I just returned from the WSO Spring show which occured April 3-5, and then stayed on in Cannon Beach for a 5 day workshop with John Salminen. Below is a photo of me with my painting "Sound Bites" which was selected for the show, but did not win an award.
The workshop focused on design in an abstract painting. The instructor had a tight approach to building an abstract step by step. It suited me very nicely, because it was less stressful than coming up with ideas on my own. I like to do that in my studio, but for me it's harder to do in a group. For those of you who enjoy seeing how art goes from a blank sheet to a final peice, you will this step by step description.
Step 1: We drew 4 line drawings of everyday items--an empty packing tape dispensor, the top of a squirt bottle, a folded paper bag, and a bullclip attached to a plastic rectangle.
Step 2: On a piece of tracing paper, we traced 3 or 4 of those draqwings on to one 9 inch by 12 inch sheet.
Step 3: We then divided the tracing paper into 16 pieces by folding 4 down and 4 across. Then by putting the same 16 piece grid onto a full sheet of watercolor paper (22 inch by 30 inch) we copied our tracing paper drawing onto the watercolor paper. With all the lines, this was a frustrating task.
Step 4: We then found an interesting shape out of all these many lines. The shape had to go off the edge paper in 3 or 4 places. Further requirements were for the shape to be irregular, unpredictable, and oblique (diagonal in direction.) That shape was traced and cutout on large tracing paper and outlined in yellow paint.
Step 5: We then placed a light watercolor wash surrounding our left-white shape using one main color dominance of warm or cool, with a few areas of contrast. In my piece, I chose a warm dominance and put a few cool areas on the paper.
Step 6 to finished: From this beginning, we then put on darker shapes, layers of colors, cut out and pasted pieces from magazines, added lines, added black shapes, and built an abstract painting unlike any process I've used before. Here is the final product. Remember this is a really large painting!
I had so much fun with this that I did it again. (I also wanted to insure that I would remember the process.) Doesn't this look like an aerial view?
Abstract painting #2:
I was fortunate to stay in a large rental house with several other great women. Here are some photos capturing some of them at work.
Ruth putting on the first washes of watercolor.
Christine further along on her peice.
Sharon stepping back to see the whole piece.
Kara standing by her abstract pondering if it's done or how she can improve it.