October 18th, 2023 | 35 mins 1 sec
abstraction, art, creativity, essence, interpreting work, rebecca crowell, style, visual ideas
We may think of abstract painting as exploring the visual elements and the process of painting strictly for their own sakes, but that’s only one kind of abstract work. Many abstract artists have a more personal approach, in which aspects of their lives, memories and experiences fuel their work. They want to feel a direct connection between their inner lives and what they create. But finding ways to interpret these personal sources in abstract terms is a big challenge. Without obvious subject matter, how can you express an experience, tell a personal story, or evoke a memory? Today we’ll talk about some approaches to abstraction when very personal expression is the goal.
July 1st, 2023 | 38 mins 24 secs
abstraction, art, brand, creativity, exhibits, realism, rebecca crowell, social media, style, voice
In the interest of having a consistent style, artists are generally advised to stick to one type of work --both in the studio and when exhibiting. But many artists are experimental, curious, and explore more than one direction—so this advice can seem too restrictive. In our last episode, we touched briefly on the idea that a range of the same artist’s work CAN be promoted effectively if done with consideration. If you have more than one direction you may have questions about how you can best present your work when exhibiting or in other situations, and today we will address those concerns.
April 23rd, 2023 | 36 mins 28 secs
abstraction, art, artist statements, creativity, explaining your work, personal relationships, rebecca crowell
Lots of people misunderstand abstract art and don’t respect it as a valid form of expression. We’ve all heard remarks that imply that abstract artists lack talent or skill or are trying to fool people into appreciating something that has no value. If you are an abstract artist, how do you deal with this attitude? Do you have family and friends who dismiss your work? Do you let negative remarks pass by or do you try to provide some background or insight into abstraction? Today we’ll explore why abstraction confounds many viewers and some ways you might provide some insight.
March 14th, 2023 | 41 mins 28 secs
abstraction, acrylic, art, creativity, experimentation, materials, mixed media, oil paint, rebecca crowell, water color
Each type of painting media that an abstract artist uses has specific qualities that make it suitable for certain approaches-- and less so for others. As part of your studio practice, it’s important to understand and work with the qualities of different media rather than trying to push against their nature. And it is also exciting to explore outside your typical media to see what each has to offer. Today we’ll look at several media used for abstract painting—oil, acrylic, encaustic, watercolor, and mixed media approaches and touch on the benefits and challenges of each.
October 29th, 2022 | 41 mins 19 secs
abstraction, art, artist residency, creativity, influences, lisbon, materials, place, portugal, rebecca crowell, travel
In today’s episode, Rebecca reflects on her recent 3 weeks of residency at the Obras Foundation in Portugal, and the challenges and rewards of this experience.
October 16th, 2022 | 33 mins 33 secs
abstraction, art, creativity, elements, less is more, minimalism, rebecca crowell
For some artists, bringing meaning to their abstract work is hard because they lack ideas, or direction, or a true sense of connection to the work. But for others the problem is the opposite. They have so many thoughts, feelings, and references they want to work with that they become overwhelmed and frustrated. Today we want to talk about the value of focus in your ideas for abstract work, and what happens when your they are too complex and create blocks in your expression.
July 10th, 2022 | 35 mins 11 secs
abstraction, art, communication, creativity, meaning, rebecca crowell
Abstract art --especially the kind that has no identifiable imagery-- may appear to have little meaning to the viewer beyond its purely visual appeal. Certainly, we can admire and respond to abstraction without needing a story or an explanation, as long as our eyes are intrigued or delighted, and that is an important way it can be appreciated. But in fact, ideas, emotions, and other points of reference lie behind even the most purely abstract work. Today we will consider the ideas that compel abstract artists and guide them in their work.
June 25th, 2022 | 37 mins 58 secs
abstraction, art, creativity, rebecca crowell, visual ideas
Abstract artists are known for getting ideas for their work everywhere. If you notice someone taking a photo of a crack in the sidewalk or staring at a piece of rusted metal, chances are good that’s an abstract artist at work, collecting ideas for lines and colors and textures. Even if we don’t depict objects realistically in our work, we are constantly observing the world around us. Today we are talking about the process of gathering and using visual ideas in creating abstract art.
October 31st, 2021 | 39 mins 46 secs
abstraction, art, book, cold wax academy, creativity, rebecca crowell, teaching, writing
A year ago, Rebecca and her teaching partner and co-author, Jerry McLaughlin embarked on a new project to meet the needs of artists during the time of Covid. With in-person workshops canceled, they turned to online teaching as a way to continue to offer instruction to artists interested in using cold wax medium and oils. Faced with this challenge of offering deep learning in a new format, Rebecca and Jerry developed a structured curriculum of online sessions for a worldwide audience of artists. Cold Wax Academy has evolved to be the leading online resource for mastery of both technical and artistic skills required for painting with cold wax medium.
October 23rd, 2021 | 33 mins 6 secs
abstraction, art, creativity, observation, realism, rebecca crowell, technique
It can seem sometimes like artists and art lovers fall into two camps—those that adamantly prefer abstraction, and those who feel the same way about realism. Of course, this is a very simplistic view of art --and the fact is that these two approaches meet and mingle in countless unique ways. But it can be demoralizing for an abstract artist to be dismissed out of hand as lacking seriousness and skill, and the same for the realist who may be criticized for lacking imagination or unique vision. In fact, all artists who have gained mastery at what they do have something to teach others.