Monday, September 26, 2011


I just finished what I think is maybe my favorite painting so far. We had to base our painting around the idea of abstract expressionism. I have been wanting to do something abstract for a long time, but the opportunity never really presented itself before this project came along.

I struggled in the beginning with deciding what to paint. Making decisions was never my strong suite, but I did it. I looked up some abstract expressionist art online. There were some things that I liked, so I wanted to take elements of those paintings and apply those techniques to my own painting. As far as subject matter goes, I tried to think about what exactly abstract means. I went with fire. While we were camping I took a really great flame photo that I thought would be perfect for this project.

So, using the camp fire flame as inspiration for my abstraction, I painted the entire canvas black in order to paint the flame over top. I started with the brightest part of the flame, and then I started adding in more of the darker reds and oranges.

I got a little carried away, and decided that the bottom left corner was too empty. So in an attempt to balance it out, I applied the color I was using in the flame portion to create a sort of "glowing" look around the corners.

By this point in the painting, we had a mid-critique. My professor asked me to flip my painting upside down from the way I had been going about it. The elements in my painting worked better as a composition from this angle, so I ended up keeping it this way.

I wanted to be done at this point. The flames are abstracted pretty decently, but I just felt like it wasn't quite finished yet. I wasn't nuts about the brightness of the corners. It felt like the corners were competing for attention with the abstracted flames. I figured that I would have to extend the corner colors all the way around the painting or knock the colors down.

I decided to mix more black and paint over the top of the corners to give it more of an ember glow feeling. And actually, I think it turned out great.

This is what I ended up showing at our final critique. I went home Saturday and Dad helped me frame it. The frame isn't quite dark enough, so I'm going to try and get a darker stain so the wood is more black - but it looks awesome.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Almost Finished

The tree needs a little more work to make the leaves actually look like they're part of the tree trunk. Also, I still have to lay in all the people that will be on the sand in the mid-ground. At this point though, I'm just waiting for everything to dry a little bit more so I stop pushing paint around on the canvas and making a mess.

I have to be completely finished by Wednesday at 9:30 in the morning, so I'm probably going to go back later tonight or tomorrow after school. Astonishingly, I actually like it so far. Who knew this would happen?