Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Latest 12 by the dozen challenge: Paul Klee

My 12 by the dozen group has begun a new series of challenges. Our first series was inspired by a particular word (Reflections, Connections, Structure, etc.) and the second series was sparked by a specific colour.

For this new series, we are responding to the work of a particular 20th-century artist. Member Patricia A'Bear chose Paul Klee as the focus for this first quarterly challenge. We were free to concentrate on a single painting, or on his entire oeuvre.

Senecio, Paul Klee, oil paint on gauze, 1922
I chose this painting, Senecio, as my starting point. I always assumed it represented a child, but then I learned that the title can be translated as "Old Man", from the Latin, "senescere", or "to grow old". Still, I find the colours suggest youth and light-heartedness. From this painting, I chose my palette, and I also used some of its simple curves and shapes.

As the final assignment for the Jane Davies course Beyond the Colour Wheel, participants were asked to take the small, 3-colour collages we had made and "tile" them together. In other words, to take those 3" squares or rectangles and put them onto a grid, with no spaces between, just to see what they looked like arranged as a group. So my response to the 12 by the dozen challenge also met the criteria for the last assignment of my on-line course.

Patchwork, made of hand-dyed cotton, 16" x 16"
Many of Klee's paintings suggest a patchwork or a mosaic, with small square-ish shapes "tiled" to form a kind of loose grid, so my use of a grid is also a reference to Klee. I tried to use the colours in more or less the same proportion that Klee used them in Senecio.

In summary, I'd say that I like the original painting, I like the colours, I like the shapes, and I like the idea of a grid. But somehow, in my interpretation, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. I think that without the organizational structure of a recognizable face, the piece has no unity. It's a hot mess: it looks like it went through the blender. Klee's painting has a variety of small, medium and large shapes. My patchwork has only small and smaller. It's one thing to fulfill the requirements of a class assignment or a group challenge, but it's another thing to make good work.

Your thoughts?

To see the other responses to our latest challenge, some of them spectacular, please visit the 12 by the dozen website or blog.

1 comment:

Susan B said...

I don't know about it being a hot mess, lol, it would be an awesome pillow. :) I do agree that it needs more sizes of pieces. Also, you could group the colors together a bit more, yet without just copying the painting. That might give it a better flow for the eye. I love your work, btw, and your blog is so very helpful!