From My Own Head

I got all tangled up trying to figure out Paul Klee‘s methods yesterday. I’ve been reading Volume 2 of Klee’s notebooks, The Nature of Nature, a summary of some of the classes he taught at the Bauhaus.

Klee’s view of his world of art had is foundations in his own cosmology. He wrote about origins of the universe in his notebook and it is clear that his artistic sensibility grew from these ideas.

Recapping from yesterday’s post, here is what I learned thus far from Klee’s teachings:

  1. What it means to ‘take a point for a walk’;
  2. How to vary energy in a composition through visual rhythms (fast and slow oscillations of lines);
  3. That closed loops represent planar or curved surfaces;
  4. That the structure of a drawing is like temporal art (music) where rhythm and timing are accomplished by controlling the observers’ gazes;
  5. The task of an artist is to ‘make visible’, not to reproduce the visible.

Making visible

Klee has a lot more to teach me in the writings I have yet to read. However, one thing that Klee cannot teach is what is in my own head.

For now I will concentrate on trying to make visible, ideas that are in my own head. I would like to inform them with Klee’s guidance, but I think that this new approach might yield interesting results.

Today’s experiment:

Although one of my goals has been to express the way I feel, today’s experiment is the expression of a mental vision: a picture in my mind’s eye. I envisioned an amorphous shape, flat yet cloud-like, surrounding a rectilinear shape. Describing it another way, I saw a cloudy shape with a contrasting linear hole in it.

Below is a rendition of this vision.

Watercolor Sketch - Abstract Rainbow

Sad Rainbow
9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


I began by using a graphite stick to draw a fat wavy surface. I drew the outline of the rectangle and its vertical projections with a regular pencil. I used Phthalo blue first to color inside the left part of the ‘cloud’ and its descending path. Then I applied Rose of Ultramarine to the right hand side of the cloud and its descending vertical path. Hansa Yellow Deep was the color I applied between the blue and the magenta.

I did not decide on the title of this work until after I finished it. I think it is fitting if not a little gloomy.


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