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Juxtaposition: Abstract Acrylic and Realistic Oil

April 27, 2010

oil and abstract painting juxtaposition

Sometimes, working on two very different projects can be interesting.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about what’s on my easel, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy!

The other day I was working in the studio. When I stepped back, I saw these two paintings side by side and realized what a cool juxtaposition they  made! They are completely different, opposites in more than one respect, and yet they relate to each other.

I like to pick out parallels between works that don’t seem to have anything in common. Here we have a blue, abstract, geometric painting in acrylic on the left, and an orange, realistic, oil painting on the right. Looking at them together makes it easy to see the similarities: bright, saturated colour, crisp lines, flat shapes. All the things that interest me!

It’s interesting because the dominant colours are not only opposites on the colour wheel, they are my two favorite colours. When trying a new technique or working with a new medium, I will always reach for either orange or blue. I am drawn to blue because it’s such a versatile colour, and to orange because of its intensity.

geometric abstract painting in blueThis piece is a continuation, almost a distillation, of the work I was doing earlier this year. Before, I was deconstructing paintings that I had completed as finished works.

Here, I have started with a sheet of gessoed canvas and painted flat, geometric shapes. Then I cut the canvas into 25 squares, as I did before, re-arranged them and painted more squares. The squares were glued to a piece of board, which was then torn apart.

This process combines the shapes and colours of my constructed paintings with the form and process of my reincarnated paintings.

realistic oil painting of african sunsetThe African sunset is actually a commission. My friend is getting married this summer and has asked me to do this painting, which will hang behind the bride and groom at the reception. The entire wedding will be African themed, hence the African sunset.

For this painting, I did everything right! I did a colour study and a value study to make sure I worked out any problems before digging into the real thing. This really helped me to achieve the illumination of the sun and to understand how to paint the shadows properly. If you go to my portrait website, you can see the painting studies as well as work-in-progress shots of the painting.

People seem to think it’s strange that I do both tight, realistic work and geometric abstractions. I stand by my theory that each is necessary to me, rewarding and challenging different parts of my brain. Especially when you see the two styles together, it’s evident that each informs the other.

Do you work in more than one style? How does that affect your art?


From → On my Easel

  1. I have two distinct art-styles which I refer to as ‘traditional art’ & ‘abstract art’ one is the antidote to the other. I will produce two or three abstracts say and then produce three or four traditional subjects. I work solely in acrylics on canvas.

    • Hi Meltemi! Sometimes it’s nice to have two different things to move between. It gives you a bit of a break.

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