Pure Abstract Art VII

Apr 30, 2015 in Uncategorized



Oct 26, 2011 in About My Art

Many of my paintings are partly inspired by photos that I found on the web, mostly blogs. Because bloggers do not often cite the name of photographer, I’m unable to give credit. If you happen to know the name(s) of the photographer(s) that relate(s) to any of my paintings, please mail paintings_name@hotmail.com, including the title of the painting.

thanks in advance

Enlighten me!

Mar 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

A new painting was added to this site today. As you can see it’s pure abstract art, pure meaning that there’s nothing from the real world in this painting, just the collection of blobs of paint which we call abstract art. Most of the paintings I’m doing now are purely abstract. This happens when I feel I need to renew my style, which is easier without figurative constraints, like in portraits. Then, if feel I have completed that process, I apply the new style to paintings with figurative elements. So, the abstract does preceed the figurative, which is why I feel justified calling my style abstract art, whether or not it contains figurative elements.
In society the shifting perception of What Is Art? rages on. The art world (museums, galleries, recognized artists) are adamant that in art politics should preceed artistic motives, while the public seems to long for a return to intrinsic artistic merits. Correct me if I’m misjudging public opinion, here, because obviously I might be doing some wishful thinking. Nowadays the art world feels that art should shock. Can anyone explain to me why art has to shock?
Rubens would make art that was intended to shock, to a degree, particularly when he made use of Christian iconography: the crucifiction. Jesus (Him again) was hung on a cross, in the nude and irrevelantly upside down, with a bunch of heavies fanatically busy preparing the crucifiction and a dog barking at Jesus. Not very nice, but the divine sacrifice is central to Catholicism. Through empathy with Jesus, believers are supposed to be able to enter a higher spiritual state. I don’t wish to discuss religion here, the point is that the shock element was part of an established religious tradition, not an expression of “art against society”.
So why does the established art world wants to shock people? I don’t always like the world either, but to wage a bitter guerrilla against John Doe, I don’t get it.
Enlighten me! I’m politically incorrect..


Oct 06, 2009 in Abstract Art, Music

Drawing parallels and differences with/between painting and music helps to understand both. The reader will excuse me from drawing from, and referring to, my own experience, because that’s the only source of originality a webmaster has to offer.
Picasso fought a lifelong battle against lovelyness in his art. Partly that’s due to the time in which he was formed as an artist. During the course of the 19th century beauty in art as a goal in itself had become the target of art philosophers and a whole generation of artists had to disavow a style of painting with which they were brought up. That’s why, for instance, Munch’s famous painting The Scream looks so pale (it looks ok on photos in which the saturation of the colors has been enhanced), because he would delibaretely expose his paintings to direct sunlight, so that the colors would lose their permanence. He would refer to his paintings as his children and by treating them rough they would learn to fend for themselves, as he put it, by which he meant that they had to be judged on the basis of their intrinsic artistic quality, not on manneristic properties. Likewise he would take his paintings outside during the winter, exposing them to rain and snow, leading to open-air exhibitions in his garden which must have seemed surreal. At one time his dog ran through one of his paintings.
While signing lithographs Picasso would hold his pen in such an unatural way that the effort it took him to sign, gave his authograph more character, thus avoiding facility, even in his signature. Facility was exactly what Picasso and his peers were trying to avoid, but in Picasso’s case there was probably another factor.
At 15 years old Picasso was already an accomplished figurative painter, working at a professional level, so as a beginning artist he was motivated by the emotions of a child and children are usually not concerned with artistic depth. They just want to make art that is good and fun and perhaps beautiful. You evolve as you grow up, but also, to an extent, elaborate on what you did as a child. There are certain childhood habits you can’t kick and in Picasso’s case lovelyness in art was probably one such habit.
Van Gogh was an adult when he started to paint at 27 years old and had gone through his “moulting period”, as he called it, in which he became dissillusioned with the established values of the world of his father. Needless to say Van Gogh never had any problems with “lovelyness”.
Mozart was a genius composer, but it seems to me that throughout his life he kept doing what he was supposed to do as a Wunderkind: entertain people. During the past decades the center of gravity in the world of music has shifted from Mozart (whose name had always been synonymous with music) to composers like Bach, whose music has more artistic depth.
So I conclude that technically it pays to start learning art at a young age, but artistically you develop childish habits that you never quite get rid of.

I came to this conclusion be analyzing my own development, so those that are interested in famous artists only, will be excused from here on.

As a teenager I was a hopeless romantic and for me music was an exercise in sentimentality. Today I battle against sweet melodies in a way similar to Picasso fighting lovely pictures. In painting I have no such problem, in line with the above-mentioned line of thought, because I started to paint at 26. As a painter I will happily be an aesthetic, but in music I’m a candy machine, although there are ways to emphasize the expressive aspect.

>>> music blog

The Cinderella Syndrome

Aug 15, 2009 in How Not To Paint

On her blog someone makes mention of the Cinderella Syndrome, which goes as follows:

As long as artists believe in the myth of the superheroes (gallery people – MJ) as judge and jury, they will not have domain of the universal house. The mythical dealer would prefer to be indemnified of even the greatest work, no matter how talented this person is, even if they prove to be the new Leonardo, precisely because of this fantastical responsibility

Leonardo with no gallery, no money and (most importantly) no influential connections and no proof of any kind of extensive marketing or promotions apropos for the exclusive NYC market – such cannot exist. This does not need debate: it is common sense! You cannot travel to the moon on a bicycle.

I don’t know about the bike but the condition for an exhibition is that the artist pays the gallery $3000 per exhibition, the gallery taking 50% of the sales revenues. I’d like to see Cinderella go to the ball with $3000 in order to dance with the prince.

The exclusive art market, huh? On the same blog the lady laments about the art market being about money only, with only a small number of galleries actually making any money on art. "The great art works of our time will never be seen!!!!!"

Perhaps because our superheroes would rather be indemnified? Or am I being sarcastic?

In any case, her hubby is a financial big shot (mortgages) so their gallery has "upfront financing".

What I learned is that most galleries in fact operate in the margins themselves. They have their gallery at a hot venue and their upfront financing, but no art and no sales. Oops!

Oh yeah, I have a new painting at http://paintings.name/image-files/exhibit-a.php.


Aug 04, 2009 in Music

Please take a listen to a recording I made, it’s called Composition One. Not a very imaginitive title, it also took me a long time before I was able to come up with decent titles for paintings.
If the link above doesn’t work, try this (click on musical note on the left).
Or else try this and click on the blue download now link (rather slow download).

I wrote this track, played the guitar and used my laptop and some music production software to record it.

The track is 2:56 min long, its file size weighs in at 4 MB.

I have registered the recording for copyright, so you may not burn it to CD, or otherwise multiply it, but please feel free to add it to your iPod or MP3 player.

From here on all my posts on music will be added to my new music blog at http://music.paintings.name.

God is not a golfer

Jul 31, 2009 in New Paintings

Kelly, abstract cat art

I know I drive people to despair with my cat fetish, but I think the’re great. If this painting looks like kids art, it’s because it is, but frankly, I don’t see what’s more mature about people rambling about their human kids…..God is not a golfer, but a professional breeder.

Having fun with the palette knife

Jul 16, 2009 in Abstract Art, New Paintings

Abstract Thing, painting by Marten Jansen

This is just a thingy from 1999 to keep you busy while I’m working on new paintings.

Because the schools are out, this is a prime moment to address the art and/or design students among you and talk about art materials. As mentioned before my primary tool is the palette knife now (but not used in the painting on the left). I can’t tell you how to use the palette knife because that’s entirely personal. In other words: you put some paint on your knife and then onto the canvas. You can apply the paint thick or thin, there are no rules. What does matter is the size of the knife you use: larger knives will leave a very different impression than small knives.
I use the knife for two things: create areas of color, but I also use the knife to paint lines.

Small triangular palette knife

Small triangular palette knife (edge 2 cm, 0.8 in)

As you can see, I don’t clean my palette knives very often. Contrary to popular belief, I do shower.

Single-edge palette knife

Single-edge palette knife (edge 5 cm, 2 in)

Drawing lines with the palette knife

Drawing lines with the palette knife

For drawing lines the knife doesn’t look like the right tool, but you can create very expressive lines in the following way: just put a blob of paint on the upper half of your knife (like the small triangular one, above) and then, with the tip, start painting a line. You’ll run out of paint after an inch or so, but when you reload the knife’s tip with paint, don’t overpaint any faint spots and don’t fill in gaps in the line segment you made. Most of the time (unless you really think you have to make a correction) leave the line segment in its original state, or else you’ll ruin the expressive effect, and the line segment will become messier every time you work on it. It’ll take some practice but it’s a really expressive way of painting.

As you’ll see, using oil paint or acrylic paint, AS IS, to use on the palette knife, is unsatisfactory. What you need is paint with BODY. For this, mix oil paint with acrylic modelling paste and some liquin impasto. Officially, oils and acrylics don’t mix, but unofficially they do. I do recommend using oil paint, as opposed to mixing acrylic paint with acrylic modelling paste, because oil paint simply has more quality. For acrylic modelling paste look for a kind that is essentially transparent. Such paste will still look milky-white in the pot, but in thin layers (or mixed with something) will be almost transparent. Don’t use modelling paste to which a (white) pigment has been added, because you want to leave the color of your oils in tact. Because it’s acrylics, the modelling paste will still affect the color of the mix, making it look matted and dull. That’s where the liquin impasto (LI) comes in, because, miraculously, a little bit of LI will considerably improve the color or the mix, making it much deeper, almost restoring the oil paint’s original color. Be sure not to mix the LI with the oil first, because then the LI won’t properly attach to the acrylics (I think). Just mix the three components together or add the LI last (which is best). The LI makes the mix rather slow drying, with is good, because the acrylics/oils mix is very quick to dry, too quick to my taste. Experiment with proportions. Start mixing acrylics and oils in different proportions. Too little oil will reduce the strength of color, too much oil will produce a putty-like substance that is difficult to process and doesn’t look good. You won’t need to add much LI, just enough to restore the depth of color.

[By the way, this post has been updated. Before, I was rambling¬† about alkyd modelling paste — what I meant was liquin impasto].

Big triangular palette knife

Big triangular palette knife (edge: 5.5 cm, 2.2 in)

For completeness I have included a pic of a third type palette knife, which may look more familiar than the single-edge knife, but I prefer the single edge. A large triangular knife is unwieldy.

Abstract Portrait No. 8

Jun 16, 2009 in Abstract Art, Music, New Paintings

Abstract Portrait No. 8

Abstract Portrait No. 8

This painting was made in 1999 (I think). Its main purpose was to test a new acrylics color I had bought: quinacridone gold, which is the brown color you see in the image. I figured it would work similarly to the burnt sienna acrylics I used in my Egyptian paintings, but it didn’t, maybe because burnt sienna is more transparent. Burnt sienna acrylics mix very well with titanium white, which permits subtle modelling and lead to the manneristic style of my Egyptian paintings.

I have visited no less than six museums during the past months and learned many things, but right now I’m deeply immersed in amateur music production, so all my other activities suffer (still painting, though).

A week ago I bought a Fender Stratocaster, the first decent electric guitar I’ve ever owned. “Decent” is an understatement, because it’s an instrument of pure quality. Years ago I gave up making music out of frustration over my inability to fulfill my artistic dreams by means of the musical medium. I wanted to do everything at the same time: create popular music that was simple and compact and at the same time contain complex harmony and atonality. I consistenly rejected my music teacher’s assertion that popular music consists of the tonic, subdominant and dominant chords, but at the same time I was unable to find a music teacher that would give me a proper grounding in music theory.

Anyway, I’ve always loved playing the guitar. For a painter I’m a pretty normal guy, but as an adolescent I had a physical relationship with my acoustic guitar. I would actually pet it .
To me a guitar is a living person, like a child that needs care and understanding. I like to visit music shops and “meet” its guitars, by running my finger across their strings to check their sound. Some guitars are lovable, others are unfortunate, as in underprivileged, as there are no bad guitars, just bad makers.

June 6th

Jun 06, 2009 in About My Art, Personal

Today is June 6th, which, besides D-Day, is the birthday of my late sister, whose portrait is included in the previous post. This is just something I wanted to mention, because this post is not about art, it’s entirely personal, something I permit myself, because this is a blog.

This website started as a hobby. Between 1998 and 2004 I used the Internet to chat and as an excuse to learn webdesign and programming. Then, in 2004 I got into “domaining”, which is a game of registering domains before other people do. Worldwide enormous sums of money are wasted by ordinary people caught in this kind of “Klondike” phenomenon, which refers to economic activity in which more money is made on the people that pursue it, than by these people. (Klondike is a town that has become representative of “gold fever” and the fact that owners of restaurants that fed the gold diggers where the ones that got rich, not the gold diggers).

Nevertheless, domains still fascinate me, because it’s a word game, but I don’t own many. Because I registered¬† paintings.name in 2004, I felt obliged to develop a website around it. Now it’s leading a life of it’s own and (rightly or not) I’m no longer feeling the pressure of becoming a successful artist (however you define that). To the point that I’ve resumed an old hobby of mine: making music. Now, at last, I feel prefectly comfortable with being a perfect amateur at it. I dabble away with some equipment I bought and reading music theory. I make music like Karel Appel made paintings: passionately and mindlessly, although now I’m trying to get some sense into my musical endevours (and Appel became a famous artist, not to mention).

On the art front: at the moment my style is pure abstract art, so no portraits or social realisms, just big blobs of paint. I do this whenever I get the feeling my art loses energy and I start to be able to predict myself. What’s happening, then, is that the formal side of my painting has gotten worn out, which is why I get into pure abstract art, in order to develop new formalisms, which I then apply to a style that’s partially figurative.

Every time that happens I think I need to move away from School of Paris styled expressionism and get into color field painting, which it’s emphasis on purity. This does result in more clarity of color and concept……which I then exploit to make an expressionistic mess….like a post-Parisionist should.

I can’t discern the exact nature of this process yet, but it results in a gradual change of style.