Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Expanding My List of Influences

Katherine Kean, Slow Release of the Day, contemporary landscape painting, sunset, tonalism, Malibu Lagoon, tranquil, warm palette, red, burnt orange, violet, panoramic
Slow Release of the Day © 2009 Katherine Kean
oil on linen 18 x 36"

A couple of years ago I posted a list of the top eleven artists that I felt had the biggest influence on my work. A top ten list would be a much rounder number I know, but I just coldn't narrow it down that far. Now, I'd like to expand on that list with some additional artists that I've been looking at more carefully over the past few months, and add these seven to the first eleven. Some of these artists' works relate to each other and some do not, so, in no particular order:

Dwight Tryon Graceful, and simultaneously ethereal and grounded.

George Innes Rich and mysterious, his paintings allow your mind to create what isn't painted, while hinting at more.

Andrew Wyeth Beautiful browns that are almost monochromatic - images are stark in composition, yet rendered in detail, and have the ability to draw you into their story.

Lawren S. Harris Harris's paintings seem to seek out a spiritual essence in nature, allowing anything extraneous to this experience to seem to drop away.

Emily Carr I should have realized earlier that I couldn't have Goergia O'Keeffe and Agnes Pelton without adding Emily Carr. Her work also seems related to Charles Burchfield's. She seems to paint the wind.

Frederick Judd Waugh Known Best as a marine painter, he understands the physicality of the sea and powerfully conveys the experience of it.

Kaii Higashiyama Simulataneously grand and simple, his paintings are bold while holding a profound sense of quiet.

In looking over both lists I can see certain characteristics held in common. A strong affinity for nature is apparent, as well as the sense of mood. Technically, all of these artists combine softness and gradations with bold contrasts, shapes and composition. Values are key and so is a feeling for drama, even when it's a quiet grandeur.

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Painting: Between the Drops

Katherine Kean, Between the Drops. contemporary landscape painting, rain drops, road, green, contemporary realism
Between the Drops  ©2011 Katherine Kean
12 x 16" oil on linen
This is third in the series that includes Counting Raindrops, and Connect the Drops. I was drawn to paint the subtle geometric patterns left by the drops as they fell and reformed again after being swiped by the wiper blades. Just when I think I'm done with raindrops - bet then they are a lot of fun to paint.

The sequence below depicts the progression of this painting from under painting to conclusion.

The under painting in warm colors to show through behind the cooler top layers. Approximate values and drawing are layed in. The first color layer - still plenty of under painting showing through. The values are well established.

An additional color layer using cooler colors and more grays. Also starting to define the pathways the drops will follow. The drops are the last to paint. Oddly enough I don't have a preconceived way of approaching them. Sometimes I make a dark spot and then add highlights, other times I make a bright spot and then outline it with the dark. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Holding it Together on a Diptych, Triptych, or Modular Painting

On the Edge
©1991 Katherine Kean
oil on two canvases
42  x 12"

A diptych in art consists of any two panels presented side by side. Traditionally these two pieces would be hinged together. In contemporary art it's not uncommon to see the panels simply hanging side by side, sometimes with a bit of space between. A triptych is made up of three panels, side by side by side.

When there are panels placed one above the other, or in larger, more complex groupings, it is then called modular art. In some works, pieces can be added or removed, or rearranged, to create a new piece of artwork.

There is an advantage to modular work. The smaller sections that make up a large piece can be transported more easily than a single large painting.

When I'm working on a diptych, a triptych, or a modular piece I use C-Clampsto connect the panels. This way I can easily move around the multiple panels that make up one work as an entire unit, making it easy to take off the easel during drying time.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Parts of the Angeles Forest Reopen - Today!

Although Hghwway 2 into the Angeles National Forest remains closed, today, two and a half years after the Station Fire, larger portions of the forest and many popular trails will reopen.

A word to the wise: many of the trails may not be in good shape. There may be washed out areas, rock slides, and fallen trees. Many trails will be different and many fire roads have yet to be graded.

Respect any trail closure signs you come across - although these trails are in the newly opened areas of the forest, some individual trails may still be posted as closed. For the sake of forest recovery and for your safety stay off those trails.

A list of the openings:

Brown Mountain (to the saddle)

Gabrielino (JPL to Paul Little)

Gabrielino (Switzers to Redbox to Chantry)

Bear Canyon Trail

Sam Merrill Trail

Castle Canyon Trail

Sunset Ridge Trail

Mt. Lowe West Trail

Idlehour Trail

Kenyon Devore Trail

Rim Trail

Sturtevant Trail

Santa Clara Divide Truck Trail (Dillon Divide to Mt. Gleason to Three Points)

Chilao Loop/Mt. Hillyer

Vetter Road

Silver Mocassin


Valley Forge

Mt. Lukens road (once the highway opens)

Earl Canyon

Haines Canyon

Doc Larsen

What remains closed? In the map above, everything within the blue border line is still closed. This includes:

Strawberry Peak,

Tom Sloan

Dawn Mine

Upper Brown Mountain (Saddle to the Summit/Ken Burton)

Ken Burton

Gabrielino from Switzers to Paul Little

Grizzly Flat


Stone Canyon

Condor Peak Trail

Trail Canyon

Alder Creek

Colby Canyon


Mueller Tunnel

I've heard that the parts of the forest have been open for awhile have been very crowded. It will be nice to be able to spread out a little.

More info here: http://arcadia.patch.com/articles/graphic-reopened-areas-of-the-angeles-national-forest-2#photo-6051345

The Forest Service map with zoom capability can be found here:http://maps.fs.fed.us/stationfire/

Be careful and happy hiking!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Sold: Coastal Pines Overlook I

Coastal Pines Overlook I  ©2011 Katherine Kean
oil on linen 6 x 6"
I spent all of yesterday afternoon at the emergency vet with my dog Bear. Somehow he got a foxtail in his ear, even though he was indoors at the time. There was quite a wait with lots of pets coming in needing immediate care. The wait was so long that Bear fell asleep under my chair. I've never seen him so relaxed in a vet's office before. What's more, I looked up to see someone I know coming through the door - a lovely woman that I've worked with over the years. She and her dog were experiencing their own canine medical emergency. We used the long wait to catch up. 

Our turn finally came. The vet got the foxtail out we went happily on our way. Once home, I found a message on the phone from the gallery saying that Coastal Pines Overlook I had sold.

Monday, May 02, 2011

What is Your Most Used Color?

Katherine Kean, Marsh Labyrinth, original oil painting, Cape Cod, The Great Marsh, cloudy, brooding, turbulent, atmospheric sky, amber, brown, copper, sedge, low tide, moody, reflective, contemporary
Marsh Labyrinth work in progress ©2011 Katherine Kean
30 x 24" oil on linen

Other than white, which may be the most used color for many painters, what is the the most often used color on your palette? For me it's a toss up between Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Orange. I use both of them a lot in mixing. The blue is obvious in the end results, but the Cadmium Orange might be a surprise. Not only do I use it a lot in under painting, but I just get something out of looking at it. Is there such a thing as a "color high"?

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