Learning Abstract Painting

Painting exercise 3I had long admired the work of artist Lisa Ochowycz and got a glimpse of her process at an Opus artist demo a couple of years ago. I was intrigued both for her style of painting and how she prepared for her work. When I heard that she was offering classes this year, I jumped on the chance to learn abstract painting from her.

This was the art class that I had always wanted but never had until now. Small numbers meant lots of attention and feedback, which I often craved for in larger art classes. Not only that, but she was able to tailor the class with exercises and discussion specific to my needs over 6 sessions. The photos included in this post are some of the exercises that I worked on in class.

Painting is such an intuitive and internal process. I just paint from habit without really noticing the chain of decision-making that goes into it. So it was a great learning for me to reflect on this process and express how I wanted to “stretch” my painting. As I normally I use a lot of collage and found objects in my work, I decided to use the class to find out what I could do if I just used paint.

Painting Class Exercise 4

It was not easy. In doing painting exercises that differed from my usual painting process, I noticed that it felt a bit odd. I forgot that learning something new is supposed to be a little uncomfortable which is normal!

It was a reminder for me to have a little more patience. I needed to allow myself the space to make mistakes or make “mud” so that I could “stretch” the way I wanted to.

Although it was hard, I noticed that I started to develop a greater sensitivity to mixing and applying paint. It was like my painting sense had heightened to accommodate the collage sense that was missing.

Of course by the last session, I didn’t want it to end. All the learning I gained from previous sessions triggered me to have even more questions for discussion. Looking back on the exercises, I didn’t know that I could paint what I painted until I did it.

If you want to try painting or to figure out how to push your painting further, I recommend a class with Lisa. You can check out her upcoming classes and schedule under the news tab on her website. I am so excited to have more tools in my painting toolbox and that I feel more confident in my painting practice. Thanks Lisa!


Painting exercise in progress 5

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