Abstract Painting Inspiration

One of my favorite popular New York Abstract Artists is Amy Sillman. I am always amazed with her color harmonies and her eye for shape making. Her current paintings are what I have been studying lately, and so I made a few small scale studies of some of her works to help get a better understanding of her thinking process. She mostly uses oil paint but instead I was using acrylic because it dries faster.


None of these studies were direct copies of any specific paintings but I was basically practicing forming similar compositions and mark makings. She has inspired me with her paintings because they are so carefree yet also carefully thought through. She allows the viewer to feel this connection with her paintings through her decision making. Many of her paintings are left with visible color changes, raw lines, and adjusted compositions. I thought it would be nice to incorporate these things in my next painting. Studying an artist’s work helps to give me a sense of things I’d like to see in my own paintings.

I recently have been working on a much larger scale painting utilizing what I have taken so far from studying Sillman’s recent work. It is still a work in progress, so I have many more things in mind to make this work better. This style of painting is so much fun! It is interesting to begin the painting based on shapes and lines because then you have the ability to manipulate them to make them work the way you want. I love the constant battle between the color of the shapes and the composition of the shapes. Once you change one color it can alter another shape or color somewhere else. I really like thinking about relationships between the colors and their shapes because I feel like I am interacting with the painting. I have heard people refer to this as having a conversation with your painting and I have to say that is spot on. I am constantly asking myself “what does it need?” or “what needs to be changed?” and then I feel like the painting itself is what responds to those questions.

I enjoy hearing people’s thoughts on my paintings after I have worked on them for too long. I sometimes find myself becoming to attached to a color, line, or shape that may not be necessary to my painting without realizing it. Even someone suggesting “hey maybe it would look better if you flipped it” gives you something to think about. I am always open for conversation about my work. Feel free to comment below with any of your thoughts!


Sketchbook Drawing of the Week:



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