“The Bean…Chicago Painting”
7 in X 5 in (17.8 cm X 12.7 cm), dry pastel
Firstly, I have to say that calling a dry pastel drawing a “painting” is quite a stretch. Though I’ve fallen victim to using the term “painting” for my oil pastel drawings. I have to say that oil pastels do have more paint-like qualities when compared to dry pastel. But I really shouldn’t talk. While in high school, I tried convincing my art teacher that I should be able to submit a marker drawing for a painting class assignment. I still argue that I used the markers in a very painterly fashion. So I’ll give Karen a pass on this one.
My whole point is that it’s kinda cool that you can buy the #1 Google Image for “chicago painting” for $95. I only wish it was larger to really give a sense of scale for Cloudgate (aka The Chicago Bean). 5×7 is quite small. But speaking in terms of the industry, $95 for a quality drawing/painting is a great deal. Then again, interpreting the Bean in a 5×7 surface gives the Bean a more natural comparison to being a bean (lower-case “b”) while at the same time distinguishing the scale of human form to Bean (upper case “B”).
I’ve never been a big fan of dry pastel drawings. Artists of this medium generally tend to obsess over being detail-nazis or color freaks. Karen avoids falling victim to this plague here. The color palette is crisp and simple. The soft textures on the Bean are enough to give definition while also providing a somewhat organic feel to this great icon.
My favorite part of this painting is the interaction of the Bean with the background. The soft haze in the skyline doesn’t exactly contrast the Bean. It uses the same color palette and both are relatively soft even if the background is much softer. It’s an analogous relationship resulting in a inquisitive dynamism.