04 March 2012

Working Quick, Working Small

It's been so long since my last posting!  I just took on a new position and have been wrapped up in learning a new environment, a new staff and new communities. But today on a quiet, chilly gray Sunday, I decided I needed to do some catching up --

Is this my "Blue" phase? Not sure but this winter seemed to bring out blues in a variety of hues and values. For Wassily Kandinsky, blue was the color of spirituality: the darker the blue, the more it awakened human desire for the eternal (On the Spiritual in Art).  Kandinsky also developed a theory of geometric figures and their relationships, claiming that the circle was the most peaceful shape and represented the human soul.

Circular Thinking
acrylic on paper, 6" x 8" 
 mat opening of 3.5" x 5.5"; 8"x10"

Perhaps that helps explain the prevalence of blue -- the need to keep calm, to focus on serenity amidst a chaotic period of life.  I found I had to work quickly, sometimes just on a smaller scale; otherwise, I'd never had done anything. When going through interviews and waiting to hear the results, it was hard to concentrate on anything else. The creative life was shoved off to the side; not a good thing, but I had no choice. So these mini-works were about all I could handle.

Racing the Storms
oil pastel on bristol paper
3" x 5"

And I find that as I look back over these paintings and sketches, I like what came through -- nothing belabored, heavy and dull -- at least, in my opinion. The funny thing is that I have so many more that I unearthed from the piles stacked on the shelves or in portfolio bags -- pieces of larger paintings that just didn't make the grade, that I salvaged by cutting up and matting.

Ghost Barn
watercolor and pastel on Cartiera Magnani paper
6" x  6"

Why do larger paintings sometimes not work while the smaller bits do?   I'm not sure -- perhaps the brain can only take in and register pieces of a whole. Or is it that the artist is truly working on several paintings within the larger one?  Is it the push-pull between the right-brain and left-brain processes that seem to create this phenomenon?

6" x 8", acrylic on Yupo paper
matted to 8"x10" with 3.5"x5.5" opening

And then there is the color, again pushing through, insisting on a presence whether you want it there or not. Working quickly, working smaller -- spontaneity, process over detail -- swift movements that evoke a kinetic energy that inevitably calms . . .


Carole Reid said...

Lovely blues Kelly.
Your questions about working on large paintings are right in line with mine.
Why am I having such a hard time with the 4'x4' painting I've been working on this past month? There are some sections of it I love but there are bits that are bugging me. I'm going to work on some small ones just to take a break from the struggle.


On sent la rapidité d'exécution des ces œuvres de petit format et l'excellente maîtrise de la couleur qui en font des travaux attachants.


Kelly M. said...

Carole -- So glad I'm not alone in this sense! I think small also invites closer scrutiny -- perhaps viewers would spend more time looking at a smaller piece before moving on -- ? Good luck with your 4'x 4' work, too!

Kelly M. said...

Roger -- My sincere apologies for not spotting your comment sooner. My ability to visit my site has lately been infrequent because of the new job! Thank you for lovely note!