Vary a color for more depth
Beauty & Spirit Note from the Studio 
News & muse from abstract artist Julie Bernstein Engelmann
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Dear <<First Name>>,

A powerful opportunity that is often overlooked by abstract painters is to vary a color when it appears in different places across a painting. This little principle makes a big difference in the depth and richness of an abstract painting.

Adore What You're Doing Right Now
Julie Bernstein Engelmann, 24"H x 18"W, acrylic on canvas. Available

The painting above owes its richness to its shifting hues, values, intensities, and temperatures. If we follow a color around the painting, we really don't see that exact color repeated anywhere else. 

This practice of shifting the color relates inversely to a spatial principle called compression, which I learned from my teaching mentor, artist Tom Leeson. Compression happens when a color is repeated in different places on a painting. 

Say you paint a green door on a white house backed by green trees. The door gives the illusion of being a hole or window in the house. So, the space has been compressed, or collapsed, compared to the solid look of a house with a door that's a different color. 

Similarly, if the same color is used in different spots in an abstract painting, all of those spots pop to the same plane, compressing the space. Consider the sweet painting below. 

I Move My World by Loving What I Love
Julie Bernstein Engelmann,
11"H x 14"W, 
acrylic on canvas.

The green mark that comes down from the top pops to the same plane as the green in the middle ring, so it pulls the background forward. Therefore, the painting is shallower than it would be without the green mark. 

On the other hand, the blues shift from darker to lighter and from more to less pure. In the upper painting the teal blues shift further to ultramarine at the bottom. The difference that color variations can make in a painting's richness and depth is astounding!

When this practice of shifting the color becomes second-nature, we never want to go back to using the same color again...within the same painting, that is!

Yours in the joy of beauty and spirit,


P.S. My next online workshop, The Inspired Abstract, is coming up October 15-17. Please join me! Scroll down for more info.

Sharing about my first online workshop in July: What a joy. The main difference was tactile, yet I was surprised how many advantages online teaching offered. People got to introduce themselves beforehand on the forum; I was able to post handouts, slide shows and videos so students could go back and review the techniques; there was complete ease with supplies, setup, breaks, and after-hours painting; students could post for a couple weeks afterward for followup feedback; and my favorite advantage: because people had posted a piece before the workshop, we got to see how profoundly their work improved!   

The Inspired Abstract
Birth your beloved and mysterious artwork
3-day online workshop with Julie Bernstein Engelmann
Through the Sedona Arts Center - held over Zoom
October 15, 16, and 17 (Thur-Sat), 2020 

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

A focus of this workshop is to find ease in bringing your mid-process abstract “beautiful mess” to 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... 

Create a Dream Spirit Painting
3-hour Airbnb (or non-Airbnb) Experience in Rimrock, Arizona
Any Monday or Friday

Create a beautiful artwork that resonates with a dream held in your heart.

Step by step, I’ll guide you through a resistance-free cascade of five intuitive painting layers. Each step gives you a different way to connect with your natural creative self. Each layer builds on the others to create a rich abstract dream painting that speaks just to you.

All supplies are provided.   Learn More... 

Video on The Inspired Abstract workshop (2:52 minutes) 
Artist Consultation with Julie  Learn More...
Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle
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