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Pinks and oranges, delicacy and restraint

Hello again, painters.

Well, it certainly has been some week. But as promised, another newsletter is arriving right on time. I’m going to start out this year by sharing the work of Vivian Springford, an artist whose work has recently been featured in a show at Almine Rech Gallery in NYC.

Vivian Springford (1913 - 2003) created the kind of expansive, colorful work that should be mentioned in the same breath as her more famous abstract contemporaries, like Morris Louis and Helen Frankenthaler. And indeed, during her time she did catch the eye of several prominent New York art critics, but despite that, knowledge of her work faded from public memory.

“My painting is my own small plot of energy, in terms of color and movement, in the universal whole.”

Luckily, her work was discovered by a social worker tasked with assisting Springford in her old age. A storage unit full of her canvases was brought to the attention of a NYC gallerist, and Springford’s work once again received the attention it merits. Springford’s contributions to the development of abstract art and color field painting has been acknowledged in this survey of abstract painting published by the Denver Art Museum.

Like most Color Field artists, Springford wouldn’t apply color using the brush. Rather, she relied on pouring her pigments across the canvas. The process of pouring the colors on and allowing them to dry before layering on more pools of color produced fascinating visual effects that would be difficult to predict ahead of time. Working in this method requires the artist to surrender their control over the painting, but allows for opportunities to be surprised and delighted by the way the paints intermingle.

Springford would allow her colors to sit and collect on the canvas, eventually drying and forming a ring around the outer limits of the puddle. The hard lines formed by the dried pigment are at odds with the soft transitions of colors across the ground of her paintings. These lines ask the eye to follow their circumference around the painting, and also hint at an inability to constrain within boundaries. There is a conflict happening between the lines, which seem to burn away at the edges, and the fields of color, which creates for an engaging series of paintings.

“The expansive center of the universe, of the stars, and of nature is my constant challenge in abstract terms.”

Springford’s paintings, with their circles within circles, can evoke the feeling of staring into a portal or a hole, but they can also suggest an eye peering back at the viewer. Even more suggestions still can be found within this review of the Springford show, written by Barbara MacAdam. If you’re curious to read more about Springford’s work, check out that link, and also visit the Almine Rech Gallery here to see more images.

New Classes Begin Next Week!

Remember, painters! Next Tuesday, on the 19th, online classes start up again. There are two on offer this time and you can hit the pink button below to read about what they are.

Online classes are a fun way to kickstart your creativity for the new year. You’ll get lots of assignments, exercises, and ideas about what to paint and how. If you’ve never tried your hand at abstract painting before, I’ll be there to help you every step of the way.

🖌️ Click here to sign up! 🖌️

See you next time, and happy painting
(° ͜ʖ͡°)

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