Life Lessons

"Figuring out our gifts in life is part of our journey to becoming enlightened human beings.” – Allison DuBois

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Abstraction & Jazz

Song - Take Five by Dave Brubeck

Earlier this week I took a workshop in Orinda from Sandy Ostrau. She is an incredible artist from Palo Alto. 

Sandy painting a figure

As I seem to have hit a plateau with my painting and I needed to shake things up a little.

So I have been thinking lately that I would like to paint a little more abstractly and more impressionistically instead of being so "fussy".  You know the fussy thing I mean? It's when you paint everything down to the last minutiae so the viewer doesn't need to think about much.

Sandy's landscape demo

But when you paint more abstractly, the viewer knows it's a landscape or a figure but it is done in such rich colors and lovely form that the viewer becomes a participant.

One of my favorite figuratives of Sandy's done from the rendering below

Pretty amazing, huh?

Sandy had asked us to bring along several painted canvases that we would then paint over. I have lots of those!!!

Unfortunately, I don't have a "before" photo to share but trust me.....this was rendered fairly realistically but just didn't knock my socks off. But now it sings....not like Sandy's but was my first attempt!

So at lunch we got to talking about how a lot of people just don't "get it", meaning abstract work.  People walk by and say "Oh my kid could do that!"  But amazingly it is difficult to break down all of the components into large, strong shapes!

I compared it to Jazz.  There is the kind of jazz that is melodic and you kind of know what's coming next.  But there are other kinds that I have trouble following.  I think abstract painting is kind of like that.  Some abstracts will blow your mind because you can't seem to get it (and maybe you are not supposed to!) and others you can follow and recognize as a landscape or a figure.  Somehow that feels a little more settling to me. 

Love this one of Sandy's as well!

It was a great workshop and I actually had fun playing with my paint!

Please check out Sandy's work here -

 "Ah, swing, well, we used to call it syncopation, then they called it ragtime, then blues, then jazz.  Now, it's swing.  White folks - you'all sho is a mess!"  --Louis Armstrong talking with Bing Crosby

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