Abstract Expressionism

The first painting class I ever took was during the second semester of my sophomore year of college. As was appropriate for an intro class, my teacher, Dana Zier, was really good about teaching us the fundamentals.

We primarily focused on realism, looking at how light reflected off of objects, how to create fabric that looks realistic by adding highlights and shadows, how to make flat objects appear curved, how to get the perspective right.

As far as realism goes, I wasn’t bad at it. For the most part I enjoyed it (Especially when we got to paint fabric. For some reason I loved it.) but it never really felt like my thing.  Continue reading


Broken Promises

Up until college I didn’t really have much drama in my life. There were two incidents with my two best friends, one in middle school and one in high school, but I wasn’t at the center of either of those. It took until college for me to have my own real drama.

I think it was probably inevitable in college. Small campus where everyone knew each other, plus we were all crammed into tiny dorm rooms together.

Anyway, my drama started with my boyfriend breaking up with me. Typical, yes, but that’s how it was. We broke up and I was sad and then drama happened afterwards. Continue reading

Storms and Such

Towards the end of my senior year of college I stopped trying to plan every step of my paintings. Because of this, my more recent art is more focused on color and how different colors relate to each other. I’m not so focused on the subject of my art. I usually just go with my gut and see what comes of it. So my abstract art is about color. Continue reading

Re-Do:Why I Paint Over Old (and not so old) Paintings

As I may have mentioned before, the original theme for my senior portfolio project was emotions made visible as little light flowers. Sometimes those light flowers turned out well, and they actually appeared to express something. Sometimes they didn’t. When that happened, I would either put it aside (if it were on paper) or cover it up (if it were on canvas).

That’s sort of been my life with art. I either love something and want to hang it up right away, or there’s this intense sense of nagging each time I look at the artwork that makes me want to change it. To get rid of the nagging, I either can’t stop working on it or I immediately stop working on it and don’t go back to it for months.

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My Experience with Beer and Painting

For my friend’s birthday (which was this past weekend – Happy Birthday!) last year I drove up to Milwaukee and we went to a beer and painting place in the middle of the day. Beer was not included in the price for the festivities, which was a bit of a downer, but the class was very fun.

It was my friend’s idea to go because she thought it would be helpful for her to get a little painting instruction. And what’s wrong with drinking beer at 11 AM? Nothing. So my friend, her sister, and I went for the three hour session and had a great time.

We were supposed to paint a giant goldfish, but I wasn’t feeling it. Neither was my friend’s sister. We both wanted to use the three hour session to create something of our own. At first I was nervous about going off the beaten path. We had paid for this “course” and there was an instructor to teach it. It was like school. And in school, I always worked very hard to do exactly as I was told.

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The Color I Paint with The Most

Color is perhaps the most important part of any painting. While the brush strokes, canvas, and overall composition of the painting are important, the color stands out the most and in my opinion is the part the speaks most to viewers.

No matter what color scheme is chosen for a painting – whether cool colors, complimentary colors, or even black and white – the right colors will make the painting perfect, will make it speak to those who see it.

Different colors will evoke different responses, especially depending on the colors you put near each other. There is one color that I use in almost every painting because it is very vibrant and because it works well with just about everything.

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Holding On To You

acrylic painting of figures holding hands
Holding On To You, acrylic on canvas

First, let me say that Twenty One Pilots is currently my favorite band. And that I love their song “Holding On To You.” And also that  this painting is definitely named after that song.

That wasn’t the original title, though. It was something along the lines of “Looking Up” or something. Which is also an appropriate title all things considered, it just wasn’t the title I wanted after I realized this painting was definitely more about the figures than what they were looking at.

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acrylic and hot glue painting
Paths; acrylic, hot glue, and glitter on canvas

In one of my art classes in college we were told to try something new with a painting. That day I brought in hot glue and glitter glue and went to town.

For this painting, I went with varying layers of watered down acrylic paint (my first time making the drips you see in many of my paintings!) and I laid down tape to create resistance. In some places I completely covered where the tape had been, in others I drew with the hot glue gun instead of laying more glue down. This removed some of the paint, revealing the white of the canvas beneath.

When I finished painting, at first I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted it to go. Should the drips go downward? Should the large glitter-circle be on top? Should the tape lines lead the viewer’s eye into or out of the painting?

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Go With Your Gut

abstract acrylic painting
Go With Your Gut, acrylic on canvas

Abstract art is my favorite. To look at and created.

This wasn’t always the case. I used to want my art to be realistic. Then my desire for photo-realism almost drove me insane so I gave up. Not on art, just on realism.

My senior year of college with my senior portfolio theme looming over me, I decided to continue down the abstract path.

I started by mixing a few colors – the dark red, the peach, the orange- and then I went to town. Overall this painting is dark, but there are many highlights in various colors. I wanted this piece to be chaotic and different from anything else I’d made at the time.

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Peaking Disappointment

Peaking Disappointment, acrylic on canvas

I’ve mentioned this in other posts, but my senior year I was required to take a course called Senior Portfolio, which involved coming up with a big idea and creating a bunch of artwork based around it. Then at the end of the year myself and the other art major seniors (there was only one) would have a Senior Art Show, showcasing our work and trying to impress people. (The art show actually worked for me because I sold my first three paintings there!)

My general idea for my senior portfolio was to paint emotions. But how to do this? Color was important. As were brush strokes and medium used.

At first, I created a bunch of “light-flowers” that expressed different emotions.

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