Finding your inner aborigine

It’s not quite the same thing as Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s painting, but I’m fiddling around with the idea of abstraction that is just lines and shapes (maybe later on just lines and dots) and that is still koi.  A koi dreamings.  Richard Diebenkorn meets Joan Mitchell and Emily Kame Kngwarreye and they meet Jennifer Bartlett.  Everyone, of course, tips their hat to Georges Seurat — let’s not forget him. Come visit my store on CafePress!

[Top of the post:  A Computerized Dreamtime (Altjeringa) by Aletha Kuschan]


Koi Mountain

These fish are vying to reach the center.  Something’s going on there.  Others of them swim around this activity, not participants exactly, yet aware in waves of concentric bustle.

Oddly enough, this used to be a painting of a mountain.  Now it’s fish.  The mountain just wasn’t working out.  An artistic real estate transaction needed to take place.  The mountain moved out.  Fish moved in.

[Top of the post:  A Study of Koi Swimming, by Aletha Kuschan, acrylic on canvas]

One Got Away!

This guy was determined to swim in the stars.  Call him the “fish that got away.”  Big time!  He wanted to be a cosmic fish.  Pisces.  The night is his ocean.  His stream is the Milky Way.  (Got milk?)

[Top of the post:  Crayon drawing of a fish photographed on a black enamel surface with speckles, by Aletha Kuschan]

My Fish in a Cosmic Pond

My fish want to feel they’re important.  Of course, they are to me.  But they want to belong in the larger scheme of things.  I try to assure them they are as significant as one could wish.  Still they are skeptical.  So, I’ve played around with the image trying to evoke the night of space, and put them into the cosmos more emphatically. 

They want to swim out into the stars.  (Didn’t Disney do that as a short film?)  Maybe my fish have seen the movie?  Everybody wants to be a movie star these days ….

[Top of the post:  Computer enhanced version of one of the koi paintings, by Aletha Kuschan]

Night Squares

This sketch for a painting is more about night (and squares) than about fish.  (It’s a sketch for a painting.)  But, lo and behold, the fish snuck in.  I count five, maybe six along the bottom.  This is hardly more than a scribble, but I love this.  If somebody calls me on the phone and takes up a whole bunch of my time … friends … this is what’s taking place on my side of the conversation.

[Top of the page:  Study for a painting, by Aletha Kuschan, ballpoint pen]


Ever since discovering, by golly, that our computer had photo collage software on it (who knew?), I’ve played around with images by combining things on the computer and then altering them via the computer’s many interesting graphic features.  This “fishwave” is one result.  A photo of a heavy drapery is blended with some pictures of koi swimming and all that has been run through the washer on the permanent press cycle until it looked as you see it above.  Sometimes I paint from images like this that I’ve created on computer.  After they become paintings, they can be photographed and rerun through the same computerized process again to be transformed into something else.   Metamorphosis.

Then, too, there’s the computer between the ears with which we can attempt daring things.

My Fish & Emily

Some years ago I first learned about the amazing paintings of the late Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Australian painter of monumental aborigine images.  I have been thinking about her again in regard to my koi paintings, which are abstract in ways that resemble Emily’s dreamings.   The gesture of the fish swimming is bound up for me with Emily’s lines and dots in their wild structures — so reflective of living things — or of the organic knitted-ness of a night sky’s bright stars still visible in desolate places like the outback.