Out On A Limb

posted in: Kay's Musings | 0



  • December 22, 2021  Every now and again an artist goes out on a limb.  That is what I am doing, again, at this time in my artistic career.  First you knew me as a traditional Sumi-e painter, watercolor and ink on rice paper with traditional Asian subjects.  I spent years enjoying the feeling of brush on paper and scaling down the number of brush strokes until only the most necessary were included in the painting.  Simplicity.  And discipline.  Years of it.  My passion at that time was a hidden gift, one that allowed me to refine and perfect my art.  A natural consequence of spending 24 years painting in a particular style is that you do evolve.  As I studied diverse techniques, influenced by various masters, I put them all in my own pot of soup and stirred – alot. Then add 15 more years to the pot. My personal “thumbprint” became more evident as I moved into p’o mo, or splash and pour.  My move to Wyoming cemented my concentration on landscape painting where I can’t get enough of mountains (though lakes and rivers do make their appearances).   

    I have been asked, on occasion, who my artistic influences are.  First were my mentors when I was a recent college graduate, JOHN LINDSTROM and MARTIN FOWLER, who were my bosses at a Minneapolis commercial art studio, and encouraged experimentation without judgment. VAN GOGH – more for his approach than a particular painting. He painted beautiful haunting scenes, his brushwork and colors conveyed energy, he eliminated the unnecessary. Perhaps his painting Starry Night, because I love to paint skies, especially dusk and night. Runners up – MONET, for his loose paintings of beauty in nature, and because he was successful. HIROSHIGE (Japanese woodblock artist) for his elegance and graphic style, and CHANG DAI-CHIEN (“arguably China’s greatest modern painter”/Washington Post article) for his unparalleled mastery of brushstrokes.  But mostly GEORGIA O’KEEFFE.  Her distillation and elimination of details fits so nicely with my Asian training, and I am at home with her vision of the western landscape (southwestern for her).

    Here is where I actually go out on a limb.  In the back of my mind I long considered how I might pay homage to O’Keeffe but with my own personal thumbprint.  It takes me some time to formulate these ideas.  After I found an elk leg bone recently on a hike near my home in the Tetons, the impetus to develop a new series finally came to the surface.  O’Keeffe’s bone paintings have been among my favorites and now I have my own Rocky Mountain landscape and local bones to explore some intriguing artistic ideas.

    I hope you like them.  If you don’t, I understand.  Floating bones in the sky are not the norm, not my norm, and might take some getting used to.  But my style, my particular technique, my mountain landscapes, my preferred surface to paint on (metallic shikishi board), my Asian influenced compositional approach, and my saturated colors are still present.  Instead of traditional “Stone Soup”, it is now Bone Soup.  I guess my name for this new series might actually be Out On A Limb.






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