Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Riff on Senecio

Patchwork, pieced, made of hand-dyed cotton, 16" x 16"
I chose the Klee 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.

Senecio, Paul Klee, oil paint on gauze, 1922

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.

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 the whole is less than the sum of its parts.  In fact it's a hot mess: Klee's image put through a blender. I think that without the organizational structure of a recognizable face, the piece has no unity. 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.

12 comments:

  1. Somehow I disagree about Klee's painting, to me the sum is greater than it's parts. When I look at the individual elements I find them boring, but put together I find I could look at the face for a long while. You have captured the colours perfectly, and I like your composition too, but I see the problems of trying to satisfy two objectives with one piece of work. I have done a very similar thing, and feel rather disappointed in myself.

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  2. When I wrote "the whole is less than the sum of its parts", I was referring to my patchwork. I took parts of Senecio that I liked and re-arranged them, but the result is disappointing to me.

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  3. I'd love to show someone who didn't know the inspiration for this piece and ask them which art work it reminded them of. In referencing Klee's colour palette and the lines in Senecio you have distilled the image to its basics but very much retained the feel of the original.

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  4. The colours you have chosen are just up my street! They are my favourites always. I do like the way you have taken the different shapes in the face and used them in a completely different way in your piece. I have found something wonderful and different in everyone's interpretations which is going to be such an interesting journey going forward.

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  5. I could see straight away the link between the two pieces - yours and his - so that is a success. Colours are perfect. I also liked your thinking behind the process, but I am tempted to agree that it may lack focus - eyes maybe? Is it worth having another attempt putting your thoughts/observations into practice? Whatever, you have made a useful discovery. H

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  6. You've done well with the colour and the patchwork composition, but I do agree with you. It's a nice background. But then, this is all part of our learning experience I think and it's what makes this whole project so valuable- for us as well as you.

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  7. In interpreting this piece I can see how the colour combination, which is unusual, is a vital element . I really love the way you have combined the colours so that there is no doubt that the inspiration was from 'Senecio'. I enjoy looking at it. R

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  8. I do like how you have taken the colours of one style and converted them into another. Still so Paul Klee. If still disappointed maybe a few black marks somewhere?

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  9. I do like how you have taken the colours of one style and converted them into another. Still so Paul Klee. If still disappointed maybe a few black marks somewhere?

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  10. Always nice when you can 'kill two birds with one stone' plus it can give you some direction. Good idea to use the colour palette, I'm tucking that away in my memory.

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  11. I like the colour proportion in the overall scheme.

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  12. I like the colour combination. I agree with Phil: maybe it could be used as a background to black lines.

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