Monday, August 26, 2013

A Tree Against the Sky

Tree, sky, drawing, graphite, dark sky, nocturne
Tree, Sky Sketch Katherine Kean 2013
graphite approximately 9 x 9 inches

 Georges Rouault said, "A tree against the sky possesses the same interest, the same character, the same expression as the figure of a human."

I've always thought so, and think the same of mountains, plains, rivers, and oceans.

"Here is the deepest secret nobody knows.
Here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
And the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
Which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide.
And this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart.
I carry your heart.
I carry it in my heart."
E E Cummings 


Monday, August 12, 2013

"One brief moment caught from fleeting time..."

Clouds, Valley, Drawing, Scotland, graphite
Clouds, Valley Sketch Katherine Kean
graphite 8 x 10 inches

"There would seem to be nothing more obvious, more tangible and palpable than the present moment. And yet it eludes us completely. All the sadness of life lies in that fact."
Milan Kundera The Art of the Novel

But must the moment elude us? John Constable's artwork sought to give "one brief moment caught from fleeting time a lasting and sober existence." Can the making of marks blend the present, future and past, connect the moment with the memory, and bring the past to a new present?

Or in the words of William Wordsworth: "Praised be the Art whose subtle power could stay, Yon cloud, and fix it in that glorious shape."


Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Reading The Art Forger

I found "The Art Forger" another fun and entertaining read, and almost as obsessed with surfaces, brush strokes, layers of luminous color, and compositional strategies as many how-to books on painting. The plot weaves art history with the contemporary, and references the mystery surrounding the Gardner Museum heist, in which two men disguised as ­police officers conned their way into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, tied the guards up with duct tape, and made off with 13 artworks, including three Rembrandts, a Vermeer, and a Manet, altogether valued at $500 million. 

Pondering reproductions, copying, and forgeries tends to make one ponder basic questions about the value of art, doesn't it? If experts can not tell an authentic painting from a forgery, then what exactly are art buyers paying for? Is it status? Authenticity? Is it a look or a signature or a name? Or is it the participation in a unique and original vision that ownership provides?

Written in a first person narrative, the protagonist delves into details about forgery techniques, as she employs the famous art forger Han van Meegeren’s methods of painting. Van Meegeren used synthetic phenol formaldehyde resin dissolved in a spirit such as turpentine and/or an essential oil which would then be mixed with hand-ground powder pigments. This was then baked to change its chemical composition permanently, becoming insoluble in alcohol, or other common solvents. The results are described as so beautiful that I'm almost tempted to try it.