The Laws of Nature

Friday, February 1, 2013

How do you do it?

Kirschhoff's First Law
watercolor on paper
26" x 20"
Katharine A. Cartwright, 2013
I hear this question all the time. But for me, the answer for "How do you do it?" when it comes to my art is no different from what your answer would be if the question were put to you. It's how I think.

Non-objective art derives from our imagination; our ability to see the mind's eye exclusive of what's really in front of us. The mind's eye has the wonderful ability to distort reality and transform it according to our will. Everyone has that ability, so I'm no different.

The real difference comes in how interested we are in our mind's eye. Do we want to spend time looking through its lens, or through someone else's? Do we imitate or "imaginate"? ( Sorry, that's not a word but it just seemed right).

I like to imaginate. How 'bout you?


Casey Klahn said...

It is a highly charged image, Catherine. Love these and hope to see more.

Susan Roux said...

Wow Katherine I haven't found you in a while! Looks like you've been busy painting, imaginating and finding your way through exhibitions spaces here in Maine. I didn't expect anything different from you. I love the drive! It's inspiring.

You captivate us so much with your shapes and where they lead, I often overlook the genius of your colors. As I see the banner pass above your post, it's clear each painting has it's own color theme. So as the viewer becomes entranced following your imaginary mechanics, they are subliminally being soothed by your simplicity in color. (And by simplicity, I really mean complexity...) I like how your mind works.

Dan Kent said...

Welcome back my art philosophy guru! I'm going to let folks know you are back so that hopefully we'll be able to continue having the type of discussions in the "old" days. Towards the end of last year I raised an art issue, and got the most unbelievable response - you should check out my 12/27 post. Folks are feisty out there!

Anyway, your series continues "highly charged" as Casey says. It has evolved. As a watercolorist I am a bit amazed at it. The detail, the composition, the vividness and the size.

I did a few nonobjective pieces a while back - they were the direct result of emotions I was experiencing as a result of events in my life. In both instances I did not recognize the meaning until halfway through the piece, and then was able to continue.

An old friend liked and said he wanted to buy the two pieces and "commissioned" a third piece with the concept of friendship lost. That was the first time I consciously took such a concept and tried to represent it pictorially. It took me a long time to figure out how to do this and I finally succeeded (hopefully) last week.

So I try sometimes to imaginate. But more often I work from what I see - and I am influenced by artists I have seen. So is that imitation? I never try to exactly duplicate nature or any artist. Even objective art can have an imaginative or creative element, although we cannot help but be influenced by society. Even your art, Kathy, has the starting point of science and employs shapes from our world of machines. So maybe it's a matter of degree.

Unknown said...

Hi Casey, Thanks so much! It's good to hear from you.

Hi Susan - thanks for noticing the colors. Part of my design strategy is to limit the number of hues per painting to five or fewer. That allows me to unite an otherwise very complex composition. You're very astute!!

Hi Dan - Congratulations on your commission! And, on your breakthrough. I agree with you about influences because it would be impossible to completely ignore what's stored in our brains - what we've heard, seen, felt, etc. But, our ability to morph all that into our own ideosyncratic form of expression is what makes it unique, in my opinion. Yes, the starting point for this series is science and technology, but the departure point is my aesthetic interpretation. Mind play is fun! Thanks so much for your great comment.

Anonymous said...

Hi Katharine, I share the sentiment of others, I'm glad to see you posting to your blog. I realize it takes a lot of time, so I cherish your ideas.

I do like to "imaginate", excellent word. But, I seem to be caught in a loop of "should I work on drawing from life" or "should I work from my minds eye". Perhaps at this time in my development, I need both. I'm not quite up to a half century of working on my 2D creativity yet!

Do you have the same ying/yang type pull?

Unknown said...

Hi Peggy, Great to hear from you again. It's like "Homecoming" week!
I know what you mean about the ying/yang pull and always have two series of paintings going at one time. The "Laws" series allows me to use only my imagination with no physical references and the "Clark Island Series" is based upon physical references from my surroundings. So, I do both at once and satisfy both sides of my brain.