Messin' with the Masters

Messin' with Miro

I completed some Joan Miro inspired journal spreads prompted by "Inspired By" at Milliande.  It was an interesting prompt for me as I have never been attracted to Miro's work.  Upon studying his paintings and techniques, I was intrigued by his use of geometric shapes in his compositions, and of course, I was also intrigued by the way he used pure, bright colors.

For my first spread, I began with an craft acrylic wash of a toned-down red. Then I added a wash of white craft acrylic making sure that some of the red still showed.  After that dried, I lightly drew my sketch with pen.

I have to admit it was fun filling in blocks of pure, primary color, even though it was tedious work for me. This was a step away from "the box" for me, but taking such a risk proved enlightening to my understanding of Miro's work.

Studying Miro's  methodology gave me some insight into what his work is about.  I can't say I'm any more attracted to his work, but I'm glad I took the time to get to "know" him!

I wasn't happy with the stark white of the background, so I gave it a light layer of yellow ochre colored pencil. I decided that I wanted to explore Miro's techniques a little more and completed a second spread.

Miro is an artist whose work I may not be attracted to, but I'm happy that I took the time to understand his techniques.  I think it's always rewarding to gain new perspectives and gain insight into the things we don't immediately understand or appreciate.  

I hope you'll take time for "Messin' with the Masters".  You may be surprised at what you learn.

Messin' with Klimt

Working with with my first Klimt study became tedious and tiresome so I started another Klimt spread.  I flipped through my Klimt book and studied the beautiful way in which he rendered women.  I was drawn to the patterns in his painting, "Judith II (Salome)", and decided to sketch out something based on it.

As I began sketching, I wondered how Klimt might have painted me so I decided to make it a self portrait of sorts.

I needed to put something on the left side of my spread, and Klimt's "Death and Life" to be appealing in it's theme of life cycle.  I was drawn to the pattern and colors of death, so I began sketching that in, too.

I was eager to start painting, so I began blocking in the color on my portrait.  In Klimt's painting, the figure is seen holding the severed head of either Holofernes (if it's Judith), or the Baptist (if she represents Salome).  I thought about what I should put on my painting and I remembered Mom telling me that I should "stop wearing my heart on my sleeve." I thought about who my heart is - thus the imagery representing Keith.

As I began applying more color, I thought about the fact that my left breast - the breast reduced in size from cancer and lumpectomy, was exposed. 

I thought about the irony that I had chosen "death" to place opposite my portrait and I thought about the fact that I had escaped the grip of death and remain cancer free for 12 1/2 years. 

What began as I study of Klimt's paintings became a personal story of triumph and the first representation of self acceptance after this life changing ordeal.

That death and I will one day meet is an absolute certainty.  That I have grown stronger spiritually and face each new day with possibility is another certainty.  I thank Mr. Klimt for his beautiful paintings and for helping me to see myself in a more beautiful way.

Messin' with Klimt

For some inexplicable reason, I became obsessed with the artwork of Gustav Klimt during the Christmas holiday season. I've admired his work for a long time, and years ago, I created a series of paintings inspired by his style. At that time, I didn't really "study" his method of painting, so I decided to take a closer look at his compositions.

I found this wonderful website,, and read about his life, and studied his paintings and drawings. (CAUTION: His drawings contain explicit sex imagery). It's been said that he was quite a womanizer, but what I saw as I gazed at his paintings, was a respect for women as creatures of great beauty. As I studied the patterns in his work, I suddenly remembered seeing this stunning photograph of the model, Iman, (David Bowie's wife) taken by Mark Seliger for Harper's Bazaar Magazine.

Inspired by this photo of Iman and Klimt's, "Tree of Life", I began my own journal spread in the style of Klimt.
I began with pages that I had coated with paint left over from my previous spread.

First, I roughed in the Iman inspired figure using a medium shade of ultramarine blue.

Then I took ultramarine, red, yellow and white to mix a rich brown. It had a little too much blue, so I warmed it by adding more red.

I lightly sketched in the tree trunk and a few of the main limbs with a pencil, and then I painted it in with the brown.

I then began adding details to the face and hair. I decided that I didn't like all the yellow, so I toned it down by adding pink to the background. I used the same red and white that I used for mixing the brown.

I decided that the tree was too dark, so I put a layer of orange on top of it because I knew I would be adding more blue to the spread. I added the details of the bird and then the flower shapes.

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