board
(#10 of 25 for the 20/20 show) The show opened this last Wednesday, April 7, and runs until May 29. And a kind person stopped by the show, bought a piece, looked me up and left a comment. People can be so cool. Thanks!

So, back to this painting. I think it was the first one where I really layed on the texture material heavily, especially in the lower right quadrant. Here, let me show you from an angle:

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

Does that help? You can see how thick the board is, and get a feel for the chunkiness of the gold.

I was able to do this because these are board rather than canvas. I'd mostly been painting on canvases, and they flex, which means the material could crack and fall off (I have not yet had this happen). But this is 3/8" composite, so it will support thicker material. In fact, since then I've been playing with the notion of adding found objects to the paintings. I love found art. We'll see.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Eyewitness" (9 of 25)

8x8", acrylic and mixed media on board
(#9 of 25 for the 20/20 show) So, the white stuff is Liquitex string gel. I certainly don't have the hang of it. In fact, I didn't like the way it went down, so I mushed it around. I kind of liked the organic quality of the mush, so I left it. Isn't it funny, how I like organic art, and manipulate things until they look organic? I wrestle with this.

And the show opened today. Woohoo! I am in a quandary about seeing the show. It's 2 1/2 or 3 hours away, and I've driven there twice and will have to go a third time to pick up unsold paintings after the show ends. I'd like to see the show live, but, man, that's a lot of effort!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Seek the Depths" (8 of 25)

Connie Kleinjans, Seek the Depths, 8x8 mixed media on board

8x8", acrylic and mixed media on board

(#8 of 25 for the 20/20 show) Oops. Sorry. I was renaming things, and this one got out without any commentary from me. And we know how important that is!

This one reminds me of Edmund Dulac's illustration for The Little Mermaid. You can see it on this page, on the right, if you scroll down a bit. I almost wanted to add a pearl in a trunk, or some sort of buried treasure. And if you want to see the texture, try clicking it, and you should see a bigger version of it.

And, finally, since I didn't put any comment on this, initially, I'd like to mention that all my recent entries have a surprise on them if you hover your cursor over the image. Try it!