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Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category

16novscintillatevertical

I love not knowing what to say about a painting.  It’s a sign that I’m really looking.

The top layer of this painting consists of the horizontal dashes.  The effect is two-fold.  Because they’re on top you feel you need to look at them.  But when you focus on them you realize there’s nothing to look at.  This makes you focus on the layers under the dashes.  But the dashes obscure that layer.  You soon realize that there’s no clarity in the lower layers either.

The reason you don’t give up is that the effect of this layering is scintillating.  The painting shimmers, not like metallic kitsch, not at all.  It shimmers epistemologically.  As soon as you think you’ve grasped it, it slips away.  There are certain brains that love this effect.  Count me in.

Keven Wilder.  Oil on canvas, ~40” x 30”

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16octhead

We say “the whites of their eyes.”  But the highlight on the upper eyelid 16octheadeye(1) is whiter than the white of the eye (2). It’s not easy to give in to this fact.  After all, no one ever said, “don’t shoot until you see the highlight on their upper eyelids.”

This drawing from a photo does not resemble the 16octheadphotomodel, but that doesn’t matter.  Resemblance comes much later.  And in any case, resemblance may not be the goal.  The model/photo serves as inspiration and what happens in the drawing process is more important than likeness.

As you look at this drawing notice how important the shadow cast over the eye ball is for the expression and your conviction that this is a real person.

Drawing by Maggy Shell, charcoal, ~ 16” x 14”

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/eyes-no-eyes/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/2778/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/andre-carrilho-and-the-mythic-window-to-the-soul/

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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16novwindow

Your mind naturally associates to “window.”  But look, there’s no view to the outside, which is why we walk over and stand in front of a window.  This is pure window.  Like a Gothic stained glass window, except here there’s no story to be instructed by.  Pure light, which, come to think of it, is Gothic Architecture’s metaphor for the divine.  Well, I’ll stop just short of calling this painting divine, but allow me to say, it’s glorious.  You allow and you agree, of course.

You can’t stop looking at it.   As you celebrate windowness and you’re grateful for the invention of glass with its capacity to transmit and reflect light, you’re mind does wander.  You start looking at the quality of the brush stroke, the transitions from one luminous color to another and then there’s a little quirkiness that holds your attention.

First, notice that your eye does not dwell on any of the four corners.  That’s because there’s no detail in the corners, they’re filled with blocks of color and some blurry lines.  It’s true those lines do guide your eye there but only briefly and then they move back inward. Our eyes evolved to find details and movement interesting.

Where do we find details and movement?

16novwindowfingerwalk

What are those funny little red dots?  Looks like footprints.  If you have the privilege of looking at this painting up close, you’ll notice that they are fingerprints.  The artist must have dipped her fingertips into the red paint on her palette and then walked them across the canvas. As the paint was transferred she went back to the palette to dip in again.  Her fingers walked diagonally upward on the canvas from right to left.  Pure invention.  What a delight!

It’s nice to be reminded that we’re a species that invents.

You can see this painting by Veronica Sax at the Evanston Art Center’s Studio Show til January 29.

https://www.evanstonartcenter.org/exhibitions/eac-student-exhibition

Veronica Sax, Not, Just… Acrylic on canvas, 40”x 30”

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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Sometimes a painting reads well right from the start.

16sept1early 16sept1early2nd

At left is a painting in its very first conception.  At right, the second stage.

You can’t count on this, but it happens. Here is the finished work.

16sept1

Jan Fleckman, acrylic on canvas, 40” x 30”

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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moodnext

Didn’t paint drip in the 15th century?  It must have. Even egg tempera must have gotten runny sometimes.  But dripping paint was a no-no til the end of the 19th century.  Unthinkable; what a disgrace; quick, clean it up and let no one see how paint behaves.  In the 20th century paint was finally allowed to behave like paint.

If you’re not a painter you may think this is easy.  How hard can it be to splash paint on a piece of cloth, you say!

If you’re a contemporary painter and you have never let paint drip, hmm, that may be because you haven’t been able to. Maybe allowing paint to drip is like yoga: you stretch and it’s uncomfortable at first.

As the instructor in the “Mondrian Class” I get ecstatic—ooh, ahh—when someone first ventures into drip mode. It just happens. As with yoga, I think it’s accompanied by an exhalation of all sorts of thou-shalts and thou-shalt-nots.

The above painting was produced in two class periods.  The student, Pamela Habel, has only been with us for one semester.

drips-allowedIn her previous painting, left, we can see her warming up to the idea of allowing the paint to drip.

Pamela Habel, acrylic on canvas, each painting 40” x 30”

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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16maynobounds3d

Are you allowed to do this?

Yes, you’re allowed to do this.

But it’s not done frivolously. There’s surprise and a sense of liberation in the act of attaching found objects to the canvas.  It’s done with a sense of history, referencing Rauschenberg and Johns, for example.

16maynoboundaries

Terry Fohrman, mixed media, ~30” 24”

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/09/28/found-objects/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/shapes-and-light/

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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pavement1

At a distance you see an engrossing painting in muted complimentary colors, blues and orange-browns.  If you move pavement1numbersclose to this canvas you’ll see that things are glued onto it.  At (2) there’s a distressed black rectangle with a yellow band at the bottom that has a zig-zag line on it.  At (3) the artist painted a continuation of (2).  At (1) we find a rich brown patch that is actually a piece of sand paper. At (4), some pieces of cloth and frayed canvas.

The realization that these banal objects on the canvas [(2) is some rubber that was found on the street] are used so harmoniously in the painting is thrilling to any modernist.  This juxtaposition of aesthetics and the mundane marks modernism.

Before 1912 painters did not glue anything onto their drawings or paintings. That summer in 1912, however, Georges Braque saw some fake wood grain wall paper in a store window, bought a roll and pasted strips of it into his charcoal drawings. The audacity!  You call that art!? Art was expected to emanate from some higher power and remind us of lofty ideals to live up to.  Now this!  Even Picasso was shocked.  But he immediately understood that collage was another way to subvert the ideals of the Renaissance and so, of course, he was all for it.  Thus we have the beginning of Synthetic Cubism, which gave us a new way of staying alert when looking at art and life.  Thank you, Braque!

Georges Braque (French, Argenteuil 1882–1963 Paris) Fruit Dish and Glass, Sorgues, autumn 1912 Charcoal and cut-and-pasted printed wallpaper with gouache on white laid paper; subsequently mounted on paperboard; 24 3/4 × 18 in. (62.9 × 45.7 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection (SL.17.2014.1.8) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/490612

Painting with mixed media by Terry Fohrman, oil on canvas on board, ~20” x 16”

Georges Braque 1881-1963

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/?s=picasso

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/?s=braque

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