Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Portraits of Birds

Art and Environment
by Edward Hessler

Karl Martens, a San Francisco born artist, observes in Alice Yoo's profile in My Modern Met, that "In painting and calligraphy, the first stroke is the most important. It comes from nothing and manifests something."

Martens paints beautiful portraits of birds from memory, using Chinese and Japanese calligraphy brushes and water colors. The paper, some of it handmade and often very large, is spread on the floor and he stands above it, legs spread and upper torso bowed, painting until the bird tells him that it is done. When details require, he paints while on his knees, bending over the painting. For some of the details he uses charcoal and smaller brushes.

[Photo by Jennifer Pack]

His paintings seem to me to come to grips with the essence of birdness.

In this short video you can see and listen to the artist Karl Martens talk about his art and his technique. The paintings are a result of a somewhat uncertain process due to the nature of the paper and the way it and the watercolors interact.

The video is also found in Yoo's profile.  The links are worth following and include wonderful art by other artists.

h/t 3 Quarks Daily

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