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Three Abstractions

September 28, 2009

abstract-3I thought I’d give you all a little update on what I’ve been working on recently. My time has been split between three very different abstract paintings. I love working on more than one piece at a time. Each piece informs the others and your ideas can bounce around. The painting process becomes more fluid. Not to mention, you have something to work on while one painting is drying!

You may remember the canvas I cut up. Well, here it is in its current form. I rearranged the pieces, layering them on top of each other, then painted the light blue rectangular shapes. Then I rearranged the canvas again to form this composition. I thinned the oil paint down with poppy oil, which was a mistake! At one point, my paintings were drying too fast and was I advised to add poppy oil to make them wet for longer. Well, for some reason it had the opposite effect and the painting dried within hours. That was what I was expecting this time, but it’s been days and the paint is still wet! I’m waiting for it to dry so I can work out the next step.

I’m at a bit of a loss at what to do with this one next. My instinct would be to collage these pieces somehow: glue them together or glue them to a backing. The problem is that the glue wouldn’t stick to the oil paint. Until I figure out a way to put the pieces back together I can’t really do anything else! I considered sewing, but that has so many historical connotations I’m not sure I want to go there!



abstract-2This piece is entirely different. I was in the middle of reading my book about Rothko when this idea hit. Here I’m using thinned out oil paints to produce flat, transparent shapes. The plan is to keep applying these washes, alternating between the colours to create a sense of layers and depth. The drawing line was something I added after the fact using an oil stick.

To get the composition, I worked from a paper maquette. I painted shapes on the paper, cut it into smaller squares and rearranged them, then painted more shapes on top. The idea is that these squares could be endlessly rearranged to provide a random, geometric composition.

abstract-maquetteI really like this process of producing a composition and I think it could be used in future pieces, but I’m not sure this painting is going in the right direction. It’s really just an experiment at this point. The colours were inspired by one of Rothko’s works, but I have to admit that  I am more drawn to the colours in the maquette.




abstract-1And finally, here is the insanity that is my living room floor!

My other half went away for a few days and this is what happened! I tried combining the ideas from the other pieces (transparent layers and collaging), using the same process I did for my other abstract paintings. The difference being that the other paintings were made of wood veneer while this is made from cardboard.

I’m really enjoying how the cardboard works. It has all the characteristics that I liked about the wood (it’s lightweight and it tears easily) but it’s not as awkward or painful to work with. I like the way it curls a bit when it’s wet and I will be able to achieve much more depth without the heaviness of the wood. 

This is done in acrylic paintings, which makes it much easier in a practical sense. It dries faster, less worry about getting paint everywhere, and I know I’ll be able to glue it eventually.

I’m sort of at a crossroads as you can see, trying to figure out where to go next. Each of these paintings is exploring a different idea, or a different form of the same ideas. Of the three, I think I’m most excited about the third one, but we’ll see where I go from here!


From → On my Easel

  1. Miranda, I love experimenting like this. So much comes out of these times and usually the results are so unexpected. I wish I could help you with the oil paint issue, but I cannot do so (as an asthmatic, the process would do me in). I love the layers and the thickness of the wood has great appeal, as well. I can understand the brutality of working with it, however. My experience is abstractions take so much time and contemplation. Just when your mind encourages you to move in one direction your eye and your heart suggest another! Most likely you need to just leave that first one to dry for a good while because you need to contemplate it further.

    This is really exciting and wonderful work!


    • Kim, you’re right about the first one. It’s going to sit for awhile so that I can ponder and it can dry! Thanks for your encouragement, it’s great to have so much support! It’s exciting and frustrating to be at this point of transition. I have so many ideas but the practicality of my lack of space keeps getting in the way. I’m literally working on my living room floor, which drives my partner crazy! I would absolutely love some kind of dedicated studio space where I can really spread out. One day, I want to find an old barn or warehouse that I can turn into a collection of studios where artists can work and talk and be creative! That would be really awesome!

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