Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Abstract Expressionism meets Post Impressionism

Today I'm going to share a bit of a tutorial in relation to one of my recent paintings.

A little story of how it began.....

This artwork started out with me hanging up a large 36"x 36" canvas on my wall; opening up the studio doors to let the fresh morning sunlight and soft breeze blow through; and turning my music up loud enough that I was surrounded by it. Then I simply let all other thoughts fade out, and began.

I put paint and water to canvas without a care for creating any particular image. It was purely emotional expression through colors, splashes, and markings made by brush, fingers, smearing and scraping away with palette knife.

And when my little one saw it after school she told me she liked my scribble scrabble painting but maybe it was a little messy. haha. Yes, it was.

It stayed that way for weeks. I added a bit here and there and took the canvas and turned it sideways and upside down to see what it might want to become. For a long while I was uninspired and moved on to work on other projects.

I attempted making a very large abstract flower with overlapping petals sticking out in different directions similar to the petals of a tulip but without showing the center of the flower. And I left it that way for a while, doodling circular shapes in inky black paint and adding splotches of chartreuse, sea glass blue, and white.

    *my "flower petals"         . 
 * inky painted shape doodles

My "abstract expressionistic" painting hung there in mysterious abstraction on the edge of possibilities unknown.... for weeks. Students came and went from the studio asking "what will it be?" and I wondered myself.

Defining our Terminology

Abstract Expressionism: was the first specifically American art movement to achieve international influence. It began in New York in the 1940's after World War II in a climate of artistic censorship. If the art were completely abstracted it could be viewed as apolitical and therefore safe from scrutiny. The emphasis of the abstract expressionistic artist was on the process of spontaneous, instinctive, or subconscious creation.

I've included links for Famous Abstract Expressionist Artists *(these are just a few, there are so many more!)

Post Impressionism: in relation to art was a reaction to the confines of Impressionism, but taking from it the use of pure brilliant colors, as well as defining form with short brush strokes of broken color. It encompasses a wide range of distinct styles that share a common motivation - the subjective vision of the artist. Post Impressionism transcended the traditional expectation of art as a window displaying views of the world and instead opened it up as a window into the individual artist's mind and heart. 

I've included links for Famous Abstract Expressionist Artists *(these are just a few, there are so many more!)

The story of how it transitioned from Abstract Expressionism into Post Impressionism....

One evening I was watching the kids play in the back yard while working in the studio. I took the canvas and laid it on the table in front of me. As I stared at it the abstract "flower petals" and turned them upside down, the image that emerged became a tutu and the vision for my post impressionistic painting became something very dear to my heart...my baby girl dancing to the tune of her own music in a dress as unique as her personality surrounded in background of wild elaborate brush strokes of color that mimic my own creative free spirit always there supporting her. Messy, imperfect, scattered but infused with all the love a mom could ever have.

I "sketched" her form first using a very fluid creamy skin tone color that I mixed and thinned with water.

Next, I loosely blocked in highlights, mid-tones, and shadows in her skin using variations of my base color. I brightened with white, pinks and oranges and darkened with violets or complimentary color mixtures (violet and orange primarily).

My tools of choice are a small flexible metal palette knife, a medium to large flat rounded brush with long bristles, a smaller medium round brush and a nice smooth small/medium flat brush

I keep a water bottle to spritz my paint and my palette while working to keep the acrylics from drying too quickly and to create drips or runs in different areas.

As you may have noticed, I work with my canvas both hanging upright on a wall as well as lying flat on a large table. In my personal experience, it's good for me to look at my work from different perspectives. Though this method may not work for everyone, it is something that works well for me.

Note: I make use of styrofoam or paper plates every once in a while, but what I really like to use is the waxy backing paper from my Oracal vinyl as a mixing palette. (something we use at the sign printing / t-shirt shop) Recycle & Reuse!

www.theartgirljackie.blogspot.com                                                                                                             Jackie Patton 2017             

www.theartgirljackie.blogspot.com                                                                                                             Jackie Patton 2017   
I continued working highlights and shadows into her skin and hair and dress until I felt it was balanced and complete up close as well as stepping back and viewing from a distance. I wanted to keep the short choppy brush strokes of vibrant colors and the texture of the abstraction in the background intact.

So here she is. My little dancing dreamer. Full of love, creativity and a soundtrack for life that's always on play.

www.theartgirljackie.blogspot.com                                                                                                         Jackie Patton 2017 

Supplies Used on this Artwork:

  • acrylic paints
  • water and spray bottle
  • palette knife
  • paint brushes (medium to large round and flat bristle)
  • hands, imagination and heart

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