Visions of Manhattan | Behind the Painting with Jim Klein


As Jim Klein likes to say, he expresses life experiences through painting abstract art. It’s spontaneous with a deep consciousness that connects with people. He believes we condense our experiences and our travels, storing them in a personal visual library that comes out in various ways as we move through life.
How did Manhattan begin?

Jim: At the time, we were repainting the Farm Studio office in Colorado, experimenting with different colors until we finally landed on red.

I had some great yellow paint leftover on a brush from the sample colors and thought to myself, “Well, what the heck, I don’t want to waste the paint” and brushed it onto a blank canvas. The painted canvas sat in the Farm Studio for a while after that.

Was this piece another result of your Peripheral Art practice?

Jim: Manhattan was, yes. As long-time readers remember, peripheral art are paintings that result from an unrelated piece. I use this practice as a way to not waste supplies if I find myself with extra paint on the brush.

Months back in preparation for the Jackson Hole Art Fair, I was working on a very large piece titled Outfielder. I was using an enormous brush (at least 8 inches wide) while the canvas that would become Manhattan was part of the peripheral canvases I had set up while working on Outfielder to “catch” the extra paint.  

How did you settle on the title?

Jim: The paint had layered in such a way that an outline had faintly appeared, so I brought a little more geometry onto the canvas. The cityscape took shape.

As I worked, I recalled years ago flying into New York and seeing the skyline of Manhattan from the window of an airplane. The rough paint outlines reminded me of the city.

Later, when Manhattan was hung up for display, I had a visitor tell me, “Oh wow, I see the Hudson River!” so I think the title is fitting.

Would you ever consider intentionally creating a city series?

Jim: I could certainly try, but then there’s the potential it could become something completely different during the process… like a rainforest. That’s happened before.

The subjects of my paintings are very seldom intentional. At a certain point, something takes over the brush, canvas, and paints and I have no control; the art goes where it goes.

Manhattan is available for purchase at the Online Gallery! Click here for details.

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