Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Klimt Connection

I wanted to touch on one of my other influences, Gustav Klimt. He had such a way with color and pattern, that I find his work absolutely fascinating! I looked at his technique and his use of pattern and color and I tried to imitate it in a few of my works. I experienced a breakthrough in the process. I discovered the layers of translucence that I can get with glazes. Glazing is painting an area with thinned out color over and over so that the end result is, well… translucent. Its hard to describe, but you know it when you see it.

My first 3 paintings using this technique were ones of my Trento series: The first was Trentette Barrettes, second was Trentiplenties and the third, which I think was the best, was Trentotex Fabrics. The glazing was used with all three, but the usage of pattern came more with the latter two. I just found so much enjoyment from the interplay of the shapes and colors.
This glazing technique as well as the use of shapes similar to Klimt’s (in spirit at least), carried over into later work - which leads me to one of my paintings that I’m most proud of ; The Smit Family portrait. Klimt used figures in a dream-like state in a good number of his paintings. This ethereal, airy feeling was one I thought I’d use to portray the family. There was a lot to incorporate into the picture: representations of 3 countries - USA, England and Holland as well as 5 people. Needless to say, using Big Ben, tulips, windmills, and the NYC skyline with a floating family was a tall task. Now, I’m no Klimt by any means, but as artists, what we are always doing is taking new ideas and elements wherever we find them and adding them to our own - making a whole new thing. That’s art!

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