Last year I signed up to two short online workshop courses by two artists whose abstract work I have been admiring for some time – Jen Sievers and Laura Horn.
I never got around to doing them last year, they always got pushed aside, and my work space at home is a bit of a shambles at the moment.
Towards the end of 2019 I decided that doing these two courses was how I was going to kick start 2020. I rearranged my space as best as I could, so I have an analogue desk and a digital desk. That way I don’t have to clean up my art supplies to make room for digital tools.
I first had a go at Jen’s free Mindful Creativity Challenge in late 2019, which is an intro to her longer ‘Abstract Painting: Step Into Your Own Creative Power’. You can read more about that challenge HERE.
The first thing I did in 2020 when I got back into work was give myself a day to just work through both Jen and Laura’s courses. I gave myself permission to not do any admin or other computer-based work and just sat down with my paper and paints and let loose.
Laura’s ‘Melting Pot’ course really focused on working in layers and with mixed media. She encouraged you to step back and look at your composition and consider what you could add or take away to improve it.
Jen’s ‘Abstract Painting: Step Into Your Own Creative Power’ course focused a lot on why you should paint and clearing limiting beliefs. There was a lot of mindset work in there which I found really helpful and positive. She also had a great section on preparing to create by creating studies and creating colour palettes.
I just loved both the courses, I loved merging what I learnt in both, I loved the colours I was using and the energy, pattern and texture that happened. I pretty much haven’t stopped experimenting since. Often since I am working in layers I will have a couple of pieces going at once, and work up the layers as they dry. Sometimes these pieces evolve over a couple of days. I have been working at a smallish size, around A5, and creating small studies of colour, texture and pattern. Working at a smaller scale has removed some of the ‘blank canvas’ pressure you can sometimes get. I have been learning to just embrace the process and not focus on the end result.
I am really excited to explore this type of abstract mark making further. I am interested to see how/if I can incorporate it with my interest in letterforms and calligraphy. I am going to attempt 36 Days of Type this year, I have never done it but I think it will be a great way to see where these experiments can go. Watch this space!