I am an experimental and experiential artist. It’s not that my experiments are so wacky, I just love the journey. I like solving new problems. If I have already figured out how to do something, I’m not much interested in doing it again. As an experiential artist, I want to create a new experience for myself and those seeing my work.  It’s a very different approach from other artists who are making something that looks real.

“What fun it would be”, I thought, “to learn about the process of other artists and to share my process with interested folks.”  Got together with a group of visual artists and we picked “The Blank Canvas” as the topic for our blog hop. Make sure you read to the bottom, where you will see how you could win my fabulous giveaway and read about the process of the other participating artists.

"The Eyes of War" 24' x 24' acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas

“The Eyes of War” 24′ x 24′ acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas

Eyes of war1

Here is the painting in the very initial stage. You can see the transfer images, newspaper and canvas collage.

This painting,”The Eyes Of War” started out with my trying out some new techniques. I used a transfer process to reproduce some images from magazines and the New York Times, as well as newspaper collage. This was at the start of when the Ukraine and Middle East seemed about to blow up and the images of eyes led me to feel the sadness in the souls of those involved. I created large framing elements by collaging strips of frayed camvas onto the existing camvas. I used molding paste, gesso and acrylic medium to add additional texture. This would not be a smooth painting if I wanted to get a sense of the upheaval of war.

Adding layers of color to the painting gave it its direction and color palette.

Adding layers of color to the painting gave it its direction and color palette.

I then began adding many layers of color including metallic gold, with each layer obliterating some and highlighting others.  I felt the presence of the eyes I had placed in the under layers, throughout my painting process. I intentionally limited my range of colors, preferring to delve into the nuances I could create from yellows, greens and blues. This created a cohesive and unified color theme for this busy and intense canvas.



Adding black and deeper color provided a gravitas to the painting that helped express its theme of war.

Adding black and deeper color provided a gravitas to the painting that helped express its theme of war.

In order to simplify some of the activity and emphasize specific elements, I added strong lights and darks to the painting. The use of black evoked for me the emptiness and darkness of war.

By converting the picture to black and white, I am able to see more easily, the dark and light patterns,

By converting the picture to black and white, I am able to see more easily, the dark and light patterns,

I also use contrasting values (lightness and darkness) as a dramatic device to keep the eye of the viewer moving through the painting.

The final painting is distinctively different from anything I have created before. I find its asymmetry and allusions in shape somewhat disturbing and evocative of conflict. Hence, the title “The Eyes Of War” seems appropriate.

Did it surprise you? It certainly surprised me as I was working on it, to see where it would end up. That’s one of the reasons that I enjoy doing the work I do. It is a great gift to be able to create work where I surprise myself on a regular basis!


Enter to WIN this fabulous giveaway! You can win any print you choose from my online shop!

Enter to WIN this fabulous giveaway! You can win any print you choose from my online sbelow.

You enter by leaving a comment below telling me what you think about my or other’s creative process.  

Other stuff to do to get more entries? Each action will give you another entry into the drawing.

Then each day visit these other artists’ blogs to learn about their process and win other giveaways!

Giveaway rules: Giveaway is open to US residents only. Entrants must be 18 years of age and up. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Comment entries close 11:59pm, on September 23, 2014. Winner will be chosen by random drawing on September 24, and will be officially notified via email and must acknowledge the notification email by October 4th, 2014, or the prize is forfeit and will be given to the runner up. Artwork will be shipped within a month of getting the winner’s selection shipping address. Giveaway  Value-apx $100.
  1. Sept 8….Karen Friedland  THAT’S ME
  2. Sept 9….Lezette Markham
  3. Sept 10…Cynthia Patton
  4. Sept 11Jennyann Carthern 
  5. Sept 12FRIDAY FRENZY Kiala Givehand, Tori Deaux, Karen FriedlandTHAT’S ME TOO
  6. Sept 13...Jan Blount
  7. Sept 14Effy Wild
  8. Sept 15Virginia Simpson-Magruder
  9. Sept 16Dariana Cruz
  10. Sept 17Susan Miller
  11. Sept 18Grace Howes
  12. Sept 19Tori Deaux
  13. Sept 20Kiala Givehand
  14. Sept 21Martin Arkenstone
  15. Sept 22Nicole Piar← today’s spotlight

Thanx so much for coming along on our blog hop and for your participation here!signature

About karenfriedland

I am a visual artist-- painter, sculptor, photographer-- coloring the world. My travels take me to many places around the world and I love connecting with others at home and on my trips. I am also a teacher (art), business person and creativity and business coach. My website is: I am so glad you have visited my blog!
This entry was posted in contest, Inspiration, Painting, process, The Blank Canvas and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.



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  5. pagangaia says:

    Hi Karen. I’m new to art journalling and enjoy watching how others create their art and/or journals. It serves as great inspiration to me – all ideas and processes are welcome, as I have so much to try out. I’m also taking the Blogging 101 course here on WordPress, so it seems we are neighbours!

    • Hi Pagangaia! So glad you came and found it inspiring. It’s fun learning how others approach their work; I’ve learned lots from the others on the blog hop! I admire your ambition, it sounds like you are in for great adventures! ;0) Karen

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  12. jan blount says:

    Love the layers and drama in this piece Karen. Very striking. Enjoyed following along and watching how it evolved.

    • Thanx Jan for the visit and your kind words. It is interesting to look back, for me too, on how something is made because, over time, I forget. Many times, I’ve looked and said “how did I do that?” ;0D

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  15. Julie Anna says:

    How wonderful to get the artist’s perspective of the creative process – fascinating! Such access helps us as the viewers appreciate your talent and hard work all the more.

  16. Katherine Bourrier says:

    Hi Karen. I always have a problem with the ‘blank canvas’, so this series is very inspiring to me. I loved your approach to this piece and it has given me a great way to start. Thank you!

    • Hi Katherine,
      Getting started can often be a challenge. I find that putting anything down gets me over the hump and changing it up frequently makes it more interesting. I’m so glad that our topic speaks to you and puts you on the way to great starts & accomplishment!
      Best, Karen

  17. carolyn says:

    I like how your process has thoughtfulness ( feelings you felt and the message you try to portray), and preparation (the images, colors and materials you chose). There is story in, behind, and throughout the process that results in a very moving piece of work. Thank you.

  18. xolabajola says:

    I absolutely love this painting and I really enjoyed seeing how it was made. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  21. ckcrown says:

    Loved seeing the process and hearing about your conscious decisions on light/dark, etc. I am in the process of organizing a community gathering that will help “regular” people tell their story through dance, voice, music & art. This blog will be a great resource for me as I figure out how to help non-artists be comfortable in expressing themselves.

  22. Carla Mazzone says:

    Love your approach! Adding the canvas is an intriguing idea. It creates such an appealing texture and that is what attracts me the most in art and what I try to do when I paint. Thanks for the step by step instructions.

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  25. Brandy Noody says:

    Your layering technique really appeals to me. I have been doing a lot of layering in my mixed-media work lately too!

    • Brandy, thanx for being part of the Blog Hop. I love that layering is so forgiving. If something doesn’t work, you just cover it up. But you still have all that richness underneath. 😀 Karen

  26. Wow! I loved seeing all the steps that go into one of your paintings. Thanks for sharing!

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  29. nicole piar says:

    Sharing the initial steps and your emotional motivation behind this piece added so much depth of meaning. such an interesting way to work. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Lezette M says:

    My favorite part of your creative process is the way you use layers. I love that you incorporate metallics and plan for the viewers eyes to see the layers underneath the foreground. Your artwork is beautiful. – Cheers

  31. The work you have done and the way you described it is so amazing. What I learned today was how good it is to photograph the painting and make a black and white image so you can see the darks and lights. Your piece is so deeply touching.

  32. Tori Deaux says:

    Love the way you work in layers, and the use of “peaceful” colors under the black and white which to me suggest the contrast of strive… I wish I could see this in person, I suspect the layers and metallics really add even more oomph!

    • Thanx Tori. I used to be a very direct painter & not work in layers. But layers give you an infinite number of chances to get it right, lol. You’re right about photos, there’s only so much they can do! xo Karen

  33. I loved sharing your process and the delight of your being surprised by the result. It helped to dispel the nagging thought that I can’t paint something because it either won’t turn out like I think it should be or that I don’t have an idea what to paint. I feel inspired to paint 🙂

    • Oh Mary! Inspiring you to paint is my favorite thing! The surprise is really a fun part. If you already know how it’s going to look, why bother. Just get out that paint & have fun! xo Karen

  34. manmaze says:

    Hi Karen, I immensely enjoy to see how your process of creating art is evolving with each step and your courageousness with each piece to explore new undiscovered worlds.

    • Thanx so much for coming and the lovely comment. Sometimes it does take bravery to take the next step. But I always try to remember that it is just canvas & paint and that it can just be painted over. I do love the discoveries! 😉 Karen

  35. terryhunt2us says:

    Thanks so much, Karen! I love the textural quality and limited color scheme. I have trouble with ‘value’. Converting your work-in-progress to b&w is a fantastic step in the process.

    • My pleasure, Terry, so glad you came. I struggle with values too; I’m really a mid-value painter. But I’m trying to push my limits more and more & include more black in my work. It should be easy as a New Yorker-we’re always in black! ha,ha! Karen

  36. Grace Howes says:

    Goodness Karen…..I could almost feel the devastation of war you portrayed in your painting. A compelling piece. I must say I do love the idea of converting the image of a wip to black and white to better see the contrasting values. Great tip!

    • I am so glad it elicited so much emotion from you, Grace. It is not a place I usually go & it is so nice to know that I’m on track. The b&w thing is an easy & useful tool. Thanx for coming, Grace! ❤

  37. brendafromflatbush says:

    What a fascinating evolution in your work this is! Beautiful but disturbing. Loved sharing the journey of its creation; there is something very poignant about the idea of the faces virtually obliterated underneath the colors.

    • Thanx Bren, it was supposed to be disturbing. I felt that way, too. Having the images of faces underneath, even though they are virtually obliterated, informed my feeling about the whole piece. Glad you come! ❤ Karen

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