The Unexpected Warrior | Art Q&A with Jim Klein

“Art has a voice – let it speak.”

~ Rochelle Carr, Abstract Expressionism Artist

Abstract artist Jim Klein often remarks that once the brush meets canvas, it has a mind of its own. The paints and brush work together and go their own way; the artist is simply along for the ride.

A recent example of this phenomenon resulted in one of Jim’s latest works, Warrior. He took a moment to discuss this massive painting’s beginnings.

You indicated that this painting went its own way during its creation… could you expand on what that means?

Jim: My initial intention before beginning Warrior was to paint a large cow portrait similar to Molly and Gertrude. As I began the work, I realized the direction of the paint and wash just didn’t feel aligned with a cow.

What did you do when you realized you weren’t going to be painting a cow?

Jim: That day, I was painting outside using a palm tree to prop the canvas against. It was a lovely day out and thankfully the wind was calm…

This particular canvas is very large and I had to use my step ladder while working away on the wash.

A young couple came walking along and – as I will sometimes do – I decided to ask them their thoughts on what was forming on the canvas so far. The guy watched the drying paint for a bit while the lady shared her thoughts with me.

At that point, all previous intentions of a cow portrait had left the canvas (and myself) entirely. I mentioned to the couple: “I was thinking about painting a Native American warrior, but I need a pose.” The young lady graciously volunteered but she was a little thing, however, the young guy was very tall and offered to model.

The pose he struck felt right and the brush took off across the canvas; I was just a witness. As the day went on, yellow, greens, teal were added. Touches of bronze pigment filled in the figure and highlighted the red, and then it all came together.

After a while I stepped back, let it dry against the palm tree, then brought Warrior into the Art Factory.

Did painting outside affect this painting’s final outcome?

Jim: I’ve said before how the street is a great teacher and can have a strong influence on the painting. Without that lovely young couple, Warrior could have come out completely different.

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