Figure Inspired by Klee’s “High Spirits”

Yesterday I introduced the idea of more than one point of interest in a composition. I referred to the late work of Paul Klee in light of two articles by David Sylvester reprinted as Late Klee, Klee I and Klee II (pages 35-47) in About Modern Art: Critical Essays 1948-1997 (Henry Holt and Company New York, 1997). Yesterday’s composition was not nearly as complex as those examples cited by Sylvester (Intention and Harmonized Combat).  I have plans to make use of my own iconography in such Klee-like setting in the (hopefully) near future.

Today, I modeled my composition around Klee’s 1939 piece, High Spirits.

High Spirits, 1939 Paul Klee

High Spirits
Paul Klee, 1939
from Klee by Susanna Partsch (Taschen)

I was attracted by the rhythm of the lines, the extent of the lines across the composition, the gesture of the figure in its imbalance amidst the overall balance of the piece.

The subject of my composition is someone in the thrall of discomfort, without prospect of relief.

Watercolor: Abstract Expressionist Figure

No Comfort
9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

The figure is too long for the bed. The corners of the bed are rendered as seen by its occupant: distorted and unreal. The outlines are colored according to temperature: fevered body, cold legs. The head is uncomfortably bent. One of the small hands is seeking out the pain in the middle section while the other reaches off the page for help.

I usually let my compositions rest for a bit before coming back to it. When I saw it again, my first thought was of a body outline that one might see at a crime scene.

5 thoughts on “Figure Inspired by Klee’s “High Spirits”

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