Archive for October, 2007

Japanese butterfly

October 4, 2007


Japanese butterfly Chalk Pastel 50 x 65 cm

A positive spin on Kristin Krimmel’s work is that it very diverse, from realism right down to some goofy conceptual collages of banal household stuff sandwiched in plastic. It ranges through oils, watercolours, chalk pastels, collages and photography.

The down side is of her work is that it lacks “consistency” in the gallery definition of the word. That is, if you see one work of the artist, you should be able to recognize all of the work of that artist. It’s a principle near and dear to the hearts of gallery directors.

In my career,I was counselled by one of these directors that if they took on my work, I would have to continue producing in that vein of design on demand if I were to be taken on by the gallery. There would be no shift in style or subject if I wanted to remain in the “stable” of artists presented in the gallery.

I did not conclude an agreement to work with that gallery. I hold dear my liberty to paint what concerns me, what I think needs to be said in imagery, whether it is

  • This is beautiful and needs to be recorded (flowers, still life work, landscapes, sunlight blessing something with it’s presence)
  • This is something that often goes unnoticed (women’s work, construction, electrical and telephone wires dividing up the sky)
  • A commentary on or recording society and it’s foibles (the sandwiching of common household and office paraphernalia between archival plastic; freeze frame capturing human activity in one’s community)
  • A political commentary (cartoons)
  • An exploration of materials and some aspect of the abstract or non representational visual context that results in an abstract design.

If we, as artists, give up our right to express our feelings, our insights, our vision to a commercial demand for visual wallpaper, we become lackeys to commercial interests.

I balance that with: some of the work represented in commercial galleries is excellent work, has vision, meaning and integrity. But when an artist has spent his entire life reproducing the same imagery one of two things happens – it gets stale and meaningless, or the in-depth exploration of a single narrow vision blossoms into something richer.

It’s why I like Lucien Freud’s work. Or Edgar Degas.

What do you think, as an artist? Where are you going? What is the light that guides your path?


Rain, Rain go away

October 3, 2007


Dessert flowers. Chalk pastel on paper by Kristin Krimmel (visit to see more) 

It’s a grey and rainy day here. There was a clap of thunder just a few minutes ago. It took five minutes before the clouds opened up and dumped a huge bucket load of rain water upon this corner of the earth. It’s only the beginning of October and there was hail in it or sleet or something.

So I chose this warm picture to share with you. It a small chalk pastel, about 10 x 14 inches,  of prickly pear cactus and yellow dessert flowers in Arizona (I’m trying to think dry and sunny to balance things up). I like this one because it’s fresh and clean – no overworking, single stroke marks, no muddy colours; enough information to know what it is; no hair-of-the-dog uberrefined detail. I like the rhythms of the round shapes of the cacti and then the implied circles in the disposition of the yellow flowers.

Rain, rain, go away…

Well that’s what I get for living in a rainforest!