"Night Flora"

 

Several months ago I started a new group of abstract floral paintings.  After posting a couple of my first Flora explorations on Instagram (@christinesauerstudio) several months ago, Mary Beth Shaw from StencilGirl contacted me for a post.  I’m so appreciative of being featured there!  I really enjoy working with the very creative designs from Stencil Girl stencils.  Here’s a bit of the process.

The lush and abundant flora of New Orleans inspires me.  I love photographing my garden and the floral streetscapes in my neighborhood, even at night when colors and forms take on a mysterious and luminous quality.  Photos are used for inspiration though I work primarily from imagination and through exploration of paint and other materials.  Part of the process when starting new work is to explore a variety of approaches on a small scale.  Creating rich, varied and textured surfaces is a big part of what I love to do.  GOLDEN’s Glass Bead Gel is one of my favorite mediums and I keep finding new ways to incorporate it into my work.

©Christine Sauer, “Night Flora” in process, 10x8”, acrylic on canvas board

©Christine Sauer, “Night Flora” in process, 10x8”, acrylic on canvas board

For this exploration, a repurposed, experimental canvas board that already had paint and texture on it was used.  A rigid surface such as a panel or cradled panel would also work well.  The process started by pouring a variety GOLDEN High Flow acrylics in a freeform manner onto the surface.  I spritzed the paint lightly with H2O to help the colors merge and flow into each other.

©Christine Sauer,  10x8" Repurposed Canvas Board

©Christine Sauer,  10x8" Repurposed Canvas Board

GOLDEN High Flow colors used for pouring include Anthraquinone Blue, Iridescent Copper, Permanent Violet, and a mix of Green Gold with Hansa Yellow Light.

GOLDEN High Flow colors used for pouring include Anthraquinone Blue, Iridescent Copper, Permanent Violet, and a mix of Green Gold with Hansa Yellow Light.

 1)      Let this dry over night before doing the next stage.  Because the colors merge in unpredictable ways, it‘s always fun to see how the pour has developed overnight!

©Christine Sauer,   GOLDEN Glass Bead Gel applied through stencil

©Christine Sauer,   GOLDEN Glass Bead Gel applied through stencil

2)      The next layer is GOLDEN Glass Bead Gel applied with a palette knife through stencils.  Maria McGuire’s “Ripple” stencil, shown here, and “Floral 2” by Traci Bautista were used in small sections and turned different directions to create an organic, abstract design with a sense of movement.  I love the gritty texture of the Bead Gel as a contrast to the smoother poured paint. Let dry approximately 4 hours or until it has dried clear before adding paint on top of the Bead Gel. TIP:  Carefully lift stencil.  Use a small color shaper to clean up between spaces if needed to keep shapes clean edged.

©Christine Sauer, (above) Wet Glass Bead Gel design (below) Dried Glass Bead Gel.  Fluid Acrylic colors painted on top of dried Glass Bead Gel.

©Christine Sauer, (above) Wet Glass Bead Gel design (below) Dried Glass Bead Gel.  Fluid Acrylic colors painted on top of dried Glass Bead Gel.

3)      All colors were mixed with Iridescent Pearl to create sheer, luminous color and to provide high contrast to colors below. A small Filbert brush was perfect for the job. Sometimes it’s hard to see the dried Bead Gel Shapes.  I used the photo of the wet Bead Gel as a reference. TIP:  Iridescent paint dries quickly.  Spritz your palette with a little H2O periodically while painting.

©Christine Sauer   10x8", acrylic on canvas board, completed layer of Iridescent colors.

©Christine Sauer   10x8", acrylic on canvas board, completed layer of Iridescent colors.

The above piece is still a work in progress and will still get some tweaks.  Below is another iteration of this process.  They have even more texture than the above piece.  For these I created a painted tissue layer first.  Then a dark glaze layer was added that allowed for the tissue colors to show through a bit prior to adding the Glass Bead Gel flora.

©Christine Sauer, “Night Flora” explorations- (above) 10x8”, acrylic, mixed media on canvas board (below) work in process, 8x8” acrylic, mixed media on cradled panel,

©Christine Sauer, “Night Flora” explorations- (above) 10x8”, acrylic, mixed media on canvas board (below) work in process, 8x8” acrylic, mixed media on cradled panel,

Painting Process: Keeping it Fresh and Lively

My paintings emerge out of an enjoyment of the painting process. Intuitive and improvisational, the process is a journey and the end point is always a surprise.  It usually begins by applying color and arranging paper, fabric or paint skins out of my collage stash in a freewheeling manner. Or sometimes I create a textured surface using various acrylic pastes or gels before adding the first layers of color and other materials. The unexpected, serendipitous magic that happens when working this way is what excites me as an artist and gives the work its potency.  

 Christine Sauer, " Marvels and Mysteries IV" 20x16" acrylic and mixed media on canvas   Final layers being added to this work in process.  "To pour or not to pour?"  It's important to stay brave since choices seem riskier toward the end of the process.

 Christine Sauer, " Marvels and Mysteries IV" 20x16" acrylic and mixed media on canvas   Final layers being added to this work in process.  "To pour or not to pour?"  It's important to stay brave since choices seem riskier toward the end of the process.

The images surface through the process.  Sometimes the initial layer is engaging, spontaneous and feels like a complete visual statement so it becomes a keeper.  Some paintings need more attention.  Layers of paint are added from thick impasto to dripped, scraped, and thinly glazed passages that conceal or reveal the initial layers. Complex, lively surfaces are created where vibrant color and lush texture coalesce to engage the viewer to take an up-close look to discover visual surprises.   Mark making includes loose and painterly brushwork, dripped paint, scribbled drawing, freeform printing, stenciled application and more.

©ChristineSauer, Details from paintings from the Collections on this site.

©ChristineSauer, Details from paintings from the Collections on this site.

Exploring multiple approaches to painting energizes the process for me, keeping things fresh and interesting.  I am a perpetual student, always learning and experimenting.  In the studio, there are often several works in process going on simultaneously.  They are not always from the same series or groups. The process is a spiral with exciting tangents developing along the way.  Eventually common threads emerge between artworks and they become a loosely connected collection as presented on this website.

©Christine Sauer, During painting sessions I always offload the leftover paint on my brushes and tools from the main project unto additional surfaces such as paper,  raw canvas, and fabric.   This often yields interesting materials for collage or sometimes they become artworks on their own. 

©Christine Sauer, During painting sessions I always offload the leftover paint on my brushes and tools from the main project unto additional surfaces such as paper,  raw canvas, and fabric.   This often yields interesting materials for collage or sometimes they become artworks on their own. 

Launching the "Earthy Collection"

I'm excited to be launching the the "Earthy" Collection on the blog this month with special introductory pricing (see below).  I grew up in a rural area in upstate New York and spent a lot of time outdoors.  Nature and landscape have always fascinated me so it seems natural that those elements would percolate up in my work though not in a literal way.   These abstract, mixed media collages on paper have a palette of earthy hues and rich surfaces.  The artworks evolved intuitively from arrangements of paper and fabric, drawn from my extensive stash, that were layered with acrylic paint and sometimes with machine stitching.   As the pieces developed they suggested inviting imaginary landscapes, gardens and other elements from the natural world.  

Many of the collages were monoprinted using Gelli Plates with acrylic paint.  This created surprising and unexpected textures and colors. Using a sewing machine as a drawing tool, several collages were also stitched with heavy thread. The resulting line work visually reinforced the overall designs and added a geometric counterpoint to the organic textures.  The collages are dressed up in natural wood frames.  They are also available unframed.  

Earthy Collection
CSauer-PathwayI Stitched