Friday, July 19, 2013

Wolf Kahn "aiming is wrong"

22x29 pastel
It has taken me awhile to wrap my mind around this thought from Wolf Kahn:
"Aiming is wrong. If you know ahead of time what you are doing it won't be good. You need to surprise yourself. "
He went on to share a story about a pitcher from the Astros baseball team who had bought a painting of his. "We got to talking and he had questions about my painting process. He said it was just like his process. He said that he trains, but can't plan his game ahead of time. He can't aim too much or the batter will know what he is going to do. He just has to have a general idea about where he wants the ball to go. Then he uses his full strength and lets go."

All the pitcher/artist's training and practice pays off, but he/she lets go. Trust.

This a retro fave post with a new painting. It is the Potomac river, early morning, overcast. it was done in the studio with this (below) painting for reference.


Caroline said...

Interesting comment Loriann. WK is an emotive painter that lets a painting become born during the painting session. I think you work the same way. We have to quietly learn the technical skills on how paint works on paper etc but the soul of the painting comes from a differnt place.

Sally Veach said...

I agree. It is necessary to learn and to have a starting point, but the soul of the painting depends on what comes spontaneously from within. At least in expressionist work...

I might drop by your show today! Going to my sister in NoVa, and we are going to see if we can make it to Bethesda today. Looking forward to seeing your work in person, Loriann!

Casey Klahn said...

This quote resonates with me. Maybe it explains part of why the thumbnail looks perfect, but then the enlargement never can (if too closely aimed). Hmm.

I like the masses in this one - it is also a departure. You are great at keeping your values just so. I often wish for that, but rarely hit the mark.

SamArtDog said...

We're all SO lucky you were the one to go to hear WK speak. Ever the assiduous note-taker, your reports are a gold mine of information filtered through a wealth of your own experience. Every morning I look forward to another installment.

I'm beginning to see that Kahn actually presents only a few priceless gems but has a wonderful variety of ways to say them. Wow--so expressive verbally as well as visually!

It's tempting but silly to restate what he says so well. Better to just be thankful you're the one who's passing it on.

loriann said...

Hi Carolyn! Don't you think paintings insist on having their way with you...that is successful paintings. The unsuccessful ones are when "we" won the battle. You are right about quietly learning the skills, but not letting it get in the way of painting.

Hi Sally, work with the ahhhhhh factor comes from within. Let me know if you stop by the gallery,,, it's amazing how different the work is in person. Thanks for even thinking of going!

Hi Casey,
I thought the quote would resonate with you. This painting has its strengths and weaknesses. It's a process piece not a keeper.You can tell just how wet it was outside by how the pastel stuck and wouldn't move in some parts. Onward....

Hi Sam! I am really delighted to be able to share some of WK's wealth of information. Don't you love his stories? The one about the pitcher hit home with me. Thanks for your comment!

Pam Holnback said...

Thee quotes and your thoughts about them are so great. Gives me lots to think about.

loriann said...

Hi Pam,
It always good to think and then think some more. Glad I could share a tidbit. Enjoy!

Brian McGurgan said...

I love the rich sense of light and texture in this one, Loriann, and thanks for passing on all of the WK wisdom!

Donna T said...

Thanks from me too for the WK wisdom - he has a way with words. I like how you used your plein air painting to inspire that gorgeous studio piece. It's like you combined the best of what you saw with what you really felt!