Saturday, March 13, 2010

Abstraction thoughts and tracking

Bay 3
11 x 14, Bristol

Last Thursday, I had a wonderful day going through the top Portland art galleries with art friend Celeste Bergin. We saw some beautiful abstract work but my favorite was at Butters Gallery and the work of Silvia Poloto. I loved her sense of color, use of line and shape, and sensitivity to composition. Click on her name to see her work.

I am intrigued by abstract art and I don't always understand it. Celeste and I had (and continue to have) good discussions about abstract art and its relationship to realism in an artist's development.

With that in mind, I came home from our great Portland Galleries Adventure curious and interested in trying on for myself some of the ideas that govern abstract art. For a start, I have taken a landscape that is meaningful to me (the salt marsh at Willapa Bay on the Washington coast) and tried to simplify and abstract the shapes. Here are my three attempts. Maybe I should say, these are my attempts so far. I think I have farther to go.

abstractions of Willapa Bay

Finally, a peek at my painting journal. Every time I paint, I make a few notes about what I hoped to accomplish with the painting. Sometimes I focus on composition, other times edges or value, earlier this week I responded to viewing the Richard Schmid DVD by painting a barn, and so on.

This record is hand written in a spiral bound lined journal like some people use as diaries. I keep it on a shelf in my studio. In it, I record the date, the number of the painting, a working title, the dimensions, the medium and surface used, and any thoughts I have about the painting. Sometimes I include critique comments if I bring it to the group. Over time, it has become the annotation to my development as a painter.

The painting I finished this morning, the one at the top of this post, is painting #705.


Kaylyn said...

This is a great image...and the abstract qualities are strong.

"Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. A hill or tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or tree. It is lines and colors put together so that they may say something." - Georgia O'Keeffe

I think your explorations here will only make your figurative/literal work better!

I started a journal like that. Got to I think number three, forgot about doing and now have no idea where I put it!!! I'm impressed with your methodical consistency.

loriann said...

Katherine, Seems like you have great work habits and they are paying off in a big way. Love the sense of rhythm in this bigger painting. The three smalls look good too. Keep working and thinking like you do!

Suzanne said...

I love your Bay paintings !
They truely give the feeling of the Willapa serenity.

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Dear Katherine,

I enjoyed looking over your should and taking part of your journey with Celeste. It is good to spend time with a friend and one who also is an artist and so understand our quirks.

You note book is very much like the one I keep, noting the process of a painting or my ideas about one.

Thank you for sharing,