I was driving through a nice afternoon rain shower and noticed how the sky was starting to open up. The sight real caught me as magical, rain was still coming down hard and yet grey grey everywhere except in this small portion of sky. When I see opportunities to observe what nature provides/skies I am usually driving so the overhead lines seem to always seek part of the stage. Darn things seem to always ruin the view…. however this time the contrast between thick and thin lines made the scene complete in my mind’s eye. As is my style the surface has quite a bit of texture, especially since the blues seemed too strong until I covered the whole piece with white tissue paper…got my colors right and got a lot of texture to boot. Not sure I am out of my slow period yet, but this is a nice start.
I got to wondering about my enjoyment doing octopi and ocean floor scenes. I remembered reading all of the Ocean books in my H.S. library (Shawnee Heights, Tecumseh, Kansas) had this wild notion to join up with Jacques Cousteau my hero, the crazy part about it… I was afraid of water or at least water that I couldn’t see the bottom of. Then I started liking architecture, especially Frank Lloyd Wright , even though i had a fear of heights over 20 or 30 feet. Despite my fear architecture won out. I figured I could stay with cool looking western one story high ranch style houses with that low lean look…oh and only be 10 to 15 feet high…lol. At any rate after 2 years and an associate degree in architecture, I knew it wasn’t for me…so off to be an art teacher, something that I always loved, seemed to be good at, and had only a couple of fears… furnaces (ceramics, casting metal and glass blowing) and speaking in front of people ! Surely college could cure those issues…right, right?
This piece above was something I kept on my bulletin board during my years at Ottawa University, Kansas… adding things every so often to its landscape. The title? well remember the Alka-Seltzer commercials, the bathysphere started out as a tablet fizzing and bubbling. Octopi? If you look hard enough you will find at least one octopi and several squid…this was something that I could often look at during long study hours and feel a sense of ease…took me to a place I thought at one time was my future dream…notice how far you can see in my ocean…pure fantasy
Oh by the way, manufacturing cured my fears of speaking in front of people and using and being around furnaces…but even with a degree in ART I never quite got to being a professional teacher of art…a small regret, but I like what I see in the mirror…so it is all good.
I remember an assignment in college when we were asked to use bottled ink and whatever size pen point and or brush we wanted. It was to be a subject on a vast piece of paper, but the subject was to come across as small in relationship to its surroundings. I did at least three of these of which this is all I have left, back then I most likely give them away to friends or girls i was trying to impress. Any rate this piece was about 36 x 48 inches on fine illustration paper, not sure were our teacher got the paper…Lynn Havel was his name, a great teacher at BU-CO JU-CO, Eldorado Kansas…back to the assignment I had a small black shadow of a stork flying with no details, couldn’t go outside of the class to work on the piece nor bring in other outside resources (like Audubon..lol) Lucky for me I was a bird watcher for 3 years when I lived in Massachusetts. Came out pretty good I think, got a little lazy on the wings after a while tho…it amazes me how the colors after all these years are still the same, well maybe the paper is a little yellow. Proves the point about using quality materials, this piece is 42 years old.
I like showing stuff like this because people think if you do abstract work you mustn’t be able to do more realistic things…I do abstracts because that is what excites me, …now.
Doing ocean floor themed pieces with my Octopi pal is fun…and this one is no exception. The focus on most of these pieces is the coral and then the octopi…and as is with all of these so far an old wrecked ship lurking in the background…used to think I was going over the top with my color on the octopi, until i watched a PBS special…if anything I am understating the shocking bright neon colors these animals can produce.
Nothing deep to doing these, just pure enjoyment in the process and time spent.
Every artist has pieces that never work out as well as they want. The masters just painted over them until they liked it enough to keep…I don’t by any stretch compare myself to them, but I am an artist…and I have pieces that don’t appeal to me as well as others…I present you with “5 What”, this has been worked many times until I just stopped..Sorry Mr. Robert Indiana, I couldn’t pull it off. Why show it? Because I think it is important as artist we don’t take ourselves too seriously and keep our ego in check, Besides I did have fun doing this piece.The background is interesting , all lines are actually hundreds and hundreds of fives done in many colors, then a tissue paper over lay. But even tho this piece wouldn’t make my top 10, or 50 or 100…it wasn’t wasted time. We prefect our craft by doing, at an earlier age i might have painted over this or torn it up and used pieces for something else…but this piece holds a more meaningful place among my works…my example/reminder of effort/ not quitting, every effort is worth my time…who knows this might be a perfect fit for Sesame Street
Some pieces come to be because of the last one done…in this case i was doing Taping Down The Views and I went all circles in this piece. Lots of the same processes went into making this just like Shields. This was a phase when i used markers and acrylics and then hi-lighted back with pen work. Not sure if I could find a scene like this under a microscope…but it sure looks like it. If the shapes look a little out of sorts, they are…didn’t use aids to make perfect circles and arches, more organic this way…that’s not to say aids don’t have their place, it’s a choice.
I was working in an aluminum manufacturing foundry when I saw a sheet of this usual packing paper…I believe it has some properties to prevent moisture, which may explain why it took so many coats of acrylic finish. At any rate I managed to find a sheet in one piece and set it aside…come forward a couple of years later and I found a good use for it. I love the texture and it was a nice challenge to lay color down and not damage the surface, specially the pencils. The title speaks a little to its history as well as the content…this was the last of a three-piece series…sometimes the ideas come so fast for me, I do a few and then it’s on to the next idea bouncing around my mind…who knows if I return to these type/style of pieces, time will tell.
One of a series of three I did using shapes, shades and the color of the paper. I let the circles influence the shape of the rectangles and kinda went from there. When I was in shop class many years ago we worked with plastics, layering them together and making items from those colorful sheets. I remember how cool the colors were when they overlapped, alast I never had the money to try anything with them back then. So one might see my thinking when playing with these shapes and colors. Each one was a playful experience and time flew during the process, completion came when it didn’t make sense to add more. Title? Well i did grow up in the 60′s & 70′s so it fit with that period in my mind.
Punch out from a board game, new color pencils, markers and the need to use my acrylics…and this is what you get. The background colors were done with the colored pencils and the outlines were the markers, after that I went to town with the acrylics. At first it was just various shades of bright yellow and then the idea formed about sunflowers…after all Kansas and sunflowers go hand in hand, right? Then if you care about the flowers one must put them in a vase, but not any vase …a red vase, must stay classical, right? The greens and browns should be self explanatory. Had to work on the border some, as plain didn’t look right at all. Quite a bit of raised textured, course the reflections show that.
Without the title not many would guess my intent, but I would hope they would at least enjoy the view.
Still working those tasty oranges from Sunkist, no I have never worked for them. I really got thick on the hand textures and deep, must be almost a quarter of a inch high in places. Still haven’t changed my shade of fingernail polish, just thinned it out a little…no i don’t wear it, it provides the accent i need from time to time in my artist visions. I think my surfaces are somewhere between gloss and matte but slightly more reflective than satin…must be the several layers the surface gets before I stop…I believe you could spill a cup of coffee, triple shot, and still never see a stain
I really like this floor design on this piece, if I was to put tile down on my basement studio floor this would be it.
For the record i have at least 4-5 black and white sketches that i may turn into one of my permanent finger series…you never know…still lurking in my in head.
Here is the more focused and front on picture i promised. I continue to do these and i have in fact finished a 9th, still hasn’t got boring…not sure what that sayes about me…lol I really enjoyed building the texture as this has almost a relief look to it, especially the fingers and oranges. Had to color the hand as white was too dominate, notice the almost tattoed looking arm…don’t ask what the golden mass to right of the can is, I am still tring to figure it out…but it breaks the black up well Click on the art until you get close-up view, I think it is worth seeing on these piece especially.
Ever wonder what to do with the pad board when you finally finish a pad? They make a wonderful surface for markers and ink and take acrylic finishes well, leaving a nice surface finish. This is a doodle finished out and detailed to come up with this urban type setting…not sure about modern or not, but love the flow back and forth. The shapes are ones i have used in the past but never as many or varied. Without the white this may be a nice exercise but with the white i find it a fun piece to look at and drift about the composition. The silver helps and is a nice contrast to the white. Gold and copper markers contrast well with the natural color of the pad…and the black helps to finish it off. Was tempted to add letters as accents but the piece was fine without, will log that idea for the next time. Title…in a crowded city I would hope this to be true.
I have never seen one in person and don’t real know if i care too, but from pictures I have seen forest fires create eerie landscapes to be sure. This was a piece inspired by my sister, who is part of the army of people working for the government that fight these bad boys. I can only imagine the fury and destruction they cause…but in a sense it is also about rebirth and transformation, things that forest areas have been doing for thousands of years…and will continue to do long after we are gone. She is starting to gather a small collection of these, I believe she has three now, from a series of three!!! My favorite one was HAUNTING AFTERMATH.
Pretty basic stuff here, but never the less a nice journey playing with light and color. This is a piece that looks good from afar or up close. Thought I might get cutesy with the title but then that would take away from the intent…sweet and simple. Someday maybe this will be “Knieling’s Blueboy”, a classic from the reknown artist from Kansas.
8.5×11 in. pen and ink.
This is the second one done during my downtime while at this past years art prowl. The subject was actually from some words I had put on my blotter, “art can be elusive,” in my basement studio.(by the way that is my blotter in the background on this photo) While thinking about that this piece took form…drawing about words I try to link most objects, although it isn’t a hard fast rule. In fairness to the process this was finished at my desk and not during the art prowl…the biggest clue…note the bottle of terro, i am sure most art shows wouldn’t require it It was just an interesting object in my line of site and filled the void presented on the paper. Same could be said about my glass of ice cold diet coke. The rest? … they are almost just positioned doodles in a pen and ink composition. But none the less these are fun to do even if all never get completed or see the light of day…lol
BS or Art? Art can be so elusive to most people, but we must all try our best. Ken Knieling 2011
PS…If it makes my work seem better to you thinking BS is short for cow manure then i am fine with it…but the truth is it stands for Bored Scribbles , used that in college and it still fits . As to if it is ART?…well that is in the eye of the beholder, right?
8.5x11in. pen and ink.
For those in my neck of the woods Sweet Sally’s in Cookeville,Tennessee has 16 of my pieces on display. Stop by have a coffee and sandwich or a nice pastry and see my work. Should be around thru June.
When one has a show in a local art prowl, and not in one area, people coming thru can be feast or famine at times. I am not much of a book reader so I start drawing, mushing stuff together, trying to make it fit. During this past art prowl I did three pieces, two I will share…the other, let’s just say it was good exercise.
One of my early visitors started talking about taking pictures of bears in Alaska…needless to say my imagination started going from there. As for any wording my piece didn’t come with a spell checker . Can’t say I had any conversations about zombies, Frankenstein, or spiders but then it was my imagination running un-checked.
9×11 in. mixed media.
Not a bad place to be stuck, doing my orange/finger/cloud/soda series…so I present my official 7th in a series. Finding inspiration can be elusive, however I have been taking loads of pictures…nature, sunsets, trees, angles in buildings and building frames for finished pieces. But my several new illustration boards cut and ready to go remain stark white…or are they winter’s last white out on the plains
We all go thru periods and I am having one now, but I blame myself. You see when i started doing art again several years ago I told myself i will finish each piece prior to starting another (I might have fudged once or twice) and I have managed to stay this course…so far. I believe my works are fresher for it and it allows me to bounce around with my ideas, which i enjoy.
At this point I am looking for my oranges, and not to eat, can you say 8th finger……..
9×11 in. mixed media.
Been kinda of on a dry spell lately, so I went to my fall back…chasing the best finger/orange/soda piece. As some of you will remember I finished this out and shortly after my creativity returns…and I start putting pieces out again. I did try drawing some thoughts on paper, but nothing seemed to jell or seem worth going after. So here I am with another finger piece…if this works, things will be back to normal/creative productivity. Yes that is popcorn on top of the soda can…what you have never try it?
This is the second time I have used these forms in an airy above earth type abstract. Each time I feel like doing something else below the form but as I spend time with it…it is just right the way it is. The titles speak to my family roots or at least plays with those roots…as i am sure those that know us will smile. I tried to make the clouds more abstract and at least one over the shoulder critic pointed out the clouds don’t have holes in them…well mine do A couple of people have pointed out these shapes are like kites, I see that, but honestly I wasn’t going for that…but for the viewer art can be about what you see and what amuses you…the mind is a free space after all. Now maybe if I add a bowler hat and a green apple, hmmmmm…nah too corny
Oh, for those just finding me you might try looking at my earlier posts, my style is abstract but as you will see I bounce around as to the type of stuff I do…just a suggestion,thks.
15×20 in. mixed media on illustration board. LONGER EXPOSURE AND DIFFERENT LIGHTING, BETTER PHOTO,TRY CLOSE-UP NOW. When I published this newer photo it deleted everyones likes and comments that were on at the time, SORRY,my bad...
Found some long forgotten hot pressed illustration board and it is wonderful to work with using my medias. After playing with a few colors I set out to make use of the play piece, hate to waste anything…must be GREEN as possible. For days I kept at clouds, sky, and farm land before it came to focus in my mind. Rectangles! The patchwork land from above is rectangles, the sky is one big rectangle on the canvas…why not make the clouds out of many rectangles…and who wouldn’t want to fly in a rectangular shaped balloon. Everything seemed to fit and I got a little inventive making the balloons from triangles so to play with colors. I must admit it took me hours to settle on the balloon colors, and only when I used white for the middle 3 did it come together for me. From a distance the clouds seem very cloudly shaped, but as in most of my works you need to get up close and personal to see what is happening. I am pretty pleased with it…EXCEPT…Part of my vision was to use netting below the balloon with another shape for the gondola…MIGHT STILL HAPPEN or MAYBE DO ANOTHER PAINTING WITH THAT IDEA…I guess I need to live with this piece for awhile and see what speaks to me.