Artistic Influences: Paul Klee

The Swiss artist Paul Klee is perhaps my favorite. I especially appreciate his expressive lines, sense of humor, and inventive spirit in experimenting with new techniques.  While in high school, I made several copies of his famous painting Battle Scene from the Comic Opera ‘Sinbad the Sailor.’  However, instead of duplicating the medium he used (pen-and-ink and watercolor on paper), I glued sand on plywood and then painted over it with oils. The technique is a little painstaking but results in an interesting surface texture.

I later used this same technique to transform the Klee pen-and-ink drawings “The Great Dome” and “The Flood Washes Away Cities” into oil paintings. 

At first consideration, “colorizing” a Klee may seem as heretical as colorizing a classic black-and-white movie. However,  (a) Klee himself often cannibalized his pen-and-ink drawings by using a transfer technique onto watercolor backgrounds (as in his Sinbad ) and (b) the idea is not that different from the time-honored practice of one composer orchestrating the work of another.

Weltschmerz* (1960) (5′ x 9 1/4″)

One of my early original oil-on-sand paintings created under Klee’s influence is shown above.
*weariness of life

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