Today’s watercolor experiment:
I was looking at The Thinking Eye by Paul Klee the other day. This is the first of two volumes containing notes and lessons that he developed at the Bauhaus in the 1930s. It is a goldmine of information, but very difficult to follow. In the midst of reading through, I found myself itching to raise my hand and ask Master Klee what he meant by a particular passage or ask him to check my work to see if I was on the right track.
I have a computer version of this volume, and looked up ‘leaf’, as I know he had an entire lesson devoted to leaves. I came across his discussion of ‘parallel rays’. I must confess that I didn’t read it thoroughly. (I prefer reading physical books where I can pour over passages again and again, flipping back to other pages without pressing a button, but I digress…)
I began today’s composition with lines. My plan was to wet the paper and diffuse paint from the hard edge of the line. It didn’t quite work. I drew three straight parallel-line figures, two curvy parallel-line figures and separated the figures by a larger curve. I had no rhyme or reason to what I did, although I purposely made a darker background on the left side of the composition.
I wish Master Klee gave more specific instructions. Then I could follow them and arrive at my own masterpieces. I suppose it would help to immerse myself in what he did write. However it seems that I am not the only one who has been at sea regarding his instruction. Bridget Riley, in her essay, Making Visible stated the following:
“As anybody who has ever looked into these books [Pedagogical Sketchbook and The Thinking Eye a posthumous collection of Klee’s essays] will understand I could not find any systematic coherence in either of them. It was only much later that I learned the reason for this confusion.” (from Kudielka, R. Paul Klee: The Nature of Creativity, Works 1914 – 1940. London: Hayward Gallery Publishing, 2002 pg. 15)
The above quote was originally posted on March 17, 2014 (Geometric and Pictorial Elements).