Monday, November 28, 2011


20x20x1.5", oil on canvas

I've been studying with Melinda Cootsona the last month or two. She's a marvelous teacher who does abstracts and figurative abstracts, both of which I'm interested in. Her classes are small -- maximum of four people -- and held in her studio. Because of the small size, she's able to really see how we work, and help with the process. For example, the other day I got snarled in poking at a specific part of a painting, and it didn't improve? She could see that I needed to change something, and suggested that I use a bigger brush. Boom! I was past it.

The painting on this page came from a process that she works with: You start by building an abstract painting, adding layers and depth and richness. Then, if you can find the suggestion of a figure in it, you can make your painting into a figurative abstract. On the other hand, you might find that you like the abstract that you did. This was one of the latter.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"As If"

12x12x2", acrylic and mixed media on board

I've mentioned the awesome Stella Zhang, whom I've taken textured abstract classes with. I think this was one of my first works with her. I came into the class with all the subtlety of a Hawaiian shirt, and she toned me down. Now, some people in her classes would like to use more color, but I do get the point: If you have too much color, you obscure the texture.

I decided to include the figure below so you can see that I put the texture material around the outsides, too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Yin Yang"

12x12x1.5", acrylic, pigment powder, and rubber gloves on canvas

One of the fun things about the textured abstract class I took was that anything could become part of a work of art. In this case, I had some rubber gloves such as artists use to protect their hands when painting, and I played with arranging them on a canvas. This arrangement reminded me of the Yin Yang symbol, and also a circle, which I've used in paintings before. I went over the top with white pigment powder in a solution of white glue and water.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


36x36x0.75" acrylic, pigment powder, and mixed media

This one has cool texture. It's kind of a part of history, for me. A couple of years ago I had been doing my small oil still lifes, mostly about 6x8", for a year or two, and wanted to go bigger. So I took a workshop with Robert Burridge. (I wrote about this before, so sorry for the repeat.) In the instructions sent out, Burridge said that if students really wanted to challenge themselves, they should bring ten canvases that were about 36x36". TEN! So I did. I didn't touch them for the first day and a half, but then I dove in and, by the middle of the fifth day had filled nine of them. This was one. So I'm fond of it. FYI, the texture is made by tissue from the hotel room. Heehee!

However! I wasn't sure I liked how it came out. So I took it to one of my textured abstract classes with Stella Zhang, who does amazing work. I simplified it, using paint and adding pigment powder mixed with white glue. Powder has the benefit that it sinks into the texture, where paint covers the entire surface. Eventually the wonderful texture emerged, and it only needed a focal point, which came from the black drip in the middle. It's pretty cool looking. If you feel like it, try clicking it to see the texture and subtle colors.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Three Sixteenths"

8x8" couched masonite board, acrylic paint, screws, leather cord

I haven't posted much in a while, but it seems like it's time to share a few things I've done. I have a fondness for abstraction, texture, and found art. So, while most of this isn't found art, the leather did come from a belt I unraveled.

One of the things I found interesting about this is that the same rules of composition apply here: value, focal point, line, temperature, etc., etc. I was also pleased that the dripped lines of paint are about the same width as the leather cord.

It's a fun piece, and made it to my wall.