What inspires an abstract painting? As with realistic or impressionistic paintings, inspiration can come from a multitude of places/sources. Up until now, my abstracts evolved as they developed — as I applied layers of paint and texture. Often I would be many layers into a painting before its “voice” or message started to become apparent and I began to have a conversation with it.
This approach changed when I saw a stunning Cooper’s hawk photograph by a Facebook friend. With his permission, I used this image as my inspiration.
My Steps in Creating this Abstract Painting:
After I prepped my 24×36 panel with textured gesso, I then mixed colors for the color scheme I intended to use in the painting. I always determine my color palette before I begin painting. If I do not do this, it turns into a mess and I am not a happy camper. Some painters believe that this is limiting, I find it liberating!
Trying to take in the feeling of a hawk as I begin, I applied my first layers of paint.
Next I added more colors and incorporated a couple of the shapes that I saw in the photo. Tree like branches are created using a stencil and dark grey paint. You can see them in the upper right hand corner.
As I often do, I flipped the painting for another perspective. A stencil of a feather is added as well as some geometric shapes. I also put the photo of the hawk out of my sight at this point. I put it in a drawer.
The abstract painting is turned 90 degrees. I am now applying more layers of paint to begin creating a sense of depth and drama. The darker colors are also helping to integrate the shapes from the first stages of the painting.
I add more warm colors, drips and use rubbing alcohol to create more interest and depth.
Details of the whites are enhanced, as well as the contrasts. “Deepen the Journey,” can hang vertically or horizontally. I will have to screw in wires for both possibilities and sign my name on the edge of the wooden panel.
Do you see the influence of the original photograph? What images do you see in this abstract painting or where does it take you?
I liked starting with the hawk as my initial inspiration. What are your sources of inspiration for realistic, surrealistic or abstract paintings?
“Deepen the Journey” will be exhibiting in my upcoming show Unveiling the Invisible, which opens Friday, January 13, 2017 in Colorado Springs. If you are in the neighborhood, I hope you will stop by between 5-7pm. The show dates are: January 13-March 28, 2017.
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