Tag Archives: abstract art

Leftover from class: Not Angry

Remember my class from this winter/spring? I had a couple more paintings in progress as the class finished, both one hundred percent to the abstract side of the scale. As a reminder, the class was about exploring the continuum of doing art from abstract to realistic (or vice versa) – the idea being that every work exists somewhere on this spectrum.

This one is called “Not Angry” and it’s 18″ x 24″ on masonite, done in acrylics.

The Boy on the Bridge

I created an illustration used to accompany a story on Fictive Dream, the online fiction magazine. And oops…I neglected to post it on the same day the story came out, as I usually do. My apologies to Fictive Dream and editor Laura Black.

But…that doesn’t mean I can’t catch things up. It’s not too late. I’ll show you the illustration and then I hope you’ll visit Fictive Dream and read the story it goes with.

The story is: The Boy on the Bridge, by Kate Mahony

And here is the picture:

A Month of Artwork Coming Up. A Month of Stories Coming Up.

It’s almost February. And what is so special about that, you may say?

Well, it’s time for Flash Fiction February 2021, that’s what!

For me, this February marks the third year that I have done illustrations for Flash Fiction February at Fictive Dream, an online magazine focusing on the short story. FFF21, as I call this year’s event, is just what it sounds like: a whole month of flash fiction, one story a day, throughout the month of February.

In the past, I’ve created illustrations specifically for each story. This year, for a lot of reasons, I was able to continue that approach. There is a tight timeframe and a lot of work to do in a short period, and it was just not possible this year.

But – I love working with editor Laura Black and I love the event itself. I did not want to leave this experience. In thinking about it, I came up with the idea of creating a body of artwork from which Laura could then select appropriate illustrations.

To my happiness, Laura agreed, and I set to work. Eventually I made 102 small abstract paintings, far more than I usually would do for a project needing 28 final images, but because the work process was different, it fit my schedule and abilities, and it was a pleasure to do. For all of this I am so grateful to Laura for making it possible.

To create the illustrations, without a story reference, I reflected on a variety of themes, emotions, and moods. I think that all writing, however specific it is within its own framework, touches on universally true and recurring ideas, feelings, and behaviors. Fiction examines and reveals these elements through word selection, sentence structure, choice of subject, and in many other ways. I wanted to use color, line, shape, and form to do the same.

My hope was that Laura could “read” my visual stories and match them to the written stories. This did turn out to be the case – each story found its picture.

In this time of upheaval, chaos, and disorder, making art is for me a chance to bring meaning to what is ocurring in my life or in the world, to make a statement, to define things, or to agree that some things remain undefined. I think writers do the same thing with words. Communication and connection.

Each day, I will post the artwork for the story and provide a link to Fictive Dream. It is my hope that you will look at the art, think about what impression it makes on you, what its story might be. And then that you will read the story and see the artwork in that context.

About the artwork:

Each image is approximately 7″ x 10″, a size dictated by the requirements of the magazine’s layout online. I worked in acrylic paints and inks on watercolor paper or Bristol board.

In composing the pictures, I needed to be aware of how the art would look in the thumbnail image, meaning no essential elements could be set close to the bottom and top edges. I also had to leave room for the “Flash Fiction February 2021 “banner”, which was inserted digitally on the scanned artwork, and which needed to be visible in both thumbnail and full-size views.

Once I finished an artwork, I scanned it, added the banner, and sent the image to Laura in the correct size for her to use.

All 102 artworks:

If you do the math, there are a LOT of artworks that didn’t get used: 102-28=74, to be specific. I will post them on the blog as time goes on. Some of them illustrate this post, in fact.

I think all of them would be happy to pose for a story idea…go ahead! Why not?

Classwork: Painting #5

I took an online class in abstract painting during November/December 2020. For more info, see the introduction in this post featuring the first painting I did in the class.

The class was structured with a short lecture at the beginning of class covering an abstract painter’s work and using it as a springboard to discuss abstract art principles. Then we students painted at our individual studios.

Thank you to my fellow students and my teacher, Kassem Amoudi.

Here is the next painting in this series. It’s called Hurry and it’s 20″ x 16″, done in acrylics.

And here is the progression as it went through its creation:

This painting did not change much over the couple of weeks I worked on it after it got to a near-finished stage. I kept adding or substracting a little here or there. Finally I just stopped. It was fine. Let it be.

Classwork: Painting #4

I took an online class in abstract painting during November/December 2020. For more info, see the introduction in this post featuring the first painting I did in the class.

The class was structured with a short lecture at the beginning of class covering an abstract painter’s work and using it as a springboard to discuss abstract art principles. Then we students painted at our individual studios.

Thank you to my fellow students and my teacher, Kassem Amoudi.

Here is another painting from the series of works done in class. This one is called Ascend, and it is 20″ x 16″, done in acrylics.

You may notice the drawn lines in this painting – there have been similar marks in earlier ones, too. They are made with acrylic paint markers. I have always used white and black markers of this type, but sparingly. The instructor mentioned them in one of the lectures and I realized, in a belated light-bulb moment, that they came in all colors, and that I would really like to have a selection.

I ordered some and I’ve been using them. I really like the effect they give.

And, as you know, there are multiple stages to a painting, some of which I recorded when I emailed photos of WIP for the instructor’s examination. Here is what I can show you of the image’s process, earlier stages going to the later ones.

As a note, the colors are not corrected so that the images match each other as they should – I didn’t take the time. The final image is the one that most looks like the painting as it is.

Classwork: Painting #3

I took an online class in abstract painting during November/December 2020. For more info, see the introduction in this post featuring the first painting I did in the class.

The class was structured with a short lecture at the beginning of class covering an abstract painter’s work and using it as a springboard to discuss abstract art principles. Then we students painted at our individual studios.

Thank you to my fellow students and my teacher, Kassem Amoudi.

Here’s another painting in this series of work – it’s called Ghost Table. It’s 20″ x 16″.

In the class, we paint as we go, and when we want some help or advice, we email a photo to the instructor, who shows it on the screen. A by-product of this process is that I have WIP photos to show you. So, here is the progression:

Classwork: Painting #2

Here is the second painting I did in the class. It’s called We Don’t Judge, and it is 20″ x 16″, painted in acrylics on canvas. Originally, there was a wide swath of yellow at the bottom of the picture. At my teacher’s suggestion, I changed it to this darker color. It really helped in defining the image of the flowers in the pot, gave the picture some weight it needed to make it feel balanced, I think.

Classwork: Painting #1

I took an online class in abstract painting during November/December 2020. I’ve never taken a painting class before and to be honest, in normal times I would never have considered it, after decades of painting and exhibiting/selling my work. I would have just kept on as I was going.

But I’ve retired from selling my art, I want to explore new things in all my art activities, and I was looking for a bit of community. A class seemed a good idea.

The class was structured with a short lecture at the beginning of class covering an abstract painter’s work and using it as a springboard to discuss abstract art principles. Then we students painted at our individual studios.

When we wanted guidance or advice, we emailed a photo of our work to the teacher. He spoke with the student and showed the painting in question on the screen for all to see and hear. In that way we could get feedback on our own work, see what other students were doing, and have some personal involvement as a class.

I really enjoyed this class. I learned and I opened my mind to some new ideas; I enjoyed being in the company of other painters; and the routine of having a set time to settle down and paint was invaluable in adding stability to my life. Thank you to my fellow students and my teacher, Kassem Amoudi.

Here’s a painting that emerged from this classwork. It’s called My Neighbors, it’s 20″ x 16″ on canvas, done with acrylics.

Tree-Like Abstracts

These small paintings were made in October, 2018. Acrylics on canvas board, 7″ x 5″.
I think they look like trees. Not that they have to look like anything if they don’t want to.