The KISS Principle

The older I get, the more I appreciate the simple things in life and art.

In my early days, my art was about detail. Most of my paintings were full of information. Occasionally I would focus on a single subject, but that was not ‘me’ at that particular time.

Now that I’ve retired from full-time work and have passed 60, I tend to view the world as a highly complicated and chaotic place and I choose where possible, to travel in the quiet lane of life’s motorway.

When I was teaching art at Launceston College (grades 11 & 12) we (the art staff) employed a principle when teaching art to our students that is known as The KISS Principle – ‘keep it simple, stupid’. This worked every time, especially when students struggled with arranging the elements (composition) in their artwork. In other words, saying more with less is far better than saying too much with too much (understand?)

To understand a painting one must understand what the artist is saying. Too much detail can be confusing. There is joy in simplicity; there is also an intimacy that is rarely achieved when employing detail.

I have noticed lately that my appreciation (and understanding) of art is going through a period of change. I am now looking ‘inside’, rather than ‘around’. My work is becoming more abstract in appearance.

This shift in my art thinking will see some very simple paintings, but large in size. Simplicity rarely works when scaled down, it needs to be confronting and this can only be achieved by large-scale work.

A visit to the mouth of the Richmond River last week was one of the most (art-wise) confronting moments I have experienced in my ‘gap year’ holiday with my wife, Val. The river was protected on both sides by massive rock walls. Some of the rocks were huge and now and then enormous square, concrete blocks jutted out. I found these blocks contained amazing patterns that ‘spoke’ to me. I must paint some when I return home!

Do these images ‘speak’ to you? If so, what do they say?




About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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