Kansas City doesn’t impress me much, but the state of Kansas is beautiful, and the people are kind and forthright. I haven’t painted a lot of Kansas scenes, but that is changing. My latest painting gets to a truth I feel about Kansas, and in particular, the dramatic Kansas sky. I’d like to paint more clouds in the future, and maybe some of them will be in triangles.
I can’t force the triangles. Some paintings just go there, while most don’t. I am always happy to see them.
The first triangle painting happened by accident. In 2017, I was painting the Henry Hudson Bridge, a very familiar subject for me, and suddenly here came triangles. I believe my mind’s eye saw them in the sky and the bridge because of the planes of light discernible in the scene. My long love of the work of Charles Sheeler and Charles Demuth is evident, plus a dash of Cubism. There’s also the influence of dynamic symmetry in a few of the triangle paintings. I’m not much on formulas for painting, but drawing out the lines suggested by dynamic symmetry and paying attention to the intersections when developing the composition almost always produce interesting designs. Much of the structure suggested by the lines of dynamic symmetry get covered up in paint and ignored, but enough show through, like a skeleton underneath the clothes of design.
"Kansas (Clouds)," by Bob Bahr. 2023, acrylic, 18 x 24 in.