Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Abstract Art

The experience of standing in an art gallery in front of a huge painting covered in various shapes, textures, colors, and ideas, scares a lot of very intelligent people. No one loves the feeling of thinking they should know or understand something, that utterly confuses their psyche. Abstract art can have this very effect on many of its viewers. Often, with no recognizable shapes, words, or forms; abstract art can stun, and sometimes even stump, art appreciators.

The very essence of art, is creative expression. And if that is so, can art be considered bad? or good? Wouldn’t it simply be about the authentic expression of the creator?

Abstract art is the epitome of raw creative expression, and is often challenging to decipher or label. But simply because we may not understand completely what the artist was attempting to express, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to embrace the beauty of abstract art and find in it, a feeling or emotion with which we can relate.

Though abstract art may seem to be a huge hodgepodge of colors and themes; there are ways to differentiate between the styles.

Here are a few of the most popular forms of abstract art and the difference between them:

Impressionism After an art critic insulted one of Monet’s works, calling it a “mere impression of a sunrise”; the movement of Impressionism was born. The Impressionist era was a moving away from what is called Realism; when artists painted the world in seemingly, perfectly recognizable forms; sometimes appearing so perfect they were surreal. Impressionists are not concerned with perfect recognizable forms, instead, they choose to express the essence of a thing, how they see personally it, how it makes them feel. Artists like Renoir and Seurat, focused on the effects of light and perspective in their Impressionist pieces.

Expressionism Explicit and shocking moods and emotions are inherent within Expressionism art. Chagall and Paul Klee are two of the artists that embraced this style of painting in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. The goal of Expressionism art is to focus on the mind-set, and state of mental reality, of the artist. Which as you can imagine, could be a myriad of emotions and realities wrapped into one.

Surrealism In the middle of the 20th century, Surrealism was born. A significant milestone in the world of modern art; Surrealism attempted to describe the unconscious mind and the choosing of a place other than the real world, to represent.

Though we attempt to give you a guide on how to distinguish one work of abstract art from another; one of the pleasures of enjoying abstract art is to decide for yourself what you see within the piece of art itself, and to feel free to give it your own interpretation.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Five Benefits Of Buying Original Artwork

For a long time, buying art was a pastime enjoyed only by those in the upper class. But luckily today, art has become accessible for every budget. Everyone can benefit from placing art in their home. Original art is really a gift from the artist. When you buy someone’s original work, you know you are in possession of a small piece of them. The artist spent weeks or months pouring over the painting, making sure it was the perfect culmination of their talents. The art is truly a reflection of a life experience.

Original art is such an undervalued element in our homes. Here are some compelling reasons to spend your money on art:

Art provides an emotional and creative release. The artist and the art enthusiast both experience an expressive release of feelings and emotions when surrounded by art. Art can be a healthy way to deal with the overwhelming reality; allowing the confronting of our feelings, and also a healthy escape. Each piece of art will evoke unique feelings in different viewers. The beauty of art is that it is never the same across audiences.

Art is a powerful conversation starter. Art evokes the expression of ideas and thoughts, and is able to start very important and relevant conversations between people. The love of art can provide a space for guests to comment on the beauty of the piece, or speak and listen to one another about previous experienced brought up by the painting.

Art is inspiring. We are inspired consciously and unconsciously by having art in our homes. Enjoying the art of others has inspired and motivated many people to create their own works of art. Art has the ability to reach deep down within us and uncover talents we never knew existed. Getting lost in a painting is an easy way to allow your mind to aimlessly wander to places of inspiration.

Children are drawn to art. For families, it can be especially important to have original works of art in the home. Children are naturally fascinated by art and they learn and gain a lot through the experience of enjoying others creations. Children look at art and see all sorts of images and ideas, and many will want to create their own art, if they have enough exposure.

Art adds to the quality of our lives. It may sound simple, but it’s true. Art increases our levels of enjoyment of everyday life. Filling our living spaces with art brings a cheerful creative energy into our homes that even our guests will recognize. Whether incredibly beautiful, thought-provoking, or shocking; art elicits a response from the viewer, and offers us the opportunity to embrace the sacredness of feeling.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

View Webinar on Youtube

If you happened to miss my webinar due to time zones, you can find it here on Youtube 
We discussed brushes, complementary color, depth, drama dimension among many other things

Webinar today 8-26-14 at 1pm EST

Join me today 8-26-14 at 1pm EST for a Webinar on my book Watercolor in Motion with

Get personal insights and interactions with Birgit as she discusses inspirations, techniques, and more all found in her new book, Watercolor in Motion.Everyone who registers for Birgit's webinar will receive a special discount code to be used at for Birgit's Watercolor in Motion book and dvd combo.

We hope you'll join us!

If you cannot attend the live event, a recording of the free webinar will be emailed to all who register to view at their convenience.  

About Birgit: Birgit O'Connor teaches watercolor workshops and has written for several magazines, including Watercolor Magic, The Artist's Magazine, and Artist's Sketchbook. She has produced 12 of her own watercolor instruction videos. Her award-winning work has been featured in four galleries, numerous private and corporate collections, and dozens of one-woman and group shows.

Her website,, features her videos and other materials for watercolorists.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Finding Your Favorite Medium

Art is a great creative release for many people. This is the reason many forms of art are used in various schools of therapy. Being able to create is freeing and can also be healing. Many beginners are quickly overwhelmed by the amount of artistic mediums from which to choose, and may not know which form of art is best for their personal creative expression. Most seasoned artists would agree that it is best for beginners to have fun experimenting with different mediums to see what most inspires them. This process puts less pressure on a new artist, and allows them to simply enjoy the experience.


Many beginner artists start with using watercolors, and there is a good reason for this choice. Student grade watercolor sets can purchased very inexpensively and there are many grades of watercolor paper to choose from. Watercolors are paints mixed with water, and require little supplies or equipment and if you’re just starting out, you can choose the cheaper version of paint and paper but to have the best results consider investing into good the better paper, paint and brushes, these make all the difference to the success of your work. But if you just want to play and have fun students sets work just fine.

Oil Painting

When you think of oil painting, you may think of the classic paintings of yesteryear. The pigments are intense, thick, and combined with oil. Because of these characteristics, an oil painting can take weeks, even months, to completely dry. This medium would be most fitting for the patient artist. A new artist may still prefer painting with oils, as they can be very forgiving. If you make an error, it is easily erased and can be done over again. Watercolors are for the more free-handed artists, because you cannot simply erase, and recreate. A good guide book can help any beginner, who is interested in exploring oils as a medium.

Acrylic Painting

Acrylic painting can be similar to using oils, but instead the pigments are mixed with water. These paintings will dry faster, but may not have the depth or richness that many oil paintings display. New painters need to know, that just as acrylic dries much faster on the canvas, it also tends to dry quicker on the paint brushes, which means you must clean them in a timely manner. If paint brushes are left uncared for, you will have paint caked up on your brushes, which will make them difficult to clean and difficult to work with.

There are guide books for all types of media. Artists who are new to the craft, would do well to choose one, and follow its guidance. With a bit of instruction and practical tips, mixed with some experiential creativity, a new artist, in the right time, will be drawn to their perfect medium of expression.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Emotional Benefits of Art

Most art lovers would agree, that creating, viewing, and appreciating art, is good for the spirit and can certainly affect your mood. Art encompasses many creative forms and every piece of art is as individual as its creator, so its effects on our psyche and emotions are varied and diverse.

The expression of creativity in all its variations, is immensely related to many aspects of our “sense of well-being” and purposefulness in the world. But though many of us know all of this intuitively, what are the proven effects of creating and appreciating art?

Various art forms have been used in therapy sessions for decades, and there are therapy and counseling programs that have been fully developed around art and creative expression. The effectiveness of Art Therapy is based upon the idea that everyone is creative in some way, and does not require its clients to be Picasso, but only asks that they be their uniquely creative selves.

The Proven Emotional Benefits of Art

1. Through creative expression, people are often more able to see parts of themselves more clearly. There are aspects of ourselves that we tend to keep hidden or may have blocked away when we were kids for self-protection. Exploring the world of art and creating art can be used to open up those blocked areas and help us to release, otherwise, trapped emotions.

2. Trained Art Therapists can help you to process those unlocked emotions. It can be challenging, at any age, to deal with emotions that were never allowed to surface. Working with an Art Therapist can be extremely beneficial in working through our emotions in a healthy way.

3. It’s important to know, that research shows that you don’t need a therapist to benefit from art therapy or creative expression. With a bit of study and reading, combined with your participation in some art form, whether it be creating collages, working with watercolors, or taking frequent trips to the museum, anyone can benefit and experience a greater ability to be more open with their feelings, and develop an emotionally healthy practice of sharing with others.

4. Art appreciation and creation can help to reduce the amount of stressful emotions that occur, and have also been proven to lessen anxiety and tension. Combined with a healthier lifestyle, other enjoyable emotional outlets, such as spending time with friends, as well as quality time alone,- art and the expression of creativity, can be a true catalyst for emotional healing.