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Abstract Landscape - revisited and finished

Stephen Lursen abstract landscape stephen lursen

I graduated from Grad School in May of 2012 with my M.F.A. which meant that for the first time in 3 years I was free to paint as an artist without the pressure of obligatory defense.  Don't get me wrong, now that over a year has passed, I would enjoy going to a critique discussing art. It's just that in June of 2012 All I had ever known as an artist, was synchronized with being a student for... (let's see, K-12, then 4.5 years of undergrad, then 3 years of grad school...) a long time.

So the very first painting I made as a free man (from school) was this painting:

I used oil paint and painted for 2 days on and off until I felt I was finished.  I painted this while inspired by Brian Rutenberg's many catalog images/prints were scattered across my desk.  Late in 2012 I ended up finishing a large oil painting commission and delivered it. Soon after, I was approached by a representative from my former middle school who was requesting art supplies for their art club.  I chose to donate 100% of my oil painting supplies because I didn't know how long it would be until I wanted/needed oil paints again.  As a result, I haven't made any oil paintings since.

And yet this painting still leaned against the wall calling out to be updated.  For months I have wanted to work on this painting, but all I have are watercolors and acrylics, neither of which can be used to paint over an oil painting. Oil paint can go over everything, but water based art supplies won't stick to it.

Then it hit me! I could use oil pastels! They are very different than paints, oil paint dries over time to a hard waterproof surface but oil pastels never dry, they remain sticky and workable forever. but that was all I had access to, so I took the plunge. 

This morning I set up my studio outside on the back patio:

I work at Donna Downey Studios and in the studio we have 2 large books on Wolf Kahn's pastel paintings.  Since I see these regularly, his high energy, textural, mark making was on my mind.  I started with the warm area of the painting feverishly swiping the pastel across the surface.  The painting has so much thick texture already that is made it hard to produce any long lines.

Once I came to this point I thought the top and bottom were too disjointed. I continued working, trading one color out for another, usually working in color families before moving to a higher contrast option. For me it is all about color. I wanted energy, small bits of color contrasting the larger areas of color beneath them. I added the diagonal lines of blues to help with the composition. 

Eventually, satisfied: 

I thought about my options for storing for this painting. I intend on selling it once I have a buyer... But what to do with it until then?... I've got it! (we'll see what my wife has to say about it when she gets home. Hahaha!)

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  • Pauline Zorzos on

    I came across this by accident (or was it).. There are no accidents. Your history, in many ways mirrored my own path.
    I could go on and on with many accolades. I’ll leave it for now. Looking forward to seeing some of your other works.

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