This class had been in the works for a while, in my mind’s eye, and I was thrilled when it finally started. The intent was to use botanical images for inspiration and respond in the abstract style. Rather than creating representational art as depicted in the early part of the century, my thought was to move in a different direction. I came up with a series of studies for exploring creative voice and learning new techniques. And as always, I encourage my students to use their creative intuition and let it lead the way.
Creating a gird in our handbound art journals, using a gift card to make lines with gesso and painting botanicals with an emphasis on darkening the negative space.
Here is my demo page using outline and various botanical shapes inspired by a puzzle I put together with my husband during the stay-at-home days of COVID.
Here is a look at my student’s work using the grid format…
Painting blossoms, different sizes, shapes, and keeping the negative space in mind.
CONTOUR DRAWING OF BOTANICALS USING CHARCOAL
This is a practical way to study, using charcoal for contour line drawings, a paint brush with water to activate the charcoal line and adding white paint for highlights. By eliminating color in this simple practice, one can focus on value. These drawings are simple and beautiful. Give it a try, I think you will be pleased with the process and something you can re-visit many times to enhance your drawing skills. We used newsprint with a light coat of clear gesso for the substrate. And how about using a twig to paint lines? Another simple art tool you can find in the dried winter foliage. Look at these lovelies.
I dream up these exercises intentionally to help students loosen up, let go of imperfection and focus on line. Many of the masters painted using line for emphasis. Think Henri Matisse, Picasso, and VanGogh…they used line to enhance their imagery.
Abstract work using a limited palette and painting into the negative space with hard edges.
My demonstration page…
Exploring collage on art journal pages before working on gesso board with collage and line.
I love Robert Kushner’s art and we used his work for inspiration! The process started with laying down collage on a gesso board. Followed by painting line and blossoms on the board. This process requires integrating the painted image with the shapes and design of the collage.
A beautiful student painting! And here are a few more lovely paintings for you to see…
My gesso board pictured below is still a w.i.p. I am thinking the white accents in the blossom will work but honestly, I had to let the piece sit for a while before, I was sure. It is part of the creative process to come back with fresh eyes to review your work, ask yourself if it needs anything else, or knowing it is complete.
The last session of Abstract Botanicals involved painting the art journal covers. I encouraged students to use whatever process, technique, or creative expression they desired. Using leftover paint for a clean-up page on the cover is standard practice for me. It eliminates the blank white page and gives me a springboard for the next steps.
Look at the painted texture!
A cover inspired by Kirshner…
Acrylics mixed with water make wonderful washes..
Pattern and line create interest on this cover.
An accidental spill…no worries, look where it was used…
It was perfect for the negative space surrounding this floral image.
Yes, this botanical was painted with a twig!
When working with collage, it is important to audition the pieces and lay them around a page until you find the perfect combination.
Found poetry creates interest and we want to look closer to read the words.
Below is my art journal cover. It started with a clean-up page, a perfect collage item with harmonious colors, and finished up with a blossom painted with a twig.
Written on the side faintly in pencil…embrace imperfection.
Using a limited palette and simple botanical drawings in my art journal.
The finished back cover of my art journal. ￼
As always it started as a clean-up page and then I added the shapes, marks, darks, and had so much fun painting with freedom. Just letting my creative muse lead the way. Here is a close-up of the marks made with Posca pens. Poscas are an awesome art tool, available at Amazon of course, and locally at our very own Meininger’s Art Supply on Tejon. If you have never been there, you are in for a treat. Lots of wonderful art supplies for your journey.
Thanks for stopping by and reading about my class “Abstract Botanicals”. It was a special group of students, eager to explore new art techniques, and have fun creating imagery in the abstract inspired by the world of botanicals.