Brake a speeding line  
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Dear <<First Name>>,

Here's something we need to consider as abstract painters: how fast is that line? Not how fast did we make it, but how fast will someone's eye travel on it? 

It's Not What You Do, It's the Way You Do It
Julie Bernstein Engelmann, 36"H x 48"W, acrylic on canvas. Available

The road to Sedona from the south passes through spectacular scenery. Luckily it has two lanes. In the right lane are tourists taking their time to ogle. In the left are locals speeding to work.

We don't want a fast lane bypassing the scenery in our painting. Let there be chances to ogle: on and off ramps, pullouts, traffic circles and intersections.

This is my painting Slinky Dress (18x24) with ribbons intertwining.

Here I've doctored a couple of the lines - the light line at top and the dark line at bottom - so there is nowhere to stop along the way. See how the speeding lines manage to trivialize all the interesting mark-making in the center? They make it easy to say, "Okay, I'm done looking."

In comparison, the original painting has many more paths for exploration, because the lines are woven and integrated into the depth of the painting through overlapping. They invite you to stay awhile. 

To brake a speeding line, we can: vary the width, color, or texture of the line; intersect it with another line; overlap it with a line, shape, or shadow; or interrupt it with a drip, scratch, bend or nodule. Examples of each are in the painting at top, It's Not What You Do, It's the Way You Do It.   

I learned this helpful insight in a workshop with figurative artist John del Monte, when I heard him tell a student to place a bird on the roofline of a house to prevent the viewer's eye from "skating" across the painting. I never forgot it. 

You just don't know what you'll learn in a workshop that may help you in some special way from that day on!  

Yours in the joy of beauty and spirit,

Julie Bernstein Engelmann

P.S. Please join me in next week's The Inspired Abstract workshop on Zoom! See details below and on my website.  Questions? Email me :-)

P.P.S. If you missed my talk in January, I'm offering it as a free live webinar on May 14. Save the date! See below for more info. 


The Inspired Abstract
Birth your beloved and mysterious artwork
4-day online workshop with Julie Bernstein Engelmann

Held over Zoom, 10 am-3:30 pm
Through the Sedona Arts Center
Three opportunities:
April 12-15, 2021

July 13-16, 2021
September 20-23, 2021 

This workshop gives you a powerful foundation for abstract painting. You’ll be guided to enter the painting process naturally, use layers to develop a deep and luscious visual space, and weave into it brush-marks that grow from a personally meaningful inspiration. You’ll learn to see the spirit in your painting and help it shine powerfully.

A focus of the workshop is to find ease in bringing your mid-process “beautiful mess” to fulfilled completion. You’ll create two acrylic paintings that embody meaning, naturalness, and spatial depth and flow – qualities that lift an abstract painting from amateur to professional.    Learn More... 

"I love Julie: Her art, her teaching style, and as a human being. She always makes a workshop a delightful experience."

"Julie’s enthusiasm, well thought out lessons and materials were excellent."

"Julie is an excellent instructor.... Her passion for what she is doing is absolutely inspirational!"

Three Vital Keys to Powerful Abstract Painting
Free webinar with Julie Bernstein Engelmann
Held over Zoom, 11 am-12 noon AZ/PST
May 15, 2021

What makes an abstract painting powerful? Julie Bernstein Engelmann says three vital keys are: meaning, naturalness, and spatial depth & flow. Touring some of the abstract greats, Julie will help you discern these qualities for more appreciation and insight into the art you see or create. She will share specific techniques that can set your painting up for success in all these vital ways. Finally, Julie will show how you can lean into these qualities to bring your mid-process "beautiful mess" home to completion with more ease, focus, and confidence. 

RSVP here to receive the Zoom link for this free live presentation on May 15.

"Your lecture and demo was a real eye opener for me.  As a self taught painter lacking formal art education, I found your insights into the abstract so clear and the examples were excellent!" 

Beautiful Mess Painting Clinic
Revitalize an unfinished artwork
1-day online workshop with Julie Bernstein Engelmann
Held over Zoom, 10 am-4 pm

June 11, 2021

Abstract and contemporary paintings can get stuck mid-process at a frustrating stage we call the “beautiful mess.” Don’t give up on them!

In this one-day online painting clinic, you’ll be amazed to discover that your unfinished piece is most likely only a few well-placed brushstrokes away from being fabulous. Starting with what you love in your piece, Julie will train your eye to see how to enhance the depth and flow, which is key. She will demonstrate relevant critique points to illuminate what is really happening in your painting so you can bring it home to fulfilled completion.

You'll focus on 1-2 pieces in any medium; acrylic is ideal. Attendance is limited to six for plenty of one-on-one attention.
   Learn More... 

"Julie's workshop was PACKED FULL of value. She was professional, knowledgeable and personable. I got so much out of her workshop."

Artist Mentoring with Julie
Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle
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