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Bending space
Beauty & Spirit Note from the Studio: news & muse from abstract artist Julie Bernstein Engelmann
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Allowing My Fear
Julie Bernstein Engelmann, 18"H x 24"W,  Acrylic on paper. Purchase

From somewhere above the blinding fog
a remote part of me throws down
a thin, unbreakable lifeline.

 

 

Bending Space


Dear <<First Name>>,

My Luscious Abstractions class is an obsessively fine-tuned experiment in how to best teach abstract painting. After 15 years I still tweak it every time. I consider it a course in "the quickest way to a good abstract painting" - a beautifully streamlined yet flexible system for anyone who wants to jump into the sea of Abstract Painting with the skills to swim. 

Recently I had a significant breakthrough in this experiment.

One step in my process has always been the hardest to teach: structure. A painting needs some bones to hold it up, and I've tried moving this step backwards and forwards in the sequence with way too mixed results. It seems that people have widely different preferences for how much structure they want to create!  
 
My moment of truth came thanks to Elliott, a dear mentoring client who flew across the country for private instruction. At his final critique, I gave him some of my past exhibit postcards. He looked at a very fluid one and said, "Hey, I want to do this. Why don't you teach this?" 



I had to think. Why didn't I? What was it about this boneless painting that I had overlooked; that is, without structural lines, how was it standing up so strongly? 

That's when I realized that more important than bones in a painting is the bending of space. I had been teaching both together, not cognizant that they were two completely different kinds of structure and one was optional.

Look at it like a room. Which is more important in shaping the space: the furniture or the walls? Some people don't like furniture.

We need the big bending of space in a painting if we want real depth. That means large-area value shifts (lighter-darker). And, of course, not half and half. 

Explore this foundation and much more in my Luscious Abstractions class next week. It's the last one until fall, because... drumroll... I'm using the summer to create an online version of the course! Very excited!


Yours in the love of beauty and spirit,

Julie

 


Luscious Abstractions
Crash Course with Julie Bernstein Engelmann
at the Sedona Arts Center, Sedona, Arizona 

May 22 and 23, 2017

Abstraction can be rich with depth, drama, and discovery! Julie's layering technique gives you a powerful foundation for abstract painting and helps you develop ease and freedom with paint. Through intuitive mark-making, luscious "happy accident," and strong composition you will create exciting paintings that surprise and engage you. Meanwhile, you will learn important design and color skills. All materials are included in this crash course. You'll take home two acrylic paintings — a paper collage and an 18x24 canvas panel — that speak to the mystery!  Learn More... 


 

Revitalize Your
Abandoned Abstracts

An artist mentoring intensive
by web/phone to bring unhappy abstracts back to life. 
  Learn more... 

From Julie Bernstein Engelmann to artists who love abstract painting


May I look at your paintings with you, with fresh eyes? Through artist mentoring with me, you get direct, incisive feedback that gives you deep support and saves frustration.

My superpower is to help you see the spirit in your paintings and understand how to bring them to life!  


Click to Artist mentoring with Julie
Recent articles:  
Intuition and her fan, Composition   
Your Painting has a Secret Life
Also: Beauty & Spirit Note Archive
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