LAURA JOHNSTON

•••••• artist ••••••

New 5x5 Paintings & Talk of Guts

Painting, Creative Process, ArtworkLaura Johnston1 Comment

These past couple of weeks have been non-stop, but when I have the urge to paint it is so hard to resist, no matter what else is going on. I've had these small canvases for years and decided to pick one up and give painting over it a go, which sometimes seems so difficult (rather than working from a blank slate) but lately has been working out quite well.

Two new paintings (left) with three unfinished paintings from 2008-2009 (right).

Two new paintings (left) with three unfinished paintings from 2008-2009 (right).

I didn't photograph what was previously on the two square canvases before I painted over them because I really didn't think about it, but figured I could go ahead and photograph the three remaining small canvases I have so I can share a before & after. I haven't touch the three 4x6 canvases to the right yet, so those are still in their previous state from 2008 - 2009 sometime. I remember feeling discouraged when I tried painting them at the time. It's always neat to see years of progress side-by-side.

Working small didn't come especially easily these past couple of weeks. This was my first time trying a small size for acrylic abstracts since I painted these exact canvases several years ago! I think my favorite size to work in is between 12-24 inches. This was a fun (little) challenge, though, and felt easier to tackle while simultaneously working on a million other things throughout the week than a larger painting which also means a larger mess in the studio. :P

Make shift palette and palette knives? I've never used an actual palette knife, but I love using any ol' thing I can get my hands on around the studio and imagine that's what they are most similar to.

Make shift palette and palette knives? I've never used an actual palette knife, but I love using any ol' thing I can get my hands on around the studio and imagine that's what they are most similar to.

In my last post I mentioned being in an awkward growth spurt and feeling like I want to be more bold and take bigger risks in my work. I was chatting with my friend Devon a few days after that and realized that the guts is what I'm missing. It's interesting working in the sketchbook developing my skill but feeling like the guts aren't always there. I suppose that dynamic makes sense, practicing technique never feels so gutsy because you're working in a more controlled way to achieve a certain thing, whereas guts seem to come from letting that go. The weird push and pull of being technically proficient and then being able to do what you feel in your soul and create a unique voice incorporating that know-how. I experienced the exact same thing when studying music and always preferred a melodic piece I could pour my soul into to a shiny, technical piece that was impressive on a more outer layer. They're both exciting in different ways, and I suppose right now I'm working to level-up in a magical marriage of the two. In the meantime, these acrylic abstracts scratch that itch for guts as I'm exploring and practicing in my sketchbook project.

Laura Johnston Almost There (Go for the Guts) 5x5 acrylic on canvas March 2015

Laura Johnston
Almost There (Go for the Guts)
5x5 acrylic on canvas
March 2015

Laura Johnston This Land is My Land 5x5 acrylic on canvas March 2015

Laura Johnston
This Land is My Land
5x5 acrylic on canvas
March 2015

Each of these paintings is available for $65. Shoot me an email if you're interested and we'll get the details squared away - whatLJmade@gmail.com.  I'd love for them to go to a happy new home! :)

Happy Monday!