Kevin Larkin’s demo at the Suburban Art League was featured in their April newsletter. The article is by Gerry Hirschstein.
As a figurative artist who, on occasion, has tried doing an abstract painting I wrestled with the concept of where to start. Kevin Larkin, our guest artist for our April meeting, answered that question for me; “Just start!” For the artist, starting out presents little difficulty. He adheres to Jackson Pollack’s concept: “I have no fears about making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own.” There is no right or wrong and one can erase, go over or restart at any time. And that’s just what he did as he demonstrated his techniques on a 30” x 60” canvas. Despite the previous work on the canvas Kevin treated it as if it was an empty space.
Inspired by a teacher who advised him to read some books on abstract painters, Mr. Larkin has been attracted to this form for many years. Working with acrylics and large canvases, some, “As large as that door,” he mixed Utrecht paints in a plastic food container. He likes to use acrylics since they dry fast and he can layer his work. He never paints with the canvas in one position. Often he turned the canvas upside down or rotated it 90 degrees. After laying down some reds, blues and yellows using an infinity type of stroke with a large brush, surprisingly Kevin smeared the canvas using his bare hand. He then began the process over again using a light pink color over a considerable portion of the canvas. Some viewers
remarked that they looked like clouds. Additional blues and turquoise were then painted in another area of the canvas.
According to the artist, “You need to be a tireless experimenter. You’ve got to push the envelope otherwise you become a cookie cutter painter.” Thus, his goal is to create something that stands out for him. “You’ve got to paint for yourself,” he advised. Kevin said that sometimes he works for months on a canvas and works on three at a time along with a collage. At some point the artist decided that he was finished with this stage of the demo painting and more would be done in the future to get it to the point of completion. For our raffle a framed collage was graciously offered up to our lucky winner Christine. Watching and listening to the words of advice inspired me to once again try doing an abstract painting. I’ll “Just start,” as he advised. I won’t worry about how to start, nor plan nor do any of the other things a figurative artist needs to do. This sounds very liberating to me. Maybe I’ll even enroll in Kevin’s class at the Art League of Long Island.