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.

I want to receive the newsletter

* indicates required

Want to know more?

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

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?

If you like my art and are interested to get all news about latest artworks sign up for my newsletter. You will be informed about exhibitions I participate. In addition get in time announcements for special offers. Relax with information about art which will be in your mailbox once or twice a month. I would be happy to be in touch with you! Learn more here!

Have a look at the website:
www.artgoppellandhampel.com

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

How to feel part of the community while staying at home!

If you are love the feeling of being part of a community, part of a team, part of a group that shares same values or goals, how do you maintain it in this special times of physical distance? I want to introduce you to newly developed ideas that got me excited and of which I want to be part off.

It is great to see how much creativity is burstig out in face of the complete interruption of our daily routines!

I found in Instagram an idea that I am going to share and will share with you! Its an Artist support Artist Initiative! I don’t remember that I ever have seen this! What’s the idea behind it?

In short: Artist offer artwork for not higher than 200 € in Instagram and Facebook. When they have gained 1000 € they will by an artwork from a fellow artist in this initiative. So this would be a 20% donation. I will post paintings in this or under this range and decided to buy an artwork from a fellow artist, when I have earned 500 €. So keep your fingers crossed that my action will bring success! You can help, of course if you ever have been thinking to become a collector!

So far this two paintings on paper have been released on Instagram and Facebook

I will be offering more soon. These are my candidates:

And here is your job for today!

Be careful, my husband is already hooked on puzzleing!

Click onto the painting! This is not an easy one! My husband got already hooked on it!

2018GL03 Pink house at the fjord

I hope you have had some interesting minutes while reading this – or hours, while doing the puzzles. Let me know! Curious how you think about it!

What does an artist do in quarantine??

We have the motto “Stay home – flatten the curve”, we have the time of “Social distance” , time of shut down of useful and/or entertaining events in the outside world. I am very happy the Spanish government took a hard decision and I do hope that it was taken in time and will succeed saving many lives!!!

News from an artist in a closed down country

Here in Spain, where my husband and I spend the winter time, its a very severe close down. To leave the house is only allowed for: shopping food and medicine, medical appointments, going to work or other urgent and to be proofed matters. Allowed only one person in the car, only one person going out with the dog. Not allowed to use the fitness room in the urbanisation. We have high fines when not respecting the rules and there is quite some police outside to check. So it is a very serious “Stay at home”. After our first not yet fulfilled two weeks, we got prolonged house arrest; Stay at home till 12th of April.

How is your situation? How do you make the best of your of your time in the house?

If you aren’t busy in entertaining children, that have to stay home ( which will keep you very busy) but with grown up family or all alone, wouldn’t it be a chance to have all that time at hand to try something new?
There is so much new to do in the house!!!!
Internet courses can be something new: The internet is a great resource for so many things. You can learn practically everything when you go to You Tube. You can make photo books, which you always had in mind, you can visit the metropolitan opera (who offers everyday one opera for free to watch in the internet!), you can start reading all the books you didn’t read, join a library online, visit a museum (most of the known museums now offer virtual walks through their exhibition) you can clean out the house or finishing to knit all the pieces you started ( I think I have 4 waiting for me :-). Its also a great time for cooking and baking and much much more. From friends in Italy and here in Spain I hear they cleared out their wardrobe, painted the apartemente, cleaned the kitchen in depth, took perfect care for their garden and more. 

Art could teach you something !!!


I focus more on the pleasant side of this time:

I made a list……what is your list?
Clearing out the wardrobe or doing a daily yoga practice were on my list, but I concentrate on other things in the moment. I want to go for the most attractive things I always wanted to do but didn’t find the time to do.

I am taking this “Time out” as an opportunity to change the speed of living and working, to sleep and play a lot. For me its a great opportunity to “walk slowly”. Can you share your list with us?
My list for the “Stay home and flatten the curve” time is:

  • I decided to experiment with painting – do things, I normally don’t do. I work on paper, I try new styles, I experiment, I copy artists I like and want to learn from – to have great fun and not head for achievements. 
  • I sleep long
  • I booked an online Spanish grammar workshop
  • I take a lot of time for social media without feeling wasting my time
  • I try new recipes – I love to eat but never really take the time to cook with attention
  • and with my fellow artists from Costa del Arte Collective I think about new ways to present our planned exhibition “Sun and Shade / Sol y Sombra” which is planned for April and we are not at all sure that it may happen … 27.03.2020 Now we know: it will not happen in April!!! We postponed it to October. If you want to be informed, let me know!

I am quite happy at the moment, but….

I enjoy to have time, nearly no duties and the opportunity to (re) discover my own rhythm there is an interesting BUT in self discovery: my own little devil. Most enjoyable, I am getting lazier and lazier….I can feel the stress that I was having in the last months slowly falling off. Becoming lazy for me is a good sign – at least I know it is.

Can you stand the feeling of being lazy, not achieving something? Let me tell you, it is a healthy sign. And you see, I am an achievement – addict. That’s why I thought of a method of painting that would give me a different and not achievement oriented go. We are only on day 4, so we will see how it goes….

Did you ever work with handmade brushes? Read a review here!

My fellow artist from Costa del Arte Collective, Sally Hirst, who is not only a painter and printmaker and leader of many workshops, is also a great explorer of art materials.

Here I share her exploration of hand made brushes. When you go to her website you will find a lot more of interesting insights in her „Modus operandi“ for her art. Worth to have a look!

Sally Hirsts Review of Elizabeth Schowachert’s brushes for Cold Wax Medium

As a painter using oil and cold wax medium I am always in the search for tools that create interesting marks and textures. It is important to me to …

Review of Elizabeth Schowachert’s brushes for Cold Wax Medium

Tap here to read Sallys Review: