Posts Tagged ‘Hofmann’


That’s the title of the painting class I proposed for the fall. 

The class used to be called “Impressions of Landscape”  and it will retain this title for the plein air class held in the summer, but for the indoor version it’s just not a good fit. My students actually pointed this out to me during the winter term because what we were doing in that class was really all about abstraction.  True, we talked about what makes a painting landscape-Y and we referred to the Impressionists a lot. But basically, folks, abstraction is what we thought, felt, breathed and painted.

Unfortunately, the word abstraction is intimidating. It sounds cold, unfeeling, merely cerebral. 

But the experience of working abstractly isn’t anything like that!  It’s a passionate, highly personal, engaging process.  So much so, that at the end of a three-hour painting session, you’re likely to be exhausted and ready for a nap.  Well, you can’t put language like that into a class description. 

After much doubt and procrastination,  I came up with a class blurb that asks “What would Mondrian do?”  and then goes on with a short paragraph like this:  “…or Diebenkorn, or deKooning, or Hofmann?  Learn from the masters of modernism and from your own experience how line, value, edge and weight can create tension and movement in your work.  Learn what pleases the eye, tickles the mind and draws the viewer into your painting.”

Someone in the office must have liked these words, because they put them on a poster, using a Diebenkorn painting as ground.  And then this: “Take Katherine Hilden’s ‘What Would Mondrian Do?’ or choose from many others.” 

Oh, do!

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