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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sketches: El Niños and Other Atmospheric Conditions

Angeles Forest Storm Square Sketch Katherine Kean graphite 8 x 8 inches
Angeles Forest Storm Square Sketch Katherine Kean
graphite 8 x 8 inches
Conditions are good for more storm cloud artwork. It looks - and feels - like an El Niño year and my favorite weather blog confirms it. El Niño is already here and is expected to be one of the largest, in fact, "a majority of the global atmosphere ocean models are currently suggesting the potential for an event rivaling the strongest event in the historical record." Even though El Niño doesn't guarantee rain, it does draw the probability closer. And even though it won't solve our drought, it can't hurt.

Chain of Craters Clouds Sketch Katherine Kean graphite 8 x 8 inches
Chain of Craters Clouds Sketch Katherine Kean
graphite 8 x 8 inches
 The sketch above is from Hawaii, along the Chain of Craters Road. Storm clouds are much more dependable there. They also have a different look. I'd say the clouds are taller - loftier - and brighter.

Volcano Fumes at Night Sketch Katherine Kean graphite 6 x 10 inches
Volcano Fumes at Night Sketch Katherine Kean
graphite 6 x 10 inches
This last sketch, also from Hawaii, is of the atmospheric conditions over the volcano. It wasn't easily apparent to me whether the clouds were from weather or from the volcanic fumes, or a mix of both.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Painting Dusk

Caspar David Friedrich A Walk at Dusk
Have you noticed how sometimes the sky at dusk creates an unbearable phenomena of color? I am often startled when I see it and pause to look and try to imagine what color, or combination of colors, might create the same indescribable low light effect in paint. I'm thinking of that almost colorless color that is still somehow full of light. The Friedrich painting above comes close in some ways to what I am thinking of.

Edward Hopper Shakespeare at Dusk
Conversely, sometimes at dusk one color seems to predominate. I suspect that part of the secret is in how our eyes perceive at this time of day. Hopper above, and Shaw below, nail down the effect simply and boldly.

George Shaw Scenes From the Passion: 10 Shilling Wood
Romantic pastoral or urban decadent, the indeterminate light of dusk compels with it's elusiveness, it's mystery, and it's mood - whatever that might be.

John Felsing Far From Babylon
Other well known favorites are George Innes, Atkinson Grimshaw, Dwight Tryon, the tonalists.

Katherine Kean Suburban Murmuration 2 work in progress
This last one is a work in progress, with much to be done to the house.

For more on this topic from others follow these links:

Nocturne: prettiness in a face-off with edgelands grit

The Phenomenology of Twilight

Monday, May 04, 2015

Wilderness Mind: Activating Wonder Opening

 I managed to arrive at the Modest Fly Gallery in time to get a photo before the room filled up, not a difficult maneuver since I live just over a mile away.

Let the conversations begin; from left to right, artists Ann Isolde, Carolyn Applegate, Merion Melchiorre, and Sandra Mueller.

 Congressional staffer Teresa Lamb from Adam Schiff's office spoke about being delighted to see galleries and art exhibitions in the Foothills.


Curator Marie Cenkner told her vision for the exhibition.

 Carolyn Applegate, Amy Bauer, J. Cheryl Bookout, Marie Cenkner, Danielle Eubank, Ann Isolde, Katherine Kean, J.J. L’Heureux, Nancy Lissaman, Meg Madison, Marion Melchiorre, Sandra Mueller, Annemarie Rawlinson, Seda Saar, Louise Wannier, and France White at the Modest Fly Gallery

Looking west at the Foothill corridor; the San Gabriel Mountains are north of Tujunga and the Verdugo Mountains to the south, as the sun goes down.

Wilderness Mind; Activating Wonder will be up for two weeks. The conversation continues at the closing on Sunday, May 17, from 2 - 4PM, with Suvan Geer and local activists.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Wilderness Mind: Activating Wonder

Opening this weekend this group exhibition of the SCWCA Eco-art collective features sixteen artists whose environmentally themed work explores the state of wonder as experienced in both wilderness areas and in dense urban habitats.

Curator Marie Cenkner shares that the exhibition is part of an ongoing “Wilderness Mind” initiative by the collective that includes exhibitions, programs and public conversations to foster sustainable stewardship.

I am happy to be among the participating artists: Carolyn Applegate, Amy Bauer, J. Cheryl Bookout, Marie Cenkner, Danielle Eubank, Ann Isolde, Katherine Kean, J.J. L’Heureux, Nancy Lissaman, Meg Madison, Marion Melchiorre, Sandra Mueller, Annemarie Rawlinson, Seda Saar, Louise Wannier, and France White.

Opening and curator's talk Saturday May 2, 2015 from 5 - 7 pm.

Community Conversation and Closing Sunday, May 17, 2-4 pm
Moderator Suvan Geer with area activists

Wilderness Mind:Activating Wonder 
May 2 – May 17, 2015
Modest Fly Art Studio Gallery
7578 Foothill Blvd.
Tujunga, CA 91042
(818) 331-4780
 Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Friday 12-5pm
Saturday 10-4pm
Sunday and Monday - By Appointment Only

Monday, April 20, 2015

Quick Sketches From Dream Images

Children Sketch Katherine Kean
graphite  9 1/2 x 13 inches

The particular image I have in mind is of wild horses running past children who are crouching at about eye level with the horses hooves, and just visible through the kicked up sand.

The sketch above is a detail of the children. I've sketched them in in the drawing below, can you see them?

 I'd like the painting to be large and tonal, shapes just coalescing out of the dust.

Wild Horses Running Sketch Katherine Kean
graphite 6 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches

Monday, April 13, 2015

National Weather Center Biennale

I Stop for Drops   Katherine Kean
oil on linen   12 x 16 inches
Two paintings from my Atmospheric series have been selected for The National Weather Center Biennale - the only international exhibition showcasing artwork with weather as its central theme. Distinguished guest juror Mel Chin has selected eighty - eight works from around the world, categorized into three mediums: painting, photography, and works on paper. In conjunction with Earth Day 2015, the exhibition opens on Monday, April 20 and closes Sunday, June 14, 2015.

The National Weather Center 
120 David L. Boren Blvd. 
Norman, OK 73072

The exhibition will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Admission is free to the public.

Visitors are asked to provide a photo ID for entry.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Surface Damage and Airport Dress Rehearsal

Marks imprinted on varnish caused by plastic wrapping
adhering to surface.
I learned last week the unfortunate news that a painting that I had shipped off to an exhibition arrived at the venue with damage caused by the packaging materials. I felt for the exhibition’s director since that must be very difficult news to tell an artist. Fortunately it was quickly determined that the damage was only affecting the varnish and not the paint surface. I've never experienced this problem before, in all my years of shipping artwork, and it wasn’t an issue for another painting that was varnished at the same time and wrapped and shipped at the same time, in the same way.

Although it was generously offered to have restoration performed, I think that artists make the best conservators of their own work. I also know the peace of mind of seeing with one’s own eyes what the problem is and getting it solved.

Plans were put into place for me to fly there and remove the damaged varnish prior to installation.

When the travel day arrived I was up bright and early, supplies packed; lint free cloths, gloves, etc., at the airport and beginning the checking in procedure only to find that the kiosk wouldn’t accept my reservation. To make a long story short, I had been sent to the wrong terminal and by the time I got the information and got to the correct terminal, the check in “window” was closed. The airlines (there were multiple airlines involved, hence the confusion about which terminal) made it right in the end, but it meant flying out the next day instead. So I went home and rescheduled cat sitter, dog boarding, rental car, and accommodations and repeated the entire departing procedure again the following day, except with better knowledge of which terminal to show up to.

Shadow box to hold any protective wrapping
away from the surface.
The remainder of the trip was uneventful. The exhibition manager and staff were amazing; providing solvent, drop cloth, encouragement, and a well ventilated, quiet place to work. The repair went well and the surface was even and without plastic imprints when I finished. I am glad that I used Gamvar for the varnish because it removes easily with oderless mineral spirits or Gamsol. These are fairly weak solvents that mean it is easy to remove the varnish without affecting the paint at all.

The packing solution? It’s been suggested that crates can be built that support the artwork with screws fastened into the sides of the stretcher bars that hold the artwork suspended during shipping so that nothing touches the surface. The drawbacks are the weight, time, and expense. Another solution is to build a cardboard “shadow box” that keeps any protective wrapping an inch or two away from the painting surface.