Process: Abstract

What’s my process for making art?  Well, there’s a few types of artwork that I make.  I do drawings, studio paintings, live paintings, Live Wedding Art, figural art, custom art, etc.…  Each type has its own way of taking place.  I’d like to talk about the most recent paintings I created.  Two weeks ago I did an artist residency and finished 26 abstract oil paintings.  These are the ones I want to dive into.


These pieces are developed out of a retreat from overthinking.  I’ve come back time and time again to abstraction as a place where I don’t have to create some big argument through art or have an agenda with a painting.  I love and respect artists that make bold statements with their work but it’s quite a burden at this point in my creativity to use that as a goal.  It’s heavy.  It’s oppressive.  So instead sometimes I just paint.


For these I was using oils.  I love the texture and the way that they mix and spread around the canvas.  The color with oil paint is amazing.  The way the light travels in and reflects out is really beautiful.  They blend into each other so easily and don’t dry for days, so there’s a ton that can be done with them when consecutive time is spent in the studio.  If I were to choose between oil paints and any other medium I would always choose them.


I began with these pieces by covering the canvas.  I was using a 2:1 blend of walnut oil and mineral spirits to cut the paints.  You need to use a solvent of some kind with any kind of paint to help spread the paint and get more out of them.  With acrylics you use water.  With oils you need some kind of mineral spirit, turpentine, linseed oil, walnut oil, etc.  There’s probably a whole world of mixes that I haven’t even discovered yet.  So I’ll use a brush and use one color of paint, or multiple colors, but I’ll just cover the canvas with that and the solvent.


From there I begin playing with what’s starting to come together.  The composition begins to take shape and colors take over spaces from each other.  This is when each painting starts to take its own course.  It’s really interesting to me to make abstract art that’s not of anything.  Most art projects have a goal or an end point.  These pieces are about being present in the moment.


So time goes by, and I just move the paint around.  I use brushes of different sizes, palette knives, pencils and sometimes my fingers.  The paints merge together, every brush stroke changes the image a little bit.  Part of the challenge is having a sharp focus while not even having a clue what I’m doing.  It’s such a weird duality.


The key element though seems to be time.  Time is what makes these paintings happen.  It almost feels like I’m not really doing anything other than watching the art unfold in front of me.  But it’s not about a certain amount of time that I need to spend on a piece, it’s about the right amount of time.  Some take longer than others.  At a particular point I just feel that it’s done.  I know it’s done, and then it’s done.  It’s like baking a pizza by the feel of it, only every pizza is different and ends up in a completely different shape.