Circular Abstract No. 5 process

Posted by on Sep 4, 2014 in Process
Circular Abstract No. 5 process

I thought it would be fun to share some of my process photos from Circular Abstract No. 5. This series was started in 2012 and the first 4 were done in oil on canvas. No. 5 was the first one in acrylic and it went through many phases getting to the final result. You can see I wasn’t sure what this painting would be when I started. I wasn’t even sure I would continue this series after No. 4. But now I have two more on my easel and am excited to see where they go.

Circular Abstract No. 5 – 24″x36″ acrylic on canvas, 2014.

Process shot 1

I started out with free flow mark marking and lots of color. Just to see what happens.

Process shot 2

Then I started playing around with organic elements. It was around fall of last year so the change of seasons had a lot to do with this.

Process shot 3

And that became this totally wild and unexpected landscape (of sorts) which I played around with for awhile and eventually moved on from. I have no idea where this came from! It was kind of a stoner wonderland. I do really like the giant pear in the top right.

Process shot 4

But alas the white paint came out as it so often does and I effectively started over. But I never white out a painting completely. Some of the existing painting always shows through. The “history” of the painting is usually the most interesting part!

Process shot 5

I changed the orientation to vertical and the circles reappeared.

Process shot 6

Then the addition of more organic elements. Some circles get painted out. Perhaps I was resisting the geometric structure? More mark making and seeing what the painting wants to be. At this point I really am at the mercy of the creative process.

Process shot 7

Eventually I start to love what is happening. I think it’s interesting and dynamic, but still needs a lot to be a finished painting. There was a little too much going on. It needed value contrast and simplification. Taking things out is almost always harder than adding them in.

Final painting

When I finally declared this painting “finished” it was, in my mind, perfectly balanced. The shapes, colors, lights, and darks were all working together. There was a sense of rhythm and flow. I would look at it for long periods of time and see nothing that needed to be changed. To finish it off I glazed on some interference paints that pick up the light and reflect its complimentary color (very difficult to photograph but see below). When it was completely dry I sealed it with a protective semi-gloss varnish.


If you look closely you can see the blue interference paint that is glazed over some of the dark areas. It’s so hard to capture in a photo but creates a nice illusion in person.

There you have it! This painting was started in October 2013 and completed March 2014, so 6 months in the making. If I “knew” what I wanted to do when I started it would have taken less time but I don’t think it would have been as interesting. It’s fun to look back and remember all the twists and turns a painting took getting to its final destination.


  1. Gerald Martens
    September 4, 2014

    Awesome Kristen! I really like 6th orientation of your artwork. At that point I see movement and mystery in the way the colors and lines interact with one another. Your final orientation is amazingly beautiful.

  2. Janine
    September 4, 2014

    YAY! I Love it! Congratulations on your fist post! So proud of you! Heres to many more! xoxo


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