Abstract artist Lee Muslin shares a spontaneous process of painting colorful works filled with creative energy. See more by visiting her website.
Music or nature and the feelings of joy they instill inspire my abstract paintings. The art is about a sense of movement that overflows with emotion. My influences are the abstract expressionists, in particular, Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko and Joan Mitchell. Their belief that art should come from the unconscious mind resonates with me.
Acrylic paint is my chosen medium because of its quick drying qualities. I build up many layers in my work and I love the history that creates. I begin my work without any preconceived ideas about what the finished work is going to look like. Listening to music while I paint allows me to be in the moment and embrace a sense of play.
Often I am responding to the last thing I put on the canvas. This practice allows my work to be free from expectations, removing boundaries and encouraging me to take more risks to push the work to unexpected places. It’s about yielding to the process and unearthing the painting’s potential.
I usually start with automatic drawing, using various drawing mediums such as graphite, charcoal, colored pencils or acrylic pens. Automatic drawing is basically making marks across the surface spontaneously without any rational thinking. This activates the canvas and gives me something to react to.
I may smudge these lines with medium or spray them with a fixative so they don’t smear. I may have a compositional format in mind or I may let that develop along the way. Starting with a basic color palette, I’ll continue with lines using various size brushes or lay in areas of color.
Sometimes I will expand on the color palette as the painting progresses. I create chromatic neutrals to balance and highlight the more vibrant colors. These are greys, blacks or whites with bits of color in them that will harmonize with the palette. Most of the colors I use will also be harmonized in this way.
I’ll continue creating a complex surface using many techniques that may include more mark marking, scratching, glazing, scumbling, scribbling, blotting, dripping and splattering. Sometimes I’ll add collage or use a stencil. I want the painting surface to be full of life, so you can get lost in the depths of the layers and textures.
Even though my process is mainly intuitive, there are decisions to be made along the way to pull it all together. After a few layers of play, I will start to periodically step back from the painting to determine if it is balanced both in color and composition while still keeping the excitement alive. This back and forth will continue for many layers until I feel it has reached a conclusion.
Each painting unfolds and evolves in its own way, offering endless opportunities to explore new horizons.