Art in the time of lockdown #2

“any colour but blue”


  • all the processing for this image was in Adobe Photoshop Elements
  • I set up my easel and placed three of my on-going paintings behind
  • I propped up some blank canvases, placed the largest one on the easel and added some blue paint tubes and brushes on the side
  • to select each canvas area I used the ‘Polygonal Selection Tool’
  • to add a blue colour wash to the large portrait I used the ‘Paint Brush’ on low opacity, gradually building up the density
  • each of the other six canvases were worked on individually, selecting areas and using the ‘Paint Bucket’ to fill with colour or free-hand drawing with the ‘Paint Brush’
  • the blobs of paint on the palette were made using the ‘Elliptical Selection Tool’ and ‘Paint Bucket’ to add the different blues
  • finally the thought bubble is one of the standard ‘Shapes’


Yves Klein, “IKB 79” (c. 1959), paint on wood
Klein did not title his work and the somewhat arbitrary numbering system was styled by his widow; I use ‘arbitrary’ in that although IKB refers to International Klein Blue, the pigment he created, the numbering is not chronological.
Between 1947 and his sudden death in 1962 (at 34 years) Klein made almost 200 blue monochrome paintings. His identifying blue pigment, trademarked in 1957, denoted a purity, and monochrome afforded complete artistic freedom and a break from the trappings, or perhaps trap, of mainstream artworks.
One commentary stated that IKB 79 was ‘unsettling’ for the viewer; I could, more readily, have accepted ‘calming’ as a response. Also, with dimensions of 1397 mm x 1197 mm (4.58′ x 3.92′) it is not on the scale of Matisse’s The Snail, for example, which at 2880 mm x 2870 mm is imposing and unsettling at first encounter.

What are your thoughts on Klein’s work? Are there artists you admire who work with colour and texture rather than graphical representation? Or do you see this as a cop-out, ‘Emperer’s New Clothes’ kind of art?

If you have enjoyed my fun response to this painting, and my commentary please like, share, and comment.
Thank you for reading.

Stay well. Stay safe. Stay apart. X