The Spiritual Artist Podcast

7 Ways to Start an Abstract Painting Using Shapes with Crystal Nelson

January 28, 2024 Christopher J. Miller Season 3 Episode 86
The Spiritual Artist Podcast
7 Ways to Start an Abstract Painting Using Shapes with Crystal Nelson
Show Notes

Crystal Nelson is a mixed-media artist based in the DFW area. She studied printmaking and painting at the University of Texas El Paso and recently retired from teaching art for over 25 years. 

In this college artist interview, Crystal shares seven ways to make shapes. Crystal often starts her work with collages by working out the color, shape, and textures. She uses a variety of methods to create exciting shapes in her work.

Crystal recognized that she has a limited visual vocabulary after realizing she tends to repeat the same shape repeatedly and has investigated novel ways to discover new shapes. 

Number 1: Look at the packaging in your recycling bin and examine it for new shapes.

Number 2: Cut plastic letter stencils in half to create fresh shapes.

Number 3: Explore negative space around letter forms on stencils.

Number 4: Before glazing, move the layer of transparent shapes around to see if they reveal a 3rd shape. 

Number 5: Paint your tissue paper with watered-down Golden Fluid and gel medium, and let it dry before using your stencils to cut out new shapes.

Number 6: Use cheap Sulphite drawing paper and paint with sample house paint. Both paints are latex and work together. Extra tip: Use pre-painted Sulphite drawing paper to test placement. 

Number 7: Cut your shapes of old newsprint or porous book pages. According to Crystal, creating a story, whether layered or textured, is essential. Painting is a dance of adding and subtracting. At the end of the episode, Crystal reminds the listener, "In creativity, there is getting attention and paying attention," and there's room for both. 

Crystal has created art as long as she can remember, but for the last 4-5 years, she has primarily focused on making process-driven abstract art. She loves exploring intuitive abstract acrylic painting through textures, shapes, and color and finding the story within her surfaces. 

She teaches mixed media and Gelli printing workshops and recently curated the Deconstructed Exhibit for the Visual Arts League of Lewisville at the Lewisville Grand Theater. Crystal's motto is "Seek Beauty, Seek Truth". 

For more information, follow Crystal Nelson on Instagram @crysdnelson. For more information on CJ, follow him on Instagram @thespiritualartistpodcast or @cjmillerart