Nature in watercolor and colored pencil. Butterflies float in a green square frame while a pink peony explodes in the center. Butterflies by Michigan artist Karen Anne Klein, a riot of sensory experiences and kaleidoscopic colors, demonstrate an almost scientific fidelity to the specimens portrayed. However, the overall impact of the work is far removed from science, realism, or photographic facial expressions.
Framing and composition
Karen Anne Klein explains that if you look closely at her sad drawings easy, you will see that the arrangement of the elements is improvised, and the structure does not correspond to reality. Because multiple perspectives and internal frames are used, the objects are not always in the same image plane. The work is done carefully enough to have continuity of light and shadow, but it is never realistic enough. People often think they are looking at something that can be imagined, but it would always be impossible. I love making things seem real that can’t exist.
The paper’s white also plays an important role in Karen Anne Klein’s cheerful and lively compositions. Often in a framed format reminiscent of the illuminated book or the Indian miniature, the artist creates an interior composition in the overall drawing, framed or encapsulated in strong, strong color. The white of the paper on the outside of this color block acts as a secondary frame for the inner composition. Remarques or little drawings outside the white area of the art often survive on a different level compared to the inner work, creating natural connections between the two. If negative spaces aren’t interesting, the whole thing won’t work.
Karen Anne Klein describes her work as still life drawings that tell little stories and use a unique combination of watercolor and colored pencil. Emphasize that all work is intuitive and develops naturally through paper. I begin with something that I get moving. Then a story emerges. A magnificent raven-inspired example by Karen Anne Klein was found in the University of Michigan’s Natural History Exhibition Museum at Ann Arbor. Based on the mythology of the dark and intelligent bird, Klein worked to suggest a sense of power and the ethereal glow of its feathers.
The red leaves later enabled the development of a classic color scheme. The artist eventually added berries and a vermilion background shape to heighten the depth, mystery, and connection of the bird’s natural, ephemeral environment. The strong contrast between the bright red tones and the dark, calm tones of the crow ensures an overall balanced composition and allows the viewer to perceive the work as much more than just a natural history painting.
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Despite her affection for the wonderful, Karen Anne Klein reveals a strong connection and love for the study of energy. I love the way biologists train their eyes to see things that others miss. Walk through the rainforest with my son Barrett, an entomologist, and he will show you wonders you would never have seen on your own: soldier ants on a branch with their bodies raised and jaws wide open, wild-looking. But he won’t see all the birds that an ornithologist has trained to see with his own eyes. I have the feeling that my eyes see things and combinations in nature that are unusual and worth seeing.
Klein borrows many of his featured subjects and copies from local museums and institutions, including Michigan. Since I use a lot of temporary motifs and prefer to draw from life, I have very little time for work. I use what I can find and what attracts me. I could work on a drawing for several seasons, so there is no way of knowing in advance what will be in the drawing. The result is always a surprise.
Importance of design
Karen Anne Klein began her artistic career with woodcuts and etchings, and her early training in woodcut is evident in the framing and composition techniques the artist uses today. She started working in watercolor when the children’s needs made her fearful about using toxic materials in her home, and 20 years ago, she started using colored pencils in her pictures. He works a little larger than the actual size of his motifs and starts each picture with a graphite drawing. Then cover the drawing with watercolor. As a base color, watercolor prevents the subsequent application of the colored pencil from being too difficult or tedious. It facilitates the transition between the white of the paper and the light nuances of the colored pencil. When the watercolor is dry, enter the painting with a combination of waxy crayons and a hard lead. Wax pencils are so good at depicting smooth surfaces and dense colors.
Traces of concrete can localize the details and make things look very sharp too. The combination of watercolor and colored pencil on paper confuses viewers who cannot determine the artist’s medium. The watercolor under the pencil intensifies the color and makes the colors more vivid than most people can achieve with pencils alone. On the other hand, using colored pencils can make the image look much more detailed than just watercolor. It takes practice to make the combination consistent and not make it seem like two things are going on in the same piece. But once the applications have been successfully combined, the result can be brilliant.
Real and imaginary
Working on a near-life-size scale enables Karen Anne Klein to overlay real objects over her compositions to see what might fit where. Positioning objects is critical and usually takes a long time. Choosing objects is a challenge, and in the end, I’m often surrounded by a lot of things that have potential. Forcing an object into a drawing is always a big mistake. I’ve learned to be very careful and not fall in love with a candidate’s object. Many designs come to a point where they have to wait for the element to appear. Some designs wait a long time. Others fall together easily, but it’s rare. When the design is done, I want it to look inevitable. Or just like a dancer doesn’t let you know that she is sweating and hurting.
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