Clean wintery abstracts

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I came across this painting by Michelle Ross on the Oregon College of Art and Craft Library blog. It reminds me of everything I love about abstract painting, but haven’t been able to achieve yet in my own paintings. Clean, deceptively-simple composition gives the eye a resting place and subtly engages my mind.

A few years ago I saw one of Gordon Smith’s paintings at the Vancouver Art Gallery from around 1960 (perhaps Snowscape #1 or Winter, pictured above. Something about it enchanted me and I went back a couple times just to look at it again. The feeling of looking down on a tiny village on the blizzardy Canadian landscape.I get a similar intrinsically Canadian feeling when driving home along the brimming Fraser River at dusk, and I see the three distinctive lights of a train approaching me head-on along the foreground of a mountainous backdrop. It makes me feel somehow lonely yet proud and possibly willing to spend the $32,000 needed to acquire the original painting.

Smith’s painting subconsciously inspired my own abstract farm painting that I’m working on now, which is an abstract aerial view of our family farm. As Smith said, (via Ian Thom via “‘Painting should be a re-creation of an experience rather than an illustration of an experience.'”

Another time I borrowed some hefty art books from the Vancouver Public Library…the work of Italian abstract painter and sculptor Alberto Burri intrigued me. He was fascinated by melting plastic, tar, and burlap. His large scale works fill eleven old tobacco barns in his birth city.

I love the composition of this picture by Franz Kline. On the art history blog, History Sticks to your Feet, Morgan Mannino describes it well: “…Suddenly my boredom with Kline’s geometric, black and white shapes vanished. I could see the layers and layers of time. The vibrant paint underneath, whispering from the application of white on top, aggravating the thick, expressive black lines. Although small, this painting had a presence of its own. I could see his touch on the surface.”

Feeling quite sick these last couple weeks, I haven’t been up to any painting so I wanted to gather a little bit of inspiration from past painters. I hope some of you will find them inspiring too!

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