This summer at Art Center of Corpus Christi, I taught a series of workshops on Abstract Expressionist painting.
During the course, we explored modes of painting from the Abstract Expressionism movement, focusing on one artist and painting style per session.  Featured artists included Mark Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler, Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, Hedda Sterne, Clyfford Still, Robert Motherwell and Robert Rauschenberg*.  The focus was on exploration, creative freedom and enjoyment of the painting process.  In September, I'll begin a new series of workshops at Art Center of Corpus Christi.

The photos in this post are from one of the Color Field classes.  Mark Rothko was the featured artist.
Julie's finished painting is now hanging in her house.

Helen puts finishing touches on her Color Field painting.

Jerry's work in progress....He brought in this painting to complete in the class, and eventually transformed it into a lush and poetic Color Field painting.

*Robert Rauschenberg, although not considered part of the Abstract Expressionsist movement, was one of our featured artists.  The Art Center and I thought it would be fitting to add him to our studies, particularly as he was from Texas and was a key artist in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to other movements.  Rauschenberg very much admired the Abstract Expressionists but deeply disagreed with many of their philosophies.

This week and next, I'm traveling to Montreal, so no post.  When I return, I'll post photos from my trip, and also Part 2 of the Abstract Expressionism summer workshop.  In Montreal, I plan to visit art museums and galleries, and take in as much as possible of this beautiful old city.


Pete Hoge said...

The good thing about introducing
the "lay people" to a style of
painting that is still "difficult"
to get into, is that they can
report back to their friends
what it was like to enjoy paint
as the subject matter itself.

Maybe their senses won't be tuned
to a minimalist extreme, but they will see that a color field painting is just as visually interesting as any figurative image from the studio of an old master.

Abstract art disciplines have a
chance at validity in "heathen"
lands...the downside to that is
that Abstraction loses its claim
to mystery because it becomes

That means those of us who make
abstract images have to work
harder to produce something that
is special and worth seeing.

I guess we should be doing that

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...


Personally, I don't believe the mystery of abstract art can be erased when one gains an understanding of processes and knowledge of content. I believe learning these things allows for a deeper appreciation for the work itself.

And as much as I know about paint as the subject matter itself (and color and shape and....) the more I revel in the mystery of my own work.

I do agree that introducing "lay people" to difficult styles of painting can bring about unprecedented enjoyment of paint as the subject matter.

The adults I've been teaching include an art teacher, an exhibiting artist and persons in career fields unrelated to art.
One of my greatest joys of nurturing my own art career is expanding people's knowledge of and appreciation for visual art, particularly modern and contemporary painting.

May we continue to work hard to produce art that is special and worthy to us, and hopefully to society.

Michele Fraichard said...

Abstract, non-abstract.. it's all exploration whether it's about color, the psyche, the materials or whatever -- I love it all! Kudos Stephanie, I'd love to have taken this class. Enjoy Montreal (+ say hello to Sue)xo

Debu Barve said...

Great! My best wishes for these classes Stephanie.

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

I certainly will tell Sue you said hello!
You are so right: regardless of abstract, semi-abstract, image-based, etc etc...it's about all those things and more. To quote part of my own artist's statement: Creative expression is the poetry of life- a record of one’s dedication, obsession, meditation and reason.

My sincere thanks! I look forward to continuing these workshops in the Fall.

plasticanimal said...

Well said Stephanie!

I can sense the feeling of mystery and awe in your paintings as you play with the relationships between color and space. There's something real gut level about it as the forms are stripped down and built back up.

The mystery never fades!

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

Without mystery and awe, why bother, right? :)
Thanks so much.

ggshoe said...

Sharing the magic of the creative process makes it deeper, more fulfilling and appreciated for the artist and the beholder.

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

I wholeheartedly agree. For me, teaching and art-making are almost symbiotic.