Jeanne Allen Color Field Artist online ArtSlant Jeanne Allen
Pour, brush, drip acrylics on canvas by Jeanne Allen
Giardino III Accent Monterey Seaweed
Jeanne Allen is a Color Field artist of Southern California, who is busy pouring, brushing, or dripping acrylics on canvas, in her own interpretation of current color field art using the colors of SoCal beaches in abstraction. Her drips are often self creating. She constantly studies the many color field artists she relates to and admires. She has been creating art for over sixty years, and her journey continues.
Jeanne Allen started drawing pictures of Sacagawea in her 5th grade history class, and her interest in art grew and developed in her teens. At KansasUniversity, she majored in Design for her BFA. She made honors and was elected to Delta Phi Delta, honorary art fraternity.
Classes were diverse and included many basic broad range aspects of art techniques. Life Drawing utilized human models, while Nature Drawing provided comprehensive drawing in plein air or sketching at the Natural History Museum. Raymond Eastwood was an inspiring teacher of life drawing, oil painting, and constructive drawing of ordinary objects arranged at every possible angle, which developed the artist’s eye for shapes, lines and constructions from a raw point of view.
Sketch class developed fast 3 or 5 minute drawings of other students rotating as models, which developed dexterity and eye studies of human movements. Water Color included plein air studies out doors on site or in class. Hands on classes included silver smithing, weaving, design and graphic arts. Inspirational Eldon Tefft guided sculpture in fired clay or other mediums.
As a fine arts student in the early fifties, Allen studied a wide spectrum of hands on art techniques as well as art history by lecture or museum trips to absorb art from early Greek statues, to pyramids of Egypt, to Michelangelo, to Italian Renaissance, to French Impressionism, to the experimental Abstract Expressionism and the newest art being created from the past to the present of modern art.
KansasUniversity, in the center of the USA, was a half continent away from the cutting edge artists of the early 50s. Kansas did not offer perks or advantages of living on the West Coast or in the heart of NYC, but Allen learned about avant-garde artists who were experimenting during this time period after WWII.
“I tried to study everything possible about modern art, Abstract Expressionism and Color Field artists. Because I was born one year later than Helen Frankenthaler, I felt a close affinity to her as a Color Field artist. During this time period, when I was a college art student, before internet and TV, it was very tricky to view innovative artists in NYC or along the California Coast. By visiting art museums and reading art magazines, I, as a young student, was able to create an attachment to the leading edge on both East and West Coast art centers.”
Sam Francis, another Color Field artist, became an inspiration to Allen. She caught on to his ideas of leaving some white showing and using white as being entirely integral to an acrylic abstract painting created with a water color technique.
In 1967, Richard Diebenkorn and Sam Francis shared a studio near Ashland and Main Street in Santa Monica during Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park Period. He was impressed with the window painting of Matisse and utilized some of the same feelings in his OceanPark paintings. Many artists have created paintings about windows and doors as an entry through the Looking Glass to another world. The travelling Matisse retrospective exhibition that Diebenkorn saw on a trip to Los Angeles in 1952 influenced paintings which he made while teaching at the University of Illinois. At the end of the school year in 1953 he returned to Berkeley where he established a studio.
During summertime of 1951, Allen visited New York City and the Museum of Modern Art, where Picasso’s Guernica was on display. MoMA offered a plethora of impressive modern art. Besides the abstracts, there were mobiles by Alexander Calder and sculpture by Henry Moore. Major artists on view in ‘51 and ‘52 were: Modigliani, Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Edward Hopper, Gaston Lachaise, Fernand Ledger, Aristide Maillol, Joan Miro, and Henri Rousseau Jacques Lipchitz.
During the summer of 1952, she worked in the Pentagon and lived in Washington, DC. The place to view inspiring exciting art was at the Phillips Gallery, which was showing Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party with all its glorious colors and fascinating figures.
In I953, Allen became a curator and director of the art school, at PhilbrookArtCenterMuseum in Tulsa, Ok. The Kress Foundation of Washington DC donated a large collection of Italian Renaissance paintings and sculpture to Philbrook, (the home of the Phillips Family of Phillips 66 Oil Company), which is a beautiful Italian Renaissance structure located in a beautiful Italian garden site. During this time, Philbrook sponsored the Oklahoma Art Juried show, in which Allen was able to participate. Also that year, Philbrook sponsored the American Indian Juried Art show and she met several Indian artists including Pablita Velarde, who was the first woman to win the Grand Purchase Prize. Allen studied oil painting with Frederic Taubes at Philbrook.
Her next position was teaching art in Tulsa Public Schools. During the summer of 1955, Allen studied art in Mexico City, DF at Universidad de las Americas. The summer workshop project included classes on oil painting, silk screen on fabric, field trips to all major museums of Mexico City, and cultural visits to Teotihuacan, Puebla, and various surrounding historical sites. The brilliant colors of Mexico provided an added component to her thinking and use of color in her paintings. Besides the hands on classes in oil painting and silk screening on fabric, Allen took field trips to see murals all around the city and various archeological sites. There were mural viewings and lectures on Diego Rivera, Tamayo, Siqueiros, Kahlo, and Juan O’Gorman. Seeing paintings by these exceptional artists was outstanding and impressive. In class, she experimented with traditional paintings of people, plein air, and impressionism. Art was everywhere and there was time to soak up as much as possible. Mexico’s vissionary artists were on the leading edge of current techniques and styles which mixed some stylized realism with abstraction.
Students learned about the cuisine of Mexico and visited markets. A survey of Latin Music included folk music, mariachis, popular mambo and cha-cha themes as well as classical concerts. Latin music has a rich color field feeling in the music in association with visual colors.
A few years after her trip south of the border, she left teaching, and took time out to marry John Allen and have two sons. He was a California native engineer, who was transferred back to Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, in1963. This began her life as an artist of the Malibu beaches and the Sierra of California. The Allen family were hikers and spent many summer days in Tuolumne Meadows and also climbed Mt.Whitney, where she made watercolor sketches of favorite mountains and streams.
Allen experimented with traditional subject matter to expressionism. She continued her studies with Jeanne Dunlap, a very inventive sensitive teacher of both collage and stitchery. Next, she studied ceramics with Jane Heald, an expert who had studied with Bernard Leach and also in Japan. Photography study was added to her art categories and she won several awards. She participated in local art juried shows in Pacific Palisades, Malibu, and Santa Monica and she had several solo shows. Allen studied art during travels and visited museums in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Florence, Rome, Lausanne, and Geneva.
Allen taught English and multiple disciplines for Los Angeles Unified Schools and earned an MA from CSUDH and MS from Cal Lutheran during this time.
When her husband became ill in 2000, she put away her paints and brushes for about 10 years. During the summer of 2011, she yearned to paint again. She switched to acrylic abstracts and produced more than 150 Color Field paintings from small to large and had two solo shows.
“This has been a great time in my life to return to the paintings I love so much. I am experimenting with Color Field style and All over abstracts. And I am pouring and dripping. These paintings seem to be in my thoughts and in my head… ideas just waiting to be applied to the canvas. I have been painting for more than 65 years. I was born one year after Helen Frankenthaler and I feel a close affinity to her art creations even though I never met her, I feel a connection to her Color Field art. There is a second connection to the splashy colors of Sam Francis which inspire me.” See: ArtSlant Jeanne Allen
Some artists in New York, California, and everywhere chose to develop paintings which send a message to society by creating a social statement comment. Some artists chose to create Pop Art. Other artists concentrate on pleasant wide color arrays which speak to the viewer about feelings and happiness, and bright colors for the viewer’s mind by focusing on the feelings which arise by viewing the colors of nature from the world around us. Color Field painting is alive and well in Southern California.
Splash I, II, III, poured and dripped acrylic on canvas, 2013, Jeanne Allen
Allen pursues her studies of Color Field painting, a style of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the 1940s and 1950s. It was inspired by European modernism and somewhat related to Abstract Expressionism, while many of its notable early proponents were among the pioneering Abstract Expressionists. Frankenthaler, Diebenkorn, and Sam Francis all created Color Field paintings from their own point of view. Color Field is characterized primarily by large fields of flat, solid color spread across or stained into the canvas creating areas of unbroken surface and a flat picture plane or splashes of color with fluidity. The movement places less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and action in favor of an overall consistency of form and process. In color field painting "color is freed from objective context and becomes the subject in itself.”
Because Allen was painting near the CaliforniaBeach and Santa Monica, she was more influenced by local artists such as Sam Francis, Richard Diebenkorn and still her attraction to Helen Frankenthaler. She tried large flat solid color approach, but was more drawn to using splashes of color with the white of the canvas or paper that Francis utilized. Sam Francis had created many early water color paintings as did Allen and water color techniques are affiliated with the water color of Color Field applications using the strong whites already there before the creation begins.
So, Color field put down its roots after WWII and continued to expand from early 50s to the present time. Galleries are constantly producing spectacular shows of Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Pollock, Clement Greenberg, Rothko and others. Janet Sobel is called the Grandmother of Drip.
There are many painters who are aghast at drips on paintings. Every artist needs to study the history of art from early times to the Renaissance to impressionism to the 50s of Jackson Pollock, when he was pouring or dripping fluid paint onto his canvas. Helen Frankenthaler is famous for pouring or dripping. Sam Francis dripped or flipped paint on his canvas or prints. It is OK to pour or drip. One does not have to make everything super perfect in the classical format. Pouring and dripping began with experimentation in the 40s and 50s and is alive today on 2014, a viable contemporary art technique. People who claim we should have no drips are uninformed or ignorant of a whole vast art movement of experimental Color Field or Abstract Expression artists.
So long live Color Field painting and artists! Do all that you can to keep this style alive and well.
Jeanne Allen, BFA, MA, MS, Artist Statement
I paint concepts as I search for new perspectives to create my constantly evolving paintings. My art reflects what I experience in my real world. I look for color in nature everywhere, every day. The California climate and landscapes are a strong influence. I constantly marvel at the colors I see in the sky, or in the Pacific Ocean. Sunset and sunrise display the richest colors of pink, coral mixed with white clouds and blue sky. The ocean can be blue Pacific blue or dark navy, or silver with sunlight.
As a Color Field artist, I create large color shapes, lines and impressions in a full canvas of pleasant emotion with a favorable feel, void of politics and every-day disappointments. My work is executed expressively with emphasis on color and form, which simplifies and carries an emotional impact. I try to create a conversation between the colors in my art works and the viewer.
My styles span from impressionistic landscapes to Color Field abstracts, using Fauvist colors. I dream colors in my sleep and then construct the colors in shapes or lines of my paintings. Sounds and music lead me to other shapes, colors, and tints. Always, I like to listen to classical music or cool jazz as I paint.
Many of my paintings are created in water color technique, leaving the white of the canvas or paper to speak clearly with the applied colors. I believe my works speak with a stronger statement by using clear single layers of color and avoiding multiple muddy layers. I use acrylic paints applied with lush, loose brush strokes executed in a water-color manner or by pouring fluid paint to blend together.
My early paintings embraced formal realism. Subsequently, I began experimenting with Abstract Expressionism and discovered a preference for the bright, happy colors of Color Field painting. This led to creating colorful, radiant canvases from plein air and landscapes to abstract shapes.
I first explored innovative style and techniques while studying for my BFA, when I was elected to Delta Phi Delta, honorary art fraternity. I absorbed strong colors into my painting during further studies in Mexico City. I have also studied art in France, Italy, Switzerland and Britain. I am a constant student of other artists, such as Diebenkorn, Frankenthaler, Pollock, Lundeberg, Francis, Monet, Derain, Van Gogh, and Calder.
Jeanne Allen artist of Plein air, Expressionism and Color-field.
Online: Art Slant Jeanne Allen
Jeanne Allen has received recognition since she emerged as an artist who experimented with the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Color-Field paintings. While best known for her colorful radiant canvases of plein air and landscapes, it is her lush works of abstract acrylics with loose brush strokes executed in a water color manner which accentuate her growth and experimentalism.
At Universidad de las Americas, Mexico City, DF. she studied, ancient pyramids, the Cha-Cha, oil painting and silkscreen on fabric. Other classes included lectures on Mexican culture, architecture, history, and archaeology, plus field trips to Teotihuacan, Puebla, Cholula and many sites in Mexico City.
Field trips included Palacio de Bellas Artes, the major art museum in Mexico City, the National Palaced the Museum of Anthropology. Lectures and study on site of paintings and murals of artists included: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Rufina Tamayo, Jose Clemente Orozco, Juan O’Gorman, and David Sequeiros. Fields trips to the pyramids at Teotihuacan, and to Puebla.
Cultural events included bullfights showing the extremely graceful and daring bullfighters. Music of Mexico gave another aspect of the culture such as Mariachis, folk music, classical, and contemporary dance music of the Mambo and Cha, Cha. Cultural extras included: ballets, concerts, plays, and performances.
Visits to various cafes, dining on local cuisine plus local produce markets in Toluca introduced many kinds of fruits and vegetables grown by local farmers. The whole summer school program included a broad spectrum of many cultural events. The color of Mexico influenced her trend toward Color Field.
Allen has also visited many art museums around Europe and studied special art in Switzerland, France, Holland, and Italy.
She worked as an public art teacher. She was employed as Art Education Curator at Philbrook Art Center. Over the past several decades, the artist’s experimental works have assumed a stature equal to that of her works on canvas. Her masterful blending of colors and shapes catch the most highly charged and vibrant aspects of her art. Her skillful use of drawing, space and color redefines new light on her entire career.
Her work is executed expressively with emphasis on color and form in the Color Field Manner which simplifies and carries an emotional impact. Her styles span from impressionistic landscapes to abstracts using Fauvist colors.
She studied painting and drawing with Raymond Eastwood, oil with Frederic Taubes, Sculpture with Eldon Tefft and Bernard Frazier. Other classes were watercolor in various workshops, ceramics with Jane Heald, collage techniques with Jeanne Dunlap, oil painting with Lynn Borst, and Color Field in Santa Monica. She is a constant student of other artists including Diebenkorn, Frankenthaler, Lundeberg, Monet, Derain, Van Gogh, and Calder. While teaching for Los Angeles she completed her Master of Arts and a Master of Science.
Her paintings and ceramics have been shown with the Malibu and Pacific Palisades Art Associations, Santa Monica Mountains Plein Art Artists, Rustic Canyon Gallery, The Ebell Club, and Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains, and all around Santa Monica. Online: Art Slant Jeanne Allen
Awards, Juried Shows
1954: Philbrook Art Center shows
1955: Honorary award: Chicago Art Institute
1955: Honorary award: Universidad de las Americas, Mexico, DF
1990: PPAA: First: Mixed Media: Owls
1991: Finalist: Allied Artists of Santa Mountains
1991: May: PPAA: Oil: Temescal to Topanga
Watercolor: Malibu Lagoon
1991: Solo Show PP Library Gallery: March: Oil, WC, MM
1992: PPAA: Photography: Second: Barn At Capitol Reef
and Third Oil :Sierra: Plein Air
1992: April-May: Solo show: Glendale Federal Bank
1992: Ebell Club Group Show: Oil, WC: Photo: Mixed
1993: November: PPAA: Photography: First: Blue Boats
1993: Religious Art Show Pacific Palisades, CA.
2011: November: PPAA: Mixed Media: collage 2nd place
2012: May PPAA: Acrylic Abstract: Elba I; Intergalactic; Splash I
2012: November, PPAA; Mixed Media, photography
2013: April, PPAA, Juried Show:
2013: November, PPAA Juried Show, Drawing: 3rd Place
2014: Solo Show PPAA Gallery January-February: 44 Abstract Acrylics
2014: May, June, Solor Show, Cafe Vida, Pacific Palisades