How to start a new painting

How to start a new painting?

The other day a friend visited me to have a talk and some demonstrations for painting. My friend loves art and wants to give it a try for herself. She has seen a lot and has a taste for art. But she has nearly no experience with using a brush. One of her questions was: How do you start a new panting?
Actually a good question and a difficult answer.

How to jump on a white canvas?

Starting a new painting is always somehow exiting – at least for me. I never know where this journey will lead me to – and seldom I make plans which I then will not follow. In the end my start is always fed by the impulse of the moment. The most I have in mind is a color direction. Maybe there is even a theme deep back in my more unconscious brain.

There are many ways to start. I paint it black – literally. Or I take another color. I use up the colors of my palette to make bold marks. I see something and paint it with black marker onto the canvas – knowing it will take some effort to get rid of it again. But that’s what I do it for. I create a lot of ground layers and challenges that will force me to leave my habits.

Warming up

My head has been occupied lately by a lot of technical stuff. I find it difficult to switch back into the realm of creativity. Today finally I got the hang of it. I jumped over my cautious voice in my head that whispered “better start with a smaller canvas” and took the largest canvas available in my collection here in the studio.

How do you manage to come back to painting after a longer brake?

My helper on the way away from reorganizing my website since weeks back to my colors was this week a teaser course called “Find your joy” (in painting) by Louise Fletcher. She is a wonderful teacher and calls herself a messy painter – something I feel very related to.

The last exercise of this week she offered was a reduction in the use of color and movements but a diversity in using different tools. I did this on paper – nice warming up exercise.

Doing this exercise with the small paintings was a good start into the day. It helped me, not to postpone my the beginning of a new painting to another day. Suddenly this little exercise opened up a new the road to “how to start a new painting on a larger canvas”. So again, a surprise for myself about how I start a painting.

Image starting a new painting
Starting a new painting 5

This is where the canvas is now. I wouldn’t call it a painting. But: this is something as there is something. First steps are done. We will see where it goes from here, everything is possible!


If you want to follow up my steps and jumps in my artist life, you might like to join my newsletter list. Once or twice a month you will find in your mailbox a comprehensive update and overview about my artist journey, new works, about exhibitions I am planning to participate, exhibitions I think, that they are worth a visit and special offers I make time by time to my newsletter readers.

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You are interested to read more about my starting experiences? About my beginnings with painting? Here in “how to start an abstract painting” you find more detailed answers about my artist journey.

Visit my website to get more information
www.artgoppellandhampel.com

If you want to find your joy in painting, there is an opportunity coming up!

Louise Fletcher starts a new “Find your joy” course end of this month (June 2020). It last 10 weeks and I am pretty sure it is worth the time and the money. If you want to learn more about it, you find the information by clicking “Find your joy”.

A large painting as work in progress

A place to go to in Málaga! Juan F. Lacomba at the CAC Málaga

A place to go to in Málaga!
Juan Lacomba at the CAC Málaga

This was my very first visit to a museum since February this year, when I went to see the exhibition in the Museum Jorge Rondo, a secret tip for Málaga and definitely another place to go to in Málaga!

The CAC MÁLAGA is a temple for contemporary art. It has its home in a spacious and “clean” white building. Mostly three exhibitions are running at the same time. We visited the incredible show “Lacomba. Aqui a lo lejos”.

Having all the art for us alone!

For me stepping into a museum is like entering another realm. For me its a place of contemplation and joy. After a short fever measuring and putting our masks we were allowed to visit this great “free of charge” museum. Setting my feet into this temple of culture after long months of cultural starving was an incredible feeling. Seeing the paintings of Lacomba so wonderful set in this great environment was sheer joy. The more as it was a very specific Corona experience: we were the only visitors to have all this art for us – well watched by the personell of the museum. From this experience I can say: a museum is definitely a place to go in Málaga or elsewhere in these times. Maybe better to avoid the weekend.

Paintings of Lacomba in the CAC Málaga

The show features the Sevillian artist Lacomba. “Here in the Distance, curated by Fernando Francés, reveals the artist’s fascination with the landscape of Doñana and its marsh from the mid-1990s to the present day. The show surveys the last three decades of his artistic career through 179 small and large-format canvases, including several works that have never been exhibited until now. Here in the Distance conveys the artist’s engagement with and immersion in nature, seeking beauty and mystery with the aim of establishing an intimate rapport with viewers.” (Quote from the CAC website).

I haven’t been yet to the landscape of Doñana, which is a nature park with a lot of water and marsh land. But I spend my holiday some times in a place in New Hampshire where I also find wild landscape and a lot of water and millions of little animals and flowers, plants and insects to be observed. The paintings immensely reminded me of my experience in those holidays when I visited this wonderful woodland!

An impressing nature experience

Looking at one painting shows that they seem to be very simple. In combination with others it is a great feeling, like looking in a water landscape and seeing thousand little things. The color experience as well is fascinating.

Looking at this painting really gives the experience you have, when you look on to a reflecting, flickering water surface. But really elated I was by the views of these assemblies:

Enjoy a bit of the exhibition with this short video:

Really a place to go in Málaga! It will be open till 30th of August. I surely will go another time and have a look at my Photos from the Woodland in between. Maybe there will something occur in my art again?!

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The chance to see my next exhibition will be in Marbella on the FestiArte from 30.07 – 02.08.2020! Stay tuned to get detailed information! When you are in the area I would be very happy to welcome you. You find intime information in my newsletter.

A place to go in in Málaga!
Juan Lacomba at the CAC Málaga!

If you happen to be in Marbella or Málaga, don’t miss these exhibitions

If you happen to be in Marbella or Málaga, don’t miss…

Dieter Nuhr in Reiners Contemporary Art Marbella

If you happen to be in Marbella or Málaga, don’t miss these exhibitions. In Marbella there are two gallery shows I am interested in and I would like to recommend. Both galleries – run by knowledgeable, charming gallerists –  present new shows in June/July. I visited the presentation of Dieter Nuhr’s large-format painterly photographs – in the “new normal” style- masks obligatory – at Gallery Reiners Contemporary Art.  The gallerist Flor Reiners offers visits by appointment ( phone 628374676) , Email: flor@reinerscontemporaryart.com
Thanks to Gabriela Berner, journalist of the German SUR I can show you here her article on the opening of the show of Dieter Nuhr!

Here is a little sneak prewiew into some photos to be seen. Due to the “New normal” and the fact that this was the first time after months to put a feet into a temple of art and on top to get to know a new gallery, I forgot t take photos. Two of the paintings you can see in the exposition in Marbella and more of these great works. I added two paintings from other exhibitions to demonstrate the size of this wonderful painterly photos that tell stories of Dieter Nuhrs travels worldwide. They guide our view on walls that show many layers and have seen many events and many years pass by. The work of time.

The exhibition will be open till 6th of July. It is open by appointment for 6 persons with masks. (Flor Reiners; 62803740674) or flor@reinerscontemporaryart.com

Read here (in German) the article about the exhibition of Dieter Nuhr in Reiners Cotemporary Art Gallery. Many thanks to Gabriela Berner, a journalist of the German SUR, for letting us read her article on this page and providing me with two images!

If you happen to be in Marbella and are interested in art and art exhibitions, you might be interested in joining my newsletter. Next time I will write about an exhibition, which I haven`t visited yet but hopefully will see next week. The exhibition promises to be interesting. The gallery Isolina Arbulu, Marbella, presents Gala Fernandez Montero – Organic Geometry. It will open tomorrow , 12th of June, by private invitation.

If you happen to be in Málaga, you might be interested in this very beautiful exhibition:

THE CAC MÁLAGA PRESENTS JUAN F. LACOMBA IN HIS MOST IMPORTANT EXHIBITION TO DATE

The Centro de Arte Contemporáneo of Málaga presents a retrospective featuring the work of Sevillian artist Juan F. Lacomba. Here in the Distance, curated by Fernando Francés, reveals the artist’s fascination with the landscape of Doñana and its marsh from the mid-1990s to the present day. The show surveys the last three decades of his artistic career through 179 small and large-format canvases, including several works that have never been exhibited until now. Here in the Distance conveys the artist’s engagement with and immersion in nature, seeking beauty and mystery with the aim of establishing an intimate rapport with viewers.” ( Quote from the webside of CAC Málaga).

I will write about the exhibition in one of my next posts.
If you want to be informed about news about my art, exhibitions I am participating in, intersting exhibitions to visit and much more, please subscribe to my newsletter. One or twice a month you will get all this information into your mailbox.

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………” I absolutely enjoyed Gerrit’s “ Update on an artists life”, my goodness she’s a talented lady,  her art work is excellent, and her writing so fluid and exciting. Her narrative is so inviting so creative you really warm to the person.  She creates a wonderful picture of the exit from “ lockdown “ in Spain. Your  masterpiece is beautiful, the colours, shapes so vibrant.”

A client forwarded my newsletter to a friend.That’s what the friend said:

If you happen to be in Málaga or Marbella, you might love to see this special museum in Málaga, you find a tip here:

or know more about the

Gallery of Isolina Arbulu

have a look here: “Beyond the Horizon”, which was a beautiful show of two artists, a photographer and a sculptress.

sculptures with view on photos Galeria Isolina Arbulu

See more about my art here: www.artgoppellandhampel.com

How to start an abstract painting


An artist friend asked me the other day: How do you start an abstract painting? I didn’t give her an answer yet. Now here is a series of photos that may tell a part of the story. But it is the story of these particular works. It may be quite different with other paintings I do or how others artists design their process. There are so many ways to start a new painting. Not all ways are invented by now.

How do I start an abstract painting?

When I was starting my painters journey about 20 years ago – after some very few lessons in working figurative – I was so lucky to visit a painting workshop by an Austrian artist. Her name was Fria Elften-Frenken. She lived in a beautiful kind of farmhouse on the Neusiedler Lake. She had studied in the academy of fine arts, Vienna and was well known. One of her remembered sentences was: “It took years to forget about what I learned and to start doing my own art.” Consequently she would provide us with materials but not with lessons and ideas. She was always ready to consult when we were stuck. But we had to find our own way.

I am lucky that I had this kind of start. That was what I was looking for in art. It is this kind of freedom. It allows you to do what you want. In a way, there is no right and wrong. If it is appreciated by others is a second questions. Art is a lot about expressing yourself. Of course there are many of things to be learned. About ways you can take, materials you can use and thousand other things. But what you do, how you get there and what result comes out of it, that is your own art.

At the beginning another sentence was in my head about something artists experience: “the angst of the white canvas”. I don’t know where I had heard it and why it stuck in my head. But influenced the steps I took. My very first act in that lovely farmhouse garden was „to paint it black“. No more angst of white canvas that might have ask for perfection. From this move I learned a lot!

70 way – no, some ways – to start an abstract painting

One beginning is to start with paint that has been left over from another painting. I turn the painting, to change perspective and to build a new harmony from another angel. This helps me to open up my view and to leave ideas that occur too early. I make a photo to see it from a greater distance, to see what is strong and what is weak. Sometimes I take a larger brush and some paint and close my eyes before I make a bold movement. This way new discussion point is evolving. Something new has to be handled. A new crossing on my way to somewhere.

What really matters at the beginning

Now I use many different ways to start a painting. However most important for me at the start is to do what ever my body and my intuition is telling me. Brain is stopped, judging is stopped, its just acting out what comes to me. With my black canvas I learned that everything is possible. You can turn a black canvas back to a white one. Nearly every mistake will be forgiven and can be a starting point for a new fascinating move.

As an example the featured three paintings are rather “straight forward” . Others undergo much more dramatic transformation. Look here to find out how that looks like: Wonder of transformation – from old to new!

When to finish an abstract painting ?

Great question, not only mine: how do I know that an abstract painting is finished. That’s another question to reflect about. But not today!

I hope you liked the little insight into my painting practice! Would be lovely to get some feedback!

Now after all see here the rather full process of the development of a painting. For large paintings like this one (160×140 cm) I like to build the frame myself and prepare all the steps. It feels like I am already building a relationship with the painting to come. My energy and my attention is already familiar with the canvas. There is a lot of magic in painting. What is your experience?

Want to learn more?

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This is a new start. I wonder what comes next! Find out and stay tuned!