While creating abstract art is a highly intuitive process that takes practice to master, there is a “method to the madness” for many artists. For Sally Cooper, the process is dynamic and physical as well as emotional and intellectual. Sally’s work is included in Abstract Overview, a new eMagazine that you can download here. Scroll down for an excerpt from her feature article, written by Judith Fairly.
From “Intuition, Impulse, Action” By Judith Fairly
Though Sally’s paintings are the extemporaneous result of her creative process, the process itself is consistent. “I place the colors on my palette–usually triadic colors (three hues, equally spaced on the color wheel), plus titanium white, zinc white, raw umber and black for tinting and shading the colors–mix a few together, grab a brush and follow intuitive promptings to apply a vigorously gestural, linear mark or big brushstroke that comes from deep within,” she says.
“The dance of marking and veiling begins. I step back about five or six feet and look at the painting until I feel an urge to adjust or paint over my previous work. As I continue this process, I enter a meditative state in which I lose all track of time and become one with the painting. I move a great deal of paint around the entire surface, and I step back every so often, studying, looking, moving, painting out, keeping some, veiling over, playing with the unknown and waiting for the unexpected to emerge. The surface is built, destroyed and erased again and again, creating a subtle and sensitive history of what has been. This play or dance continues until, from chaos, a painting evolves.”
Sally began using acrylic paint almost exclusively after an instructor suggested that the pigment in acrylic lends a painting more “punch” than watercolor. Since water-soluble acrylic paint was first made commercially available to artists in the 1950s, manufacturers such as Golden, Liquitex and Daler-Rowney have continuously tinkered with formulas that provide acrylics with an expanding array of properties and applications. Sally makes full use of the paint’s diversity.
“I work in a variety of watermedia–watercolor, acrylic (both fluid and heavy-bodied), polymer mediums and gesso,” says Sally. “What appeals to me about acrylic is its broad range of possibilities. It allows me to make impulsive changes in my work. Acrylics dry quickly, but you can add a retarder to slow the drying process. You can create beautiful glazes by thinning the paint or create impasto by using heavy gels. You can use open (slow-drying) acrylics and spritz the painting with water to reopen the paints and continue painting. You can add an unlocking formula and continue your painting process the next day. The possibilities seem to be endless.” ~J.F.
Continue reading this article on the abstract art of Sally Cooper in this new eMagazine from Acrylic Artist. In Abstract Overview you’ll also score two painting exercises from Dean Nimmer, take in a feature article on the work of Denise Athanas and discover how to use the seven elements of design.