#24. Abstraction is in the details (or: painting pieces of paintings)

Painting a piece of a painting…? I’ve played with this idea in the past (not very successfully)– to isolate a small section of a painting, and reference it to make a large painting. If only I could magnify the immediacy and verve that live in those sexy little sections that were produced through spontaneity and intuitive mark-making, and create BIG paintings echoing those same qualities. Sounds easy. Ha.

So my last post showed the large piece I recently finished— “New Territory”.

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“New Territory. 53×65”. mixed media on Fabriano paper. ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

What I didn’t say about it  is that it’s actually referenced from a very small detail from another painting, “Shadow Walk”, 36×36”, mixed media on wood panel. See the loose reference? This detail is about 4×6″. (I left out the dead tree in the 53×65″painting.)

Imagedetail, “Shadow Walk”

Here’s the quick journal sketch: Image

 And here’s the original painting:

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Shadow Walk, 36×36″. mixed media on wood panel. ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

I still like the detail best.

 Abstract expressionist Franz Kline  was able to maintain that freshness from small sketches to gargantuan canvases.  He loved the quality of the mark-making in his small quick brush sketches, and in 1948 when his buddy Willem de Kooning turned him on to the Bell-Opticon opaque projector, he discovered he could project those small energetic strokes as enlarged abstract gestures. He grabbed a big brush, some black house paint, and used the projected images as templates for some very big paintings, which became huge calligraphic statements on the canvas.

ImageFranz Kline in studio, 1954.  Fritz Goro photo.

When Kline first projected one of his small ink sketches onto the wall, this is what he described:

“A four by five inch black drawing of a rocking chair…loomed in gigantic black strokes which eradicated any image, the strokes expanding as entities in themselves, unrelated to any entity but that of their own existence.”

Sounds like abstract expressionism in a nutshell.

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Franz Kline (American, 1910-1962). Untitled II, ca. 1952. Ink and oil on cut-and-pasted telephone-book pages on paper on board. 11 x 9 in. (28.1 x 23 cm). © 2010 The Franz Kline Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

 Here’s a short, jazzy little video from the MoMA about Kline’s painting process. 

Keep in mind that the bigger you go, the more you spend— time, materials, energy. Bigger brushes=expensive; bigger canvas or panel= way expensive; more paint (oil or acrylic) = way, way more expensive.  Klein used black enamel house paint because he could get it inexpensively, and loved the workability of it. [Oh well, I’m a coloroholic, I’ll  admit it. Also I use water-based materials. No more toxic stuff in my studio] So, big for me is say, 60 or 70″. Big for Kline was, well, REALLY big.

While Kline sometimes used a projector to magnify his images, I take small digital detail pics with my iPhone and then make awkward sketches of them in my art journal before attempting to translate the image into a larger scale. I wonder. Should I find a projector?

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detail, from “Vermont Reflections” On it’s way to becoming a big painting…. maybe.

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“Vermont Reflections” 24×24″. mixed media on canvas. ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

#23. The Equinox: seeking balance, and small paintings

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I am SO ready for WARMTH—and creative fertility. The vernal equinox is a pivotal point for me; the end of a killer New England winter, and the tentative beginning of a whole new year. I see the spring equinox as the true New Year’s Day, as it really is a time of rebirth, renewnal, and balance— the sun is directly over the equator, and daylight hours are equal to nighttime hours. (Equinox= equal night, Latin.) On the exact day of the equinox, one can try to balance an egg on its end. Seriously. Lots more is associated with the vernal equinox, especially creativityeggs, bunnies and fertility and sex and so on; I love this stuff. It’s also a great time to begin spring cleaning, like maybe in the studio. Ha…

this is actually a very clean desk, with a 12×12″ panel ready to be attacked

I actually did a mini clean-up in my studio today, because I couldn’t even see my desk, and had a yen to actually use it to sit at and paint something small. This blog is called Cleaning Up the Studio, but that is a very rare occurrence in my studio practice, as I tend to let things pile up organically until I can’t stand it anymore, and then something new happens— like the urge to start some small paintings after working like crazy on large ones for weeks.

new territory2

This is a large recent painting–“New Territory”, 53×65″. Mixed media on Fabriano paper, held on to the wall with applied magnets.

 Big work can be exciting and challenging, but tiring. Picking up small brushes and using little dabs of paint is a completely different challenge. It’s about balance. Thank the gods and goddesses for Spring- It’s about time, too !

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the very beginning of today’s little painting.. .we’ll see how it turns out

studio wall

…and here is a clean studio wall, with a 48×48″ four-panel ready to be attacked, when I get tired of playing small

#22. Look/see: The art of Sumo Bunni (and family)

#22. Look/see: The art of Sumo Bunni (and family)

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“Alter Ego 1″ 48×36”. acrylic on canvas, 2013.

What is is about the cuteness (or weirdness) of bunnies? According to painter Shari Weschler Rubeck  (aka Sumo Bunni)—“In 2011, the Bunni became my story teller and continues to do so.  He or She is in a mood, communicating a specific experience.  [The Bunnies] are metaphorical messengers who relate to us easily.  They beg for us to look at ourselves and perhaps find humor in the serious.”

bunni in waiting

“Bunni in Waiting” 48×36″ acrylic/airbrush on canvas. 2011

robot swimmer

“Robot Swimmer” 10×8″ watercolor/graphite on Yupo paper. 2012

When I first saw the strange and magical work of Shari and her sculptor husband Christian Rubeck, at Gallery Z in Providence RI, I did a double-take, slowly perusing all the work at least twice over. The room spun with bizarre and wonderful imagery, peppered with off-beat humor. It took me a while to figure out that the pseudonym Sumo Bunni was actually the artist Shari (thank you, Facebook) and now I get it.

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“Hide” 22×16″. watercolor/graphite on paper. 2012

"Long Hare" 40x30" acrylic on canvas. 2011

“Long Hare” 40×30″ acrylic on canvas. 2011

Shari’s massive body of work is comprised of several recent series which relate to one another in, well, odd ways. Best to put it in her words: “Life experiences, human psyche, curiosities of animal nature, elements of theatre, dance, backstage goings-on and pun drive my imagery.  Working in series that often materialize simultaneously, my imagery is primarily figural in nature.” She has a background as a dancer, which is apparent in the imagery and narrative in her work, and a BFA in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art. 

"Ram Head" 64x46" acrylic on board. 2012

“Ram Head” 64×46″ acrylic on board. 2012

There were so many of Shari’s paintings and drawings I wanted to post here, it was tough to pare it down to just 8. Or 10 or 12. But to see lots more and and figure out the Sumo Bunni mystery for yourself, visit Shari and Christian’s website, ArtInMind.org (FYI- Along with some other venues, Shari has a show coming up this year at Chez Pascal,  one of Providence East Side’s BEST restaurants.)

"Sharp Intrusion" 43x28" acrylic on canvas. 2013

“Sharp Intrusion” 43×28″ acrylic on canvas. 2013

"Rabbit Robot" 10x8". watercolor/graphite on paper. 2012

“Rabbit Robot” 10×8″. watercolor/graphite on paper. 2012

"Power Trip" 20x14". watercolor/graphite on Yupo paper. 2013

“Power Trip” 20×14″. watercolor/graphite on Yupo paper. 2013

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Weschler/Rubeck show at Gallery Z, showing some of Christian’s sculpture and Shari’s paintings, 2012

sculpture by Christian Rubeck

sculpture by Christian Rubeck

p.s. Shari and Christian have two awesome artist offspring, Skyla, 11 and Desi, 9. (It’s a family art affair, and they recently had a show titled “The Rubeck Four” at Coastal Living Gallery in the quaint village of Wickford, RI.)

Desi Rubeck, "Goose Eye"

Desi Rubeck, “Goose Eye”

Skyla Rubeck, "Bluebirds" and "Wooden Dog".

Skyla Rubeck, “Bluebirds” and “Wooden Dog“.

All images © copyright protected by Shari Weschler Rubeck, 2014

#21.Clean sweep: reblogged from Danny Gregory

Oh boy!!!!! A terrific post about “cleaning up the studio” and the rest of life from the amazing and remarkable DANNY GREGORY. Some deeply inspirational ideas and hot tips on everything from old art supplies to outdated software and stagnant work habits.

A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King

~Emily Dickinson

Danny Gregory

watercolor stages

Because it’s finally March and spring is allegedly on the horizon, I decided to clean up my studio. I swept the floor, wiped down all the tables, emptied the trash cans and water buckets, and vacuumed the chartreuse carpet the dogs nap and chew dried bulls’ pizzles on.

Then I decided to go deeper. Remembering the old carpenter’s homily, “Look after your tools and they’ll look after you,” I pulled all of my art supplies out of their drawers, boxes and Ziplocs and gave them a proper going over. I scrutinized each tube of watercolor and acrylic to make sure the lids were firmly screwed on, rolled them up from the bottom, and separated the ones that seemed too hopelessly hard and dry. I filled all the pans on my watercolor boxes with fresh paint and left them to solidify. I examined every brush and gave them a wash and…

View original post 867 more words

#20. Taipei: Pandas on Tour Exhibition

#20. Taipei: Pandas on Tour Exhibition

I just love pandas. Who doesn’t? Although I’ve never met one, sad to say. There are so few left in the wild on this planet, and here is one artist who is making a statement about that. Check out these wonderful and charming installations, and maybe check out the World Wildlife Fund as well. Reblogged from http://theartjunkie.wordpress.com/

Global Art Junkie

panda-1

French artist Paulo Grangeon’s 1,600 papier mâché pandas took their seats in the National Theatre in Taipei this week, part of an international tour by the World Wildlife Fund that began in 2008 to bring attention to the endangered species.

View original post 85 more words

#19. “More Snow”: building a painting while wishing winter was over.

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photo by Laurel Casey

This winter in New England is… enough already. I’m not alone in feeling this. But in truth, it’s beautiful, in many ways. I’ve been doing some blue and white paintings as a result. Here is the process of my recent “More Snow”, mixed media on wood panel, 24×24″ (When I say “mixed media” I refer to the fact that the painting is not ONLY made of acrylic paint, but also pencil and water-based crayon.)

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First a couple of quick value and color studies in my art journal.

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I toned the panel with a random mix of phthalo blue, green shade; a small amount of lemon yellow; some teal; a little white. First time I’ve decided to use this teal color as a ground. Sketched out the image with hot pink pastel pencil. I like breaking rules, although I really don’t have too many in my studio.

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Laying in darks, lights and starting on some mid-tones… Also lots of scribbling. I love scribbling. Mark-making is important to me; I love the freedom of letting the marks make themselves through my hand.

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After I get things pretty well established, I often begin to get fussy, which is always a no-no. I take a lot of breaks, turn away from the painting, eat lunch, check my email, go back to the painting, play with my dog Theo,  plan the next painting, go back to the painting, sketch some other ideas, read books, check FB, (oops), go back to the painting.

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Anyway, after a few days, I decide it’s done, and here’s “More Snow” 24×24″ mixed media on cradled board. (My personal title is actually “More F$%^&ing Snow.” )

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“More Snow” 24×24″ mixed media on panel. © 2104  Karen Rand Anderson

Theo, faithful studio assistant

Theo, faithful studio assistant