Journeys to Abstraction Preview

Here’s a sneak preview from Sue St. John’s new book, Journeys to Abstraction. Read artist Lana Grow’s essay about her process on the image below.

I had a special memory in mind when I created this piece. We have a cabin up in northern Minnesota and often enjoy lovely sunsets there. I wanted to paint something that represented the awesome visual experience and the organic feast we always have at our cabin.

Sun to Earth Revealed • Mixed media on Fabriano Artistico hot-pressed paper • 30" × 22" (76cm × 56cm)

I began with Fabriano Artistico hot-pressed paper. I used a kitchen plate to draw the circle the size I wanted on a piece of medium-weight plastic for a stencil. I knew I would be eventually adding that plastic to my paint to get the texture I wanted in the yellow-gold area.

I began with wet paper and Golden fluid acrylic colors, randomly adding yellow, green, blues, purples and other colors. I allowed the first layer of transparent colors to dry. Then came the yellow circle with the plastic. I added the paint and laid down the plastic circle while it was wet, allowing it to partially dry. I couldn’t let it dry all the way, as it might stick. I then worked at layering some opaque colors. I dropped facial tissue on the surface to give the organic texture.

I decided on a cruciform design and brought in some layering to form leaves that would be dripping from the sun. This painting is all about organic texture shapes. It began to evolve and I looked for the shapes to tell me where to outline them.

My last step was to use my gold leaf Krylon Metallic pen. It seemed to tie all the shapes to read as one. I finished it up with a thin layer of Golden polymer medium thinned down with water. This gave the piece an even sheen. Then I sealed it with Golden UV varnish.


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