Artist Sudie Rakusin shares a collection of multi-layered abstracts filled with pattern and symbolism. Visit her website to see more of her artwork.
In 2016, I ventured into the world of abstracts with cold wax and oil as my medium on panels and Arches oil paper. Being classically trained to paint and draw the figure, the new world of abstracts challenged me in exciting ways.
I explored new ways to make color, pattern, design and pure line the focus, instead of the background for a figure. I experimented with different techniques, using a palette knife to layer on paint and a needle pointed tool to incise and make thin, accurate lines.
There is layering and scraping away, incising, and glazing. I also take white tissue and draw thin, delicate patterns with micron pens and “glue” these onto the panels with cold wax.
The first group is titled “Ecliptics.”
Abstract painting continues to challenge me today. I am in a love/hate relationship with abstracts as I work and rework, oftentimes scraping off entire areas and changing the colors and shapes.
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I draw on scrap paper, sketch out possibilities, dream about them, wake up thinking I’ve resolved it, only to wipe those out to make more changes!
These abstracts confound me, confuse me, challenge me and are teaching me to embrace living with the not knowing.
The second group is titled “Encompass.”
Several months ago, this shape came into my head and I documented it in my sketchbook. It would not leave my mind’s eye, and I drew it all the time. I named it “Encompass.” Although I had no clue what it was saying to me, Encompass felt symbolic and meaningful; a compass, a pinwheel, a seashell, a false limpet, a fossilized stone. I did 19 paintings on paper, three panels, and then it was gone.
Periodically, I work for a long time on projects and then get emptied out. I naturally go back to the source, which for me is my sketchbook. I return to drawing.
This time, my line drawings inspired this collection of small collage/paintings of women’s portraits, plants, fruit and vegetables. I find myself “painting” with tissue, layering collage with paint and line. I am only at the beginning of this new exploration and don’t know where it will take me, once again, living with the not knowing.
While it feels simple and freeing, not serious or profound, these collage/paintings are holding my interest, keeping me curious, and for that, I am perpetually grateful.
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