I See You Having What You Want
Julie Bernstein Engelmann, 20"H x 26"W, acrylic and latex on unprimed canvas
It's not for me to impose my dreams for you,
nor my best intentions for your improvement.
Instead, I hold you lightly like a birthday cake
and wish for you to have what you want.
I see you having what you want.
May the paint please speak
Dear <<First Name>>,
Vince and I had a good laugh. As director of the Sedona Arts Center School of the Arts (where I teach), he had asked me how my abstract class could help representational painters. Among my list of answers, first was "Integrity of materials!
"Nothing tags a painting as amateur faster than not honoring the materials. It's as if the painter's plan is floating out in front of the painting. If only the student could just see the paint right before their eyes!"
Vince whimsically voiced, "But, there's a cow in the way!" Clearly, in his figurative and plein air classes he had seen same problem. The imaginary candid student went on, "Is it behind the cow?"
Ha! Joking aside, how can you see and honor your paint?
Through experience, artists naturally become comfortable and facile with materials, learning how to use them well. Taking classes like mine compresses the experience for students so they can quickly gain a level of comfort with the paint. That's good.
And then there's...conversing with your paint.
Have you ever looked at your canvas-in-progress and felt distanced, like you've lost your relationship with your painting? You try this and that, but the painting seems to go nowhere. It's frustrating and lonely. You know why? Because you're ignoring the other party in the conversation: your painting, which is waiting patiently to speak to you.
Open your eyes and really look at the paint. Quiet your noisy mind and truly see what gifts the paint is offering you. Let a beautiful stroke or shape or scrape captivate you.
Above is an example of a real mess. It's an 8"x14" detail of my work in progress. By deeply looking, in that mess I found a cute orange ball with two red lines that I wanted to enhance. And, just to the right was a gooey section that I thought I'd try framing off, giving it shape. Then I wanted to calm down the area below it so I could see it better.
So, the mess started to take shape and form. All the while, I was having an exchange with the painting: what do you think, is this the right color? How should this stroke go? Then I back up and look from a distance, ask the painting what it wants.
Ask your painting what it wants.
You may be astounded at the answer. You may be astounded at how exciting the process gets! Painting has a whole new meaning when your painting is your partner.
Meaning, space, and integrity in abstract painting
That was a little on integrity of materials. Let's talk about meaning and space!
Meaning, space, integrity -- and the conversation with your painting -- are subjects we'll explore in my workshop, Inspired Abstracts, June 8-10 at the Sedona Arts Center. Three days to transform your relationship with paint!
Check it out below and plan your visit to gorgeous Sedona. (And hey - on day 2 I'll bring homemade cookies and watermelon!)
Plus, here's a bonus: register for Inspired Abstracts before May 25, and I'll spend some time with you discussing your recent artwork, if you bring pictures (e.g. on your iPad) and would like some feedback.
Join me! I'd love to see your heartfelt artwork - and help you to see it too!
Yours in the love of beauty and spirit,
P.S. Take a sneak peek at highlights from my blog below.
Paint with Julie!
Gorgeous red rock.
3-day Workshop - Acrylic on canvas - June 8-10 (Wed-Fri)
All the supplies ready and waiting.
Information, inspiration, support, and transformation.
All that's needed is you!
Come as you are.
Orientation/free talk & slide presentation - June 7 (Tue), 7pm:
"Meaning, Space, and Integrity in Abstract Painting"
Sedona Arts Center, 15 Art Barn Road, Sedona, Arizona 86336
If you're thinking of coming from a distance to a workshop with me, this is the one! All supplies are provided to make it easy for travelers. You'll return home with two surprising, personally meaningful and inspiring acrylic paintings - that can be rolled for travel, then stretched 24"x30" at home. Questions? Reply to this email and ask!
One day class - Acrylic on paper - Sat., May 28, 9:30 am-4:30 pm, Sedona Arts Center
Abstract painting is an inspired conversation. You speak to your painting through visualization, mark-making, and choice. Your painting speaks to you through its language of color harmony, spatial depth, composition, and integrity. Julie Bernstein Engelmann, an award-winning abstract artist, will guide you through this process to create meaningful and powerful abstracts.
If you want to find inspiration in the immediacy of the painting experience – if you want to learn to listen to the spirit of your painting – if it sounds like relief to let go of what you “think” you're doing in abstract painting and embrace the true, surprise gift that your painting has to offer you – then this workshop is for you. All materials included.
Information & registration
Remember, if you register for Inspired Abstracts before May 25, I'll spend some time with you discussing your recent artwork, if you bring pictures and would like feedback.
Abstraction can be rich and lush, filled with depth, drama and mystery. Julie Bernstein Engelmann's layering technique gives participants a powerful foundation for abstract painting and helps develop new freedom, combining luscious "happy accident" with expressive mark-making, intuition, and strong composition. All supplies provided.
Information & registration