Creation During Quarantine | Behind the Canvas with Jim Klein

Pistachio

Since March, the whole world has been under lockdown and in various stages of isolation. While in quarantine, many folks across the nation have picked up new hobbies and completed projects to make the most of this strange and trying time. Abstract artist Jim Klein has also been hard at work. Thorn Point Flowers, Pistachio, and Hook are a few of the pieces Jim has completed during quarantine. He took some time to give us a look behind the canvas.

What was the process behind Thorn Point Flowers, Pistachio and Hook?

Thorn Point Flowers

Jim: With everything going on, I haven’t felt out-of-bounds creative lately, so I kept to my default: florals. These began to take shape while I was painting over older, unfinished canvases. If I am stuck on a painting, I’ll keep layering the canvas with paint as I work on other pieces until I become unstuck. I completed two paintings, Thorn Point Flowers and Pistachio, using this method. 

This technique results in added dimension. I spent a lot of time on Thorn Point Flowers, initially finding myself frustrated as I ran into opposition from my art supplies. Some of the paint was quite old, and my palette knife quickly revealed sharp points in the stubborn old paints. Pushing through the resistance, I found that the paint’s rigid nature created a wealth of natural dimension within the composition, adding an element that wouldn’t have otherwise been there. 

It just goes to show, sometimes you need to just find a way to work with what’s in front of you. You never know what you’re going to end up with.

With Hook, it was a bit different. A friend of mine told me he writes music every day, so I thought I’d follow his lead and try my hand at painting every day.

Hook

Did this philosophy help you create Hook?

Jim: It seemed to contribute. This past spring, my wife was making a lovely meal on the farm one evening. I came in to see if dinner was ready and saw the oven had some time left. I thought about my “paint every day” philosophy and decided I might as well get to work. 

You might recall that I have a very staunch “Waste Not” mindset, when it comes to painting, and at the time I had been trying to use up some older paints from other works. The backwash on this canvas had already been completed some time before. I started blending colors that spoke to me. 

As the piece revealed itself, a lot of unexpected details started to appear. A seascape, a sunscape, a hook. The colors reminded me of salmon, or of a Caribbean summer. A lot of geometric elements became apparent, as is the case in many of my paintings. For all the frustration I experienced in the process, the painting turned out to be a very interesting piece. 

Trusting in my brush, the whole process flowed as if guided by someone else and before I knew it, when I stepped back a nearly-realized composition was before me, and at a perfect stopping point just in time for dinner.

Thorn Point Flowers, Pistachio and Hook are available at the Online Gallery! Click here to view more of Jim’s floral abstract paintings.

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