Thursday, April 17, 2008

Klimt Fan

Gustav Klimt is a particular favorite of mine....and lots of others I am certain!! His style of representation is quite unique and very appealing. His "view" in his landscapes and his use of color are, I think, timeless. His female figures are much the same, to me at least. (Maybe that is as much about his approach with line in the figures as his use of color is in landscapes.) The figures have a contemporary feel; some of course are dated by hairstyle and dress.
My work with portraits and figures, if I can be objective, is frenetic by comparison; it is often more about removing marks/lines than careful, thoughtful placement. Klimt's work seems to reveal an immediate, thorough understanding of his subject as revealed in his outline of shape, contour.
So, I wondered if I could get into his mind a bit if I tried to copy a few of his "simpler" pieces. What you find here are some of my attempts, done in my sketchbook, with reference to a small volume of drawings and paintings edited by Alice Strobol and first published in 1962.
I found his approach as alien to mine, entirely! He must have had a flat view of the figure (actually, many of his landscapes seem as a "thin" view of his field of vision, too) and when I approach a portrait or figure from life I want to obtain some depth and weight; my understanding (intuition) of the body is to place a curve/contour to grasp the subject's depth, physical and otherwise.
I've done my best to place the Klimt original within easy reference to my attempt and I've certainly felt no compunction to avoid color on my ersatz work. (I enjoy the word "ersatz" and can remember distinctly my first encounter with it. I'd written a letter to George Higgins, lawyer and author, when I was just out of law school and in his reply he chastised me for what he called a "bad" ersatz of his work in several paragraphs of my letter; bet Klimt would have had a similar response!!)
Anyway, I thought the exercise was one I'd like to continue; understanding your own visual work can be enhanced through copying the work of others.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Artspace Show

I've decided to enter three pictures in a June 2008 show at Artspace in Greenfield. Each piece is figurative as is the theme of the exhibit. The portrait above is one I will show. It is pastel and charcoal on paper, approximately 18" x 24".

Friday, April 11, 2008

These pastel images remind me of how much I enjoy using the medium. I like that it can almost encourage, even demand spontaneity. When working with a brush, as in oil, watercolor and acrylic, I find it much more difficult to let the medium take the lead, to let the medium tell me where to go next. Maybe that is a learned skill; I 'm sure it is but I get a bit impatient with the brushed on materials! Maybe less so with watercolor.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Old Work Recorded

These are several images I have recently scanned to my computer. They represent some work which inspires me to continue my efforts with paint, paper, pastel and charcoal. The watercolor with four figures was inspired by a meal and conversation I had with my brother in law several years ago at a bistro on 2nd Ave. in Manhattan. I had taken the train into the city from Boston to spend some time with him and while riding thru Connecticut on the return trip I pulled out my sketchbook and recorded my memory of the previous night's supper setting. From that came the watercolor.
Shoiban modeled for the charcoal figure, Venus in Transit remains a work in progress and the Wisteria is an image of my backyard in Duxbury, Massachusetts done several years ago; it's watercolor and pastel and a particular favorite.