#26. It’s (Almost) Showtime….

 

Image

Can you spell  P R O C R A S T I N A T E ?

Procrastination. It’s one of those constant challenges that lurk under my bed, along with the ever-present impostor syndrome that I struggle with. (I started writing this blog to fight this stuff.) I know myself well enough to know that if it weren’t for deadlines, I might not get anything big accomplished. Which is why I feel so fortunate to have them, big fat deadlines. The current one looming  (which I’ve had on the calendar for the past couple of years) is Friday, April 25th, the date of my exhibition opening at Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art.

Actually, the real deadline is on Tuesday, the 22nd. That’s when I deliver the work to the gallery, which is about an hour away. I’ve already reserved the UHaul van, and yesterday most of the paintings got wrapped up and taped, in heavy plastic sheeting. Still need to put wires on about 11 paintings… So far it looks like 30 paintings will be installed, from big (53×65”) to small (10×10”), although if I have it together, one more little painting will be finished by Tuesday.

Image

a bunch of paintings about to be wrapped (typical studio, although usually they are not scattered all over the floor)

I’d love to hear from you about how you work with deadlines and establish goals. And if you happen to be anywhere near Groton CT before June 7, maybe make a side trip to the AvS gallery, and check out my show there… it’s an amazing place to visit, a huge stone mansion, with a gorgeous sculpture path along the water (slideshow— you can advance the images manually) and beautiful grounds and ocean views. Worth a trip…Image

P.S. The gallery has four rooms, and there are three other artists showing in the other rooms. Here is the link to preview the show.

#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”.

Image

“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:

Image

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.

Image

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?

Image

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

Image

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

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

Image

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.)

ImageImage

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

 Image

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.

 Image

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.

 Image

Image

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.

ImageImage

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.” )

Image

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

Theo, faithful studio assistant

Theo, faithful studio assistant

 

#7. Launching on the new moon

Image

“Bald Porcupine at Dusk”  12×12, mixed media on board. © 2103 Karen Rand Anderson

As the old phrase goes…  “Let ‘er rip” . So, it’s January 1st, 2014, which happens to coincide with the Capricorn new moon, an excellent time for beginning something that is crafted from an internal, thoughtful place. You know that feeling of starting a new painting/project/piece–  making the commitment to do, begin, create with passion; having the gumption (love that word) to go for it..? I’ve made a 2014 commitment to myself to confront my fears, my past, and my future; hence, the launch of this blog, “Cleaning Up the Studio“. Welcome… I’m glad you’re here. (I’m glad I’m here!) I hope you’ll scroll down and see my previous posts… this blog has been private until today, coinciding with the new moon which, I’ve just discovered, is considered a “supermoon”. Quite cool actually.

Now that the solstice has passed, winter’s darkness is beginning to lessen, day by day. (Thank God.) I’ll be wrapping myself up in studio work, getting ready for my upcoming show at Alexey von Schlippe Gallery in April. I’ll also be thinking about and planning what to focus on here— writing, wondering, questioning, and marveling, while continuing to be inspired by the words and insights of so many others [see sidebar]. Art, writing, and messes will get made, that is, until that tipping point is reached, when I can’t get anything done in the midst of the chaos, and it’ll be time to clean up the studio again, start afresh, and get new stuff going. I do love cycles.

In the meantime, I’m stumbling around as a complete newbie in the art blogosphere. So please forgive the bumbles and faux-pas as I get going with content, comments, and concepts. By putting myself out “here”, I plan to share my art and studio thoughts, make connections, get exposure, interact with other artists and bloggers, shed light on things, sprinkle inspiration, and pose questions. I’ll be posting images of my work, which is available for purchase… Let me know if you’re interested.

And by all means, please let me know what you think — I’m looking for my tribe. Join me?

Image