John Salminen

John Salminen: A Designed Approach to Abstraction


Video Length: 2 Hours 40 Minutes
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Join John Salminen as he uses the language of design to build a complex layered abstraction.

The design analysis and thinking he uses may be applied to any subject or medium. John begins with simple objects as a springboard to suggest shapes and line. He then launches on a sequence of steps to create intriguing and unpredictable effects all the while using design principles to create a cohesive captivating painting.

John floods in warm tones, dry brush blending, scrapes in darks, and masks lines. He creates a variety of line and edge qualities, careful to always add to the whole. John explains the rationale for each step. He capitalizes on the strengths of watercolor - delicate and subtle middle values. He verbalizes his composition and problem solving strategies and uses the design principles of dominance, texture, linkage, and repetition to bring unity to the painting. John uses a variety of techniques to create interest - salt, dry brush blending, splattering, mouth atomizer, collage, and acrylics.

Are you intimidated by non-objective art? A little fuzzy on what makes good shape integration and design? This is the workshop for you. To John Salminen, design is the common language binding all styles of painting. Salminen, a recent gold medal winner of both the American Watercolor Society and National Watercolor Society, speaks the language of design fluently. In this workshop, John applies his core design principles to a complex, layered abstraction. You'll learn to create interesting shapes, capitalize on the strengths of watercolor and keep your painting intriguing and unpredictable. You'll also discover composition and problem-solving strategies that apply to all media.

John focuses the workshop on core principles of design: dominance, texture, linkage and repetition. As he sketches common objects to seed his composition, he begins to establish shape and line type dominance. He explains his criteria for creating interesting shapes and applies them as he plans his values and establishes an unpainted area of his painting for his powerful white shape. You'll learn the practical and artistic reasoning behind establishing color dominance as John brushes in a warm surround.

Throughout the workshop, you'll see John enhance his watercolors with salt, dry brush blending, sponges, spattering, and a mouth atomizer. John uses masking extensively and creatively to control his applications. Most importantly, he demonstrates the careful judgment and self control necessary to create effects that enhance the painting rather than tricks that steal attention from overall design.

You'll share in his thought process as he attacks design problems at each stage in the painting. He adds and extends dark shapes to create linkage between isolated elements. He increases contrast to add the illusion of depth and introduces complementary washes to restore color balance and create rich, complex grays.

Each line, edge, wash and texture in his painting is unique. He edits predictable shapes, gradually varies pigments and creates repetition through subtle echoes. John caps the painting with a truly unpredictable mixed media component. He integrates collage elements, extends his value range with acrylics and adds bold line with a permanent marker. To create exciting, intriguing paintings and ground yourself in the fundamentals of design, join John Salminen in A Designed Approach to Abstraction.


BONUS CLIP: Changing Edge Quality

In this clip from his video workshop, A Designed Approach to Abstraction, painter John Salminen teaches you a quick, inexpensive technique for creating hard-edged, linear shapes in a watercolor. John uses regular masking tape to mark off a dark, triangular shape in his abstract composition. John shares his design rationale for adding hard edges to his composition and offers tips for masking as he works.



Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
Barbara O’Neal Davis
John Salminen in A Designed Approach to Abstraction

I have studied with John who is an excellent instructor and was a high school art teacher for probably 30+ years. I have both of his DVD's which are excellent. However over all no matter what your subject matter his workshop on Abstraction is for everyone. Try a hand at abstraction but more importantly the gems of instruction cover any subject you could possibly paint in watercolor, but also will transverse all mediums. He gives lessons on composition and weights of mid-value and darks and lights for your work to produce excellent, show worthy paintings.

Delores Ekberg
A step above!

I love the how & why he explains each step. It is my hope I can take my art to a higher level...and hope to take a workshop from him someday.

Sandy Aronson
composition is made easy using this technique

Novel approach to composition that could even be done while relaxing in front of a tv . Gave me a different viewpoint on color and textural possibilities.

Louella McAloose
A Designed Approach to Abstraction with With John Salminen

Excellent DVD. Clear and useful to any level painted. Well with the cost.

Pamela GaVette
Abstract art

John Salminen was easy to follow and inspired me to get back into abstraction again . It gave clear concise steps that even a beginner artist could follow. I recommend this CD