Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Weird Old Painting Wednesdays II

Suspects and Victims, Name the Game, each panel about 14" x 22", 1985?

I recently found some old slides, and also fixed my scanner's transparency capability. Expect more oldies.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Weird Old Painting Wednesdays

"Protagonist", 36" x 48", 1987?
I remember challenging myself to make a cheesy romance-novel type painting. This was not done joyfully. I was punishing art, and myself. The foreground figure shows the loose paint method I used for much of the 1980s. The rest shows me struggling to paint. No idea how it survived long enough to be photographed, but I'm happy to have the image. It really cracks me up.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Studio Turf Wars V

Paintings everywhere are broadcasting to me. Finished pieces in the front room are begging for dramatic, and surprisingly specific, reworkings. The new body of little shaped paintings are calling. The metallic grounds say to finish up and prep some more. The fantasy birds idea (initially a kids' room idea) want to be made into small paintings for art fairs, under pseudonym? I need to make sales call samples for Indy On-the-Dot. I may move these commercial projects out of there tonight. They're basically done except for drying. I'm tired of stepping over and on things in there.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kurt Knobelsdorf

Thanks MW Capacity for introducing Kurt Knobelsdorf. Show info here. Be sure to scroll through to the last few images here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Polly Apfelbaum

Gun Club, 2002
Last Wednesday, Polly Apfelbaum gave an excellent lecture at Herron School of Art and Design. I had not really examined her work before. She took us through just enough of her process, that the unexplainable stuff fell right into place as well. It was great.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Same Side of the Same Coin

I made an odd connection recently between two very different ways of seeing oneself, and of working, as an artist. Maintaining a perspective which is independent from the art-world has always been very important to me. I don't shun influence, but I do want to keep one foot in "Rocktown, Indiana" at all times. I'm too easily influenced and so I consciously maintain some insularity from what's going on. It's really just a mental positioning more than anything. An artificial, adopted outsider-ism. Outsider Faux.

It's about making a place from which I have the confidence to make independent, original choices.

As I recently looked at some new work, deciding what to do next, I thought, What choices would I make if I were someone like Dana Schutz? What if I had that sort of place in the art world, not just well known and respected, but revered? I mentally adopted that cloak and it did make a difference in my thinking. It made me make different choices, mostly by going with dumber and bolder choices, unquestioningly.

It made me feel more independent from the art world, just as being an "isolated artist" does.

I'm not talking about ability, but rather about the actual types of decisions I would make, within my own work, under this guise. I'm also not talking about having art world success per se. I'm imagining a position where it's a given that I'm the type of artist who, through her uber-success, is immune from regular art world pressures/influences/thoughts/envies/garbage, and therefore is working more honestly and independently from a personal place.

I want it to be a given that I'm an artist making art. I don't want to have to prove myself this way. It's tedious and counter-productive. I don't want to have to prove my standing, locally or on a wider stage. This does affect one's work; it changes what one makes. I'll do what I must to present myself well, to explain as well as possible. But when I'm in the studio, I'm going to adapt my version of "who" is making the work.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nozkowski at The Pace Gallery

Thomas Nozkowski: Recent Work at The Pace Gallery. What can I say? I always end up serial-posting this guy. This link has installation views and pics of some of the work.

This New York Times article goes into the post-painting drawings and their process. It links to this slide show, "Drawing to Cool Down" of paintings with their subsequent drawings.

Nozkowski inspires me for what artists can do, and also for what people can do.

Nozkowski, Interview excerps

Excerps from Nozkowski's Brooklyn Rail interview with John Yau:

"Conciousness is complicated...."

"Ideas of perfection are usually based on what we have seen in the past, on what we already know. You can give anything a shot, any idea--no matter how odd or impossible seeming."

"...I don't believe success in a project like this can be measured by how easily readable my image is to other people--it is instead measured by how visually rich and complex the painting is. The picture will be of John, but it is really about what I can find in trying to see him."

"Improvisation, however, is essential to my work. I want my ideas to be located at the tip of my brush. I want my materials to talk back to me. I want to be surprised."

"I've talked about how I like painting best when it turns a little homely, turns away from the grandiose and opts for simple desire. To really want to possess something and to be willing to do anything to get it will take you pretty far. That's the reason so much outsider painting looks so great."

"This is the golden age for art-making. Not only do we have permission to paint anything in any way we like, but we also have audiences who are interested in playing the game along with us, willing to try to follow our ideas. In our studio life we are not only free--we are meaningfully free. Make a mark on the canvas. This mark can be said to represent anything I want--no problem. The success or failure of the painting has now shifted over from the subject to the strength and intelligence of the painter's work. This was always true, of course, but now it is self-evident. Keeping honest is the hardest part: If a mark can be anything, why bother grounding it at all?"

"One of the nice things about grounding works in the real world is that you don't need a position--you have a place. Willful eccentricity can be a real problem. It's not a high art crime, but certainly a misdemeanor--tiring stuff."

"Well, you know, there are people who want to understand visual language as something akin to advertising images, stop signs, and stick figures--the most banal graphic communication. This sense of communication is pretty bad, ridiculous conventions that shut off the possibility of really seeing and understanding something. At the best it's common denominator stuff--at worst it's authoritarian."

Friday, November 12, 2010


Links from MW Capacity:
Thomas Nozkowski at Brooklyn Rail. This excellent interview with John Yau is all the rage amongst the painty bloggers. It's really good.

"Teaching Close Encounters" by Matthew Ballou When I want them to think about the tension between intuition and skill, the psychology of the creative mind, or the value of actively negotiating materials (as opposed to the preciousnous and creative constipation they so often exhibit), I break out Close Encounters.

Kim Dorland: New Material at Mike Weiss - good comment thread at MW Cap.

Friday, November 5, 2010


The Texan Love Hovels painting is now in Texas. Thanks for the purchase, you know who. I'm just stupidly proud that I built a crate entirely from existing "on hand" supplies. Okay, I did go and purchase the handle, but I do have two such handles around here somewhere, so I'm not counting that misplacement.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Grassroots Voter Disenfranchisement

My polling spot has been in the same school for about 10 years. It stayed there even after the districts were condensed in 2007. This year it was moved to a public works building a few blocks away. The sign posted on the school forwards voters to a different place, which is over 3 miles away. The sign is wrong and multiple calls by different people to various officials failed to correct this.

After I went to the erroneous spot, a Painters Union building, they were extremely helpful. They were aware of the problem, had made calls, could not get any help fixing it. One person even had gone over and hung a correct sign over the wrong one, but this was torn down (could have been by someone who thought the correct sign was a trick). At one point, a poll worker looked me straight in the eye and said "they don't want you to vote".

I went to the correct polling place, and asked them about the incorrect sign. Several workers muttered various things under their breath, I couldn't catch the specifics, but it was clear that they were very frustrated by the situation. They did say they had called everyone, all the way up to the commissioner.

I went home and made all sorts of calls. The sign stayed incorrect all day. I went over and hung out for a few hours at the end of the day, and directed people to the correct site. The people who showed up at the old site were a very different demographic from those who I saw at the correct site (when I voted). (I did entertain the thought of selectively informing people of the error. But I had already decided I couldn't do that, and then it was not an issue, since those who appeared to be from the other party were not showing up at the old site [someone got the memo]).

At the very least this was sloppy, careless, and disrespectful of the voting process. At worst.....

Friday, October 29, 2010


The byline in my Rocktown, Indiana should read "Life and Art in Mystical Middle America". I accidently typed "mythical". It's a pretty big difference, and yet I've never corrected it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Google Earth and Titles

I've greatly improved my Google Earth method for titleing (titling? that can't be right) paintings. With the Love Hovels (a series which I have yet to really flesh out [so to speak {and I love an excuse to use multiple bracketing (stop me!!)}]), I roamed Google Earth from various starting points. I had a vague idea of where a specific 'love hovel' could possibly be located, I went there via Google Earth, and then I tried to hover over a spot with fairly rounded off coordinates.

So I had exciting titles like "46N, 123W", and "38N, 91W". Very tedious and confusing.

With the '"land markers" I did imagine a place for each one and 'went' there, I then zoomed in, switched into map mode, and scoured both the street names and landmarks for something that struck a chord. This worked really well. I love that these titles reference real places, but intuitively and anonomously. I sometimes changed or added 'road', 'lane', etc. I don't think these references are traceable through google, though I haven't tried.

Without further ado (because this post has plenty 'ado' thus far [surely no one is still reading this post {which clearly earns the 'entertaining myself' label}]), I give you these new titles:

Rothboden Place
McJunkin Road
Upena Cove
Obofia Forest
Pump Station Bend

The best part is, I know exactly which painting each is, and even remember where on earth I have placed it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lane Markers

Tea Plantation Road

Pump Station Bend

Obofia Forest

Upena Cove

All are 9" x 14", oil on linen.

*10-29-10 Updated with Titling :-)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Todd Matus "Mounts" review

Todd Matus wrote this thoughtful review of my Four Star Gallery show last fall. Thanks so much for so generously addressing my work.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Case for Obama | Rolling Stone Politics

A very favorable overview of Obama's presidency, thus far. Still, it's a reasonable assessment, and it's pretty impressive.

The Case for Obama Rolling Stone Politics

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Henri Art Magazine Studio Series

I'm so pleased to participate in Henri Art Magazine's current Artist Studio Series. My photo essay was just posted here. Read Paul Corio's essay here, June O. Underwood here, and Hans Heiner Buhr here.

Writing about my studio was more revealing than I expected. I still flip between loving and hating this place, but I think overall I'm becoming more objective about it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Link Branch

Ken Kewley, Chocolate Cake with Orange Slices, 2000, 8" x 10", oil on panel

Ken Kewley - writing on color - posted on Painting Perception blog. Re-posted and brought to my attention by MW Capacity, where it was commented on by Undercover Painter. Undercover Painter blog has the finest running sequence of artwork postings I've seen in some time, including Norbert Prangenberg. More work by Norbert from show at Betty Cuningham Gallery.

Norbert Prangenberg, FUR CASPAR (01.07.09) 2009

Monday, October 4, 2010


I don't think we should make art based on where, or who, is our audience. We spend ridiculous amounts of time and attention engaged in the artistic process. This is where its value lies; in what cool new comprehensions we can sometimes, if we're lucky, bring forth into existence. This is the value of artistic exploration.

We've all had those things materialize, which we doubt anyone else will respond to. They are too obscure and too situational to extend beyond our own audience of one. These experiences have value. It does not matter that I, Carla Knopp, experienced it, but it does matter that some human did. It matters that it happened.

This is purely belief.

It comes down to "does life matter?" or does it need justification. If life does matter, without justification, then a single artist painting in the woods matters. It is enough. This is why it is such a great bonus when the work clicks with others as well. If you're reaching into barely comprehensible places, then it is just amazing when others can and will peek into that realm with you. I find this more exciting and meaningful, for everyone, than crafting my boundaries to engage a particular audience.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

...handed to me on a plate

"Peak" paintings by Julia Kuhl courtesy of frosch & portmann gallery........
"Mount" paintings by Carla Knopp.

Julia's are so beautifully distilled to the essence of their painted imagery.
Mine seem self-indulgent and lacking the confidence to be simple. ....or to simply be.

Lately I've been pondering the honesty of my work. It seems I'm still overly influenced by external considerations. I really do best when I go hyper-insular. That's where the beautiful shit is, and it's my job to go find it. It is not my job to make sure everyone appreciates it. It's not my job to limit my findings to that which can be easily consumed by a mildly engaged audience. It's not my job to devise social constructs under the guise of art.

Go see all of Julia's work. I really like it and it deserves to be presented as its own post. But it's also such a weirdly direct lesson for me, that I had to compare. It's both devasting and exciting.

Graphic Style Jungle Nursery

A really simple scheme, with nice dense colors, filling the entire room. My favorite approach for a nursery. This graphic style actually takes as long to paint as a more realistic style. The flat areas of color need two coats to look good. With more realistic work, I can often use glazes and washes and brushy strokes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Several years ago I designed a stencil and paint scheme for these three adjoining offices. I just saw it again this week and shot some photos.
It cracked me up. I thought the motif was more integrated into the design.

I could see doing an entire line of designs which play off of this historical paint scheme look. I think it would be so cool for kid's rooms, or nurseries...with a more appropriate motif. Wish I had added a 1/4" line on that frieze.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Iggy Pop and the Stooges - Mike Watts tour blog

Ha! I found this tour blog posted by bassist Mike Watts, who just now finished touring with Iggy Pop and the Stooges. He's been performing in a full leg soft cast, hobbling up and down from stage on crutches. Here's an excerp about the show I saw last Sunday at the Riviera in Chicago. To see the entire post go here, and then scroll down to August 29, Riviera.

Lane Marker

21" x 31"
Some very unexpected imagery today. It blew my mind for most of the day, and now seems more ordinary, so I should just call it a quicky (two sessions) and hide it somewhere.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Latest "Lane Marker"

31" x 47"
This is the largest of the "Lane Markers" group. I would have expected to work on and finish it after the smaller ones. My fascination with/fear of, insular cultures is showing.

Friday, August 27, 2010

CK Art Company web site

I've updated my business web site: , and added some services. I'm open to suggestions regarding the names of these new sevices. Really, I'm not that attached to the names "Ding Doctor" and "Spangles". I will have a service "Project Tutor", where you just hire me as needed, to help with your d-i-y project. I'm also going to develop workshops which are geared for the do-it-yourselfer.
I need to get the business geared back up, and am excited about these new options.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Even the Spiders are Badasses Around Here

I love how cocky (and nihilistic) the spiders become this time of year. They've spent all Summer bulking up, and they're just not gonna take any more shit. They weave webs right across my regular walking routes. I got in my truck yesterday, and a huge angular spider had claimed my mirror to door area. I tried to knock it to the ground, but it bunkered down in my side mirror. "It's your funeral, dude". I drive to the post office, and the spider immediately comes out, as I'm driving, to finish killing and eating the prey it had just webbed. "Dude, it's your funeral". I drive and watch as it gobbles. Finally the wind blows it down the side. I park and it's managed to hole up in the groove between my cab and truck bed. It immediately comes out and continues munching away on its meal. I drive home and it's still hanging in there.

Then this web is built overnight near my door. Just how ambitious is this spider???

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An Unexpected Turn

I was torn between stick arms and these quasi-whatever ones, but it didn't seem to matter that much. I'll add "fingers" once those areas dry. Maybe a face?....maybe not. I see lots of figures in my future.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lane Markers - so much for delicacy and refinement

31" x 47", in progress

Most definately I'll go with #2. These are so hard to see in person. The color was so harsh in this one, a high keyed green over the metallic. I tried glazing it down with burnt umber and alizarin, but then segued into apocolyptic imagery, with the disintegrating flags/banners/?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Studio Buzz

I've not painted for a few weeks, and have lost momentum with the metallic ground paintings. I decided to go ahead a start another group of small shaped pieces. My plan is to work within a much more narrow and focussed area, using a limited palette (although the red-purplish "comma" shape just screamed to be different) and a really simple, central shape/object. This one keeps haunting me, and making me want to zero in with a more narrow focus.

Meanwhile, I'm pulling out paintings from around 2005 and reworking them. Above is the reworked version. I'll be brave and show the earlier piece below. Title was "Conscription of Venus", may or may not keep. The above could well fall into the "Lane Marker" series, and it has me thinking of these markers with a broader subjective vista in mind.

So, with the metallic paintings, which I do plan to continue working on, and another pair of paintings (for now, a secret project), I have four distinctly different groups of paintings going. I really like this a lot. I can move deeply into the process and then back out to a broader perspective.

Rachel Draws a Lot

A delightful blog I found linked to on Steven LaRose's blog.
Rachel Draws a Lot.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mary Addison Hackett in Nashville, TN

I had a wonderful visit with artist Mary Addison Hackett last weekend, and she's posted a great photo essay of the trip on her blog, Process. MAH recently moved to Nashville, TN from L.A., and we so we went gallery hopping on their artwalk night. I also had the pleasure of seeing her paintings in person.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ed Sanders Photo Shoot

Thanks so much to everyone who helped with this photo shoot. Extra, ultra thank-you to photographer Wilbur Montgomery for donating his time, skills, and studio. We shot about 80 of Ed Sander's paintings last Saturday, all re-grouped from various collections around the city. We are in the very early stages of organizing a book and exhibition of his work. More background here.
I found it personally satisfying to see so much of Ed's work again, and to work with others on this project. The ridiculous 105 degree heat index seemed weirdly appropriate to the task at hand.