Is it freedom or the beautiful void that you love? 
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Dear <<First Name>>,

Two years ago I asked readers, Is it beauty or expression that you love? I told how, at a traffic light, my friend had exclaimed, "You artists, you just love to express." And I heard myself reply - which I had never realized before - "Some artists love to express. Others love to bring out beauty."

It turned out that most of my readers, like me, loved beauty more than expression.

Interestingly, this distinction resurfaced as I've been preparing to give a talk - and you're invited to attend by Zoom! It's a free talk this Sunday on appreciating abstraction.

Julie Bernstein Engelmann, 40"H x 40"W, acrylic on canvas. Available

As I refreshed myself on the journey of abstract painting through time, I began to notice something surprising. The term Abstract Expressionism had overemphasized in my mind expression as an impulse for abstraction. An equal factor in the birth and growth of abstraction was extraction, from the emptiness, of beauty. 

Right before my eyes, I could see that some greats of abstract art history loved expression, yet others loved to bring out beauty from the void.

One seminal example is Van Gogh's Bedroom at Arles, 1889. Art history classes and books talk about the symbology of the objects in the room - how the room is not empty, but full of meaning. Yet listen to Van Gogh's own words:

"The walls are pale violet. The floor is of red tiles. The wood of the bed and chairs is the yellow of fresh butter, the sheets and pillows very light greenish citron. The coverlet scarlet. The windows green. The toilet table orange, the basin blue. The doors lilac. And that is all--there is nothing in this room with its closed shutters."

- Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his younger brother Theo, October 1888, as quoted by Laurie Schneider Adams in A History of Western Art, fifth ed., p.458

Suddenly I could see the bare truth of what Van Gogh had done. He had painted an empty room. Had this ever been done before? The empty room was filled not with symbols but with his love of color, his extraction of beauty from emptiness.

So much to love!

Anyway, I hope you'll come if you like. Here is the blurb and link: 

Free Online Presentation
with Julie Bernstein Engelmann
January 10, 2021, 5:00 pm AZ time/MST
Sponsored by the Sedona Arts Center

Three Keys to Appreciate Abstract Painting

Freedom! That’s the impulse behind abstract painting. Whether you love it or just want to understand it, this free online presentation will give you inspiration to see abstract painting more deeply.

Artist Julie Bernstein Engelmann will focus on three key qualities: meaning, naturalness, and spatial depth & flow. Touring some of the abstract greats, you’ll come to discern these qualities for more enjoyment of the art you see or create.

Join Julie for this free presentation on January 10, 2021 at 5:00-6:00 pm Arizona time via ZOOM meetings by clicking the invitation HERE at the appropriate time.

Explore Julie's other ONLINE courses: THE BEAUTIFUL MESS PAINTING CLINIC — A one-day course on January 16 where students will explore revitalizing unfinished work to take it to completion. Julie is also offering her popular painting course THE INSPIRED ABSTRACT, February 22 - 25, 2021.

Yours in the joy of beauty and spirit,

Julie Bernstein Engelmann

P.S. Do you have unfinished pieces sitting in the corner of your studio waiting to get unstuck? Let's look at them with fresh eyes! See my online Beautiful Mess Painting Clinic, below. 

Questions? Email me :-)


Beautiful Mess Painting Clinic
Revitalize an unfinished or abandoned artwork
1-day online workshop with Julie Bernstein Engelmann
Held over Zoom, 10 am-4 pm
Two opportunities:
Saturday, January 16, 2021
Saturday, March 13, 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.
   Learn More... 

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
Two opportunities: 
February 22-25, 2021
April 12-15, 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...

Inspired Abstract workshop (2:52)
Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle
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