Basic Unit

I could describe my watercolors as formal/narrative, post-Klee, introspective abstract inventions. This one is based on repetition rather than form, so it might be a little more conceptual than usual, but what makes it interesting now are some recent thoughts about how large arrangements are built up from smaller units. Normally the less character the basic unit has, the more abstract we feel the result, but I want mine to have some


Robert Linsley, Untitled watercolor 2012

animation. The strokes walk in from stage left and fall diagonally. In another piece—a spiral spinning off shapes—the units have more variety. I like that the center

9. Linsley 2012

Robert Linsley, Untitled watercolor 2012

is pale and the surrounding forms more saturated, especially the receding triangle at the left, one of the best little agglomerations I’ve done. As it happens, both of these pictures are up at auction in about ten days. A click gives a good view.

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2 Responses to Basic Unit

  1. Naomi Schlinke says:

    I imagine that these pieces were created in one sitting? Did the flow of choices happen rapidly one after another? Or did you mull and hover, move and eddy, etc. over a longer time? Nice to hear you mention Klee. When I started painting in the mid-80’s, I told an instructor that Klee interested me and he said: “Oh no, he’s old hat. Get someone more current.” Luckily, I didn’t listen.

    • Naomi, thanks for your interest. With watercolor things move pretty slowly because you have to wait for it to dry – that is if I don’t want the colors to mix, which sometimes I let them do. But even wet in wet I like to take my time and reflect as I go. Since these days I’m home most of the time looking after kids I guess the work is heading toward some kind of integration with daily life, meaning that thoughts and feelings about the work and ordinary experience get tangled together. Temperamentally I’m much better at intense absorption over long periods of time, but with watercolor there’s not much that can be done to speed it up. Perhaps with ink it can be quicker. But I think that more time can give a better result.

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