Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle

2022 Culminating Online Exhibition

Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle
2022 Culminating Online Exhibition

Welcome to an exhibition of paintings created in the Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle in 2022!

About the Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist circle

In 2009, I picked a card from one of those online oracle card decks. The picture was a nautilus spiral shell in the sand with blue gemstones at the corners. Somehow, while gazing at it I had a vision. The vision was multidimensional, and came with a name: Beauty & Spirit Abstract Art. I knew my life destiny could play out here. Among the interconnected layers was the Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle.

The circle came into being last year. I wanted to expand on my teaching for people who had taken The Inspired Abstract workshop, to give them more flexibility, more ways to interpret the techniques and principles, and broader skills. I wanted to see if artists working together regularly in a relaxed environment would take in deeper understanding. And if they did, what would happen next - how far would their work go? Well, you'll see in the exhibit.

Below are the accomplishments of four circle members dedicated to enlivening their inner artist and building confidence in their outer abstract artist: Beth A. Bernstein, Lorna Cole, Michelle Noel Hurteau, and myself.

Please enjoy the show!

- Julie Bernstein Engelmann
Founder and Teaching Artist
Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle

Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle
2022 Culminating Online Exhibition Event

Hear stories from the Circle as the artists speak about their body of artwork created over the year.
To click to specific content, view description on YouTube or use Content timing below. 53:37 minutes.

Beth A. Bernstein
Vail, Arizona

1. Beth A. Bernstein, Breaking Free, 18x24, Acrylic on canvas
2. Beth A. Bernstein, Choosing Freedom (and Love), 16"H x 20"W, Acrylic and Conte crayon on canvas

2. Beth A. Bernstein, Free to Shine, 16"H x 20"W, Acrylic and marker on canvas
3. Beth A. Bernstein, Now Is my Time! (Freedom & Love), 22"H x 28"W, Acrylic on canvas

5. Beth A. Bernstein, Fruition, 16"H x 20"W, Acrylic on canvas
6. Beth A. Bernstein, Letting Go - Inflow of Light & Sound, 16"H x 20"W, Acrylic on canvas

7. Beth A. Bernstein, Honest Obsession, 24"H x 18"W, Acrylic on canvas
8. Beth A. Bernstein, Nourishing My Creativity and Joy, 16"H x 20"W, Acrylic, Conte crayon, marker on canvas

I'm Julie's older sister. When we were kids, we loved doing art. Drawing came naturally to me, and I especially loved to draw people. Whatever I learned, I taught Julie, who eagerly scarfed it up. Then, I put art aside for a 40-year career in psychiatry. I always thought I would get back to art someday, but never quite did.

Until a few years ago, when I took the Inspired Abstract workshop with Julie. We had come full circle - this time with Julie teaching me art and re-introducing me to the joy of acrylic painting. It woke me back up to my passion for art. I had forgotten how much I loved and craved expressing beauty and color! I began contemplating and having dreams about getting my art life back and the time and freedom to paint.

A year ago, I joined the Abstract Artist Circle to have a more structured way of creating paintings in a supportive setting, with fellow artists. Julie's techniques kept me in touch with the freedom I wanted to express and prevented my over-obsessing too early in the painting process. Her approach allowed for incorporating the imagery I love into an abstract space. She teaches ways to give dimension and depth to paintings. It was really interesting how each of us artists developed in our own unique direction and style, even though we were working so closely together with similar prompts. It created a very fun and supportive atmosphere.

Each circle member chose a word, or theme, for our art and our life that we wanted to work on. For the first half-year, I chose Freedom - and in fact, I actually did come to retire during that time. During the second half-year, my word was Fruition, and it happened that my son moved out and I was able to create an art studio in that space! So I've gone on a journey of transformation, from claiming my freedom to the fruition of creating a life and a studio to do art.

Most importantly, I reclaimed my long-suppressed artist self back - the side I had put on hold for 40 years. It was a healing process of reclaiming my full self and becoming whole again. Through this artist circle experience, I reclaimed the joy and freedom of artistic self-expression to nourish my creativity and joy.

- Beth A. Bernstein

Lorna Cole
Guelph, Ontario, Canada

1. Lorna Cole, It's All About the Heart, 18"H X 24"W, Acrylic
2. Lorna Cole, Bot, 28"H X 22"W, Acrylic

3. Lorna Cole, Spring Forward, 18"H X 24"W, Acrylic, Posca Pens
4. Lorna Cole, Rocking It, 20"H X 24"W, Acrylic, Posca Pens

5. Lorna Cole, Spring Forward 2, 30"H X 24"W, Acrylic, Posca Pen
6. Lorna Cole, Freedom From Limitations, 30"H X 20"W, Acrylic, Posca Pen, Conte crayon

7. Lorna Cole Save Our Trees!, 24"H X 30"W, Acrylic, Posca Pen, Iridescent Silver
8. LornaCole, Save Our Birds!, 20"H X 30"W, Acrylic, Posca Pen, Iridescent Gold

"When I first visited Julie's website, I was very intrigued by the beauty and expressiveness of her abstract paintings. Immediately I wanted to learn as much as I could from this talented teaching artist. My past ability to create abstracts was severely limited and I had finally found the person to bring me through that jump into abstraction.

"Julie's training and oh-so-patient mentoring sessions using Zoom have been so impressive! I had created my first six abstract paintings and I needed to pull it all together - to know what was working and what my problems were. What a great idea to see my paintings individually on the Zoom screen where Julie identifies problem areas and then we work together to make a better composition, virtually analyzing the weak spots and showing possible solutions.

"Julie spotted my weaknesses such as stopping a shape short of the edge (instead of going off the edge), lacking sufficient darks to make the rest of the painting glow and creating a focal point that has punch. Julie's patience, helpfulness and vast knowledge of art has been amazing and so nurturing. Her guidance has sent me on a wonderful creative adventure and has vastly improved my ability to analyze my own paintings as well as that of others with more understanding and appreciation. I have learned so much from Julie in such a short time. I heartily recommend her sessions to anyone who really wants to make great abstracts."

- Lorna Cole

Michelle Noel Hurteau
Kirkland, Washington

1. Michelle Noel Hurteau, Rebirth, 16x12, Acrylic on Paper
2. Michelle Noel Hurteau, The Gift, 16x12, Acrylic on Paper

3. Michelle Noel Hurteau, Integration, 11.75 x 16, Acrylic on Paper
4. Michelle Noel Hurteau, Stepping Into Joy, 24x20, Acrylic on Canvas

5. Michelle Noel Hurteau, Reimagine, 18x12, Acrylic on Paper
6. Michelle Noel Hurteau, Fear as Friend Not Foe, 16x12, Acrylic on Canvas

7. Michelle Noel Hurteau, It'sTime!, 16x12, Acrylic on Canvas, 2022
8. Michelle Noel Hurteau, More Joy. And So It Is, 30x24, Acrylic on Canvas

"You have a way of critiquing where people feel good about their work, plus you get your point across. And it's just so fun. You bring up so many ideas - things we can mix up and try later. You're bringing out parts of ourselves being expressed into the paint - onto the canvas - while teaching how to paint. I'm not sure there's any other workshop like this. You're just so heartfelt - you have a love for doing this. It's so uplifting, and I've benefitted tremendously from being in the Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle with you and the other amazing artist participants.

"Not that it's easy. These paintings are challenging. You're challenging us to go to another level with wherever we're at. And you know when to bring us to the next level and when to let us rest and gain confidence.

"You make room for a million different styles, while applying sound concepts that you're teaching us, like the ratio of dark to light, and bringing dark to the edge. It's made a world of difference. You have such a gift. I feel so grateful that you have chosen to partake in teaching. Julie, you're such an expert. The critique points sheet is so valuable. The Inspired Abstract process is such a rich teaching.

"Something you said that really got me is, 'At the beautiful mess, it's already a great painting. Now let's make it good.' I thought that concept was so life affirming, so hopeful and true, so unique. Validation that this creative intuition their soul has brought forward is already great - the act of creation made it great. Now we just have to make it good. Instead of what we've been taught, to work to get it from good to great."

- Michelle Noel Hurteau

Julie Bernstein Engelmann
Rimrock, Arizona

1. Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Fulfillment 1, 11x14, Acrylic and mixed media on Bristol paper
2. Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Hamonics, 11x14, Acrylic and marker on canvas

3. Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Open to Sharing, 30x28, Acrylic and Conte crayon on canvas
4. Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Open to Angels, 24x30, Acrylic and Conte crayon on canvas

5. Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Sustainable, 16x20, Acrylic and Conte crayon on canvas
6. Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Open and Available, 16x20, Acrylic and markers on canvas

7. Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Sedona Journal, 16x20, Acrylic, Conte crayon, and marker on canvas
8. Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Open Sanctuary, 24x30, Acrylic, Conte crayon, and marker on canvas

So that you can better appreciate the show, I'll tell you about three qualities I teach. Maybe you can find them in the artworks!

1. Meaning. To give meaning to the circle's painting projects, I set out four themes that we followed during the course of two half-year cycles: 1. Embody Your Word, 2. Healing and Transmuting, 3. Delve the Depths, and 4. Reach to a Dream. Each painting started with a visualization and free writing or drawing, usually on the canvas with eyes closed, to focus on a specific energy that makes this painting different from any other.

2. Naturalness. With each theme, we explored surprising approaches to keep everyone on their toes, so they couldn't resort to old patterns. We shuffled the layers of the painting, mixed different dry media over or under the acrylics, increased the drama of dark and light, and used different mark-making and stenciling tools. Not quite knowing what you're doing allows for freshness that unleashes the joy and spirit of the paint.

3. Spatial depth and flow. Layering offers beautiful complexity that lends itself to depth. And if you're aware of the flow in your painting, you can vastly enhance that depth, as if the viewer can walk into the virtual space of the painting. I show artists how to perceive this flow and bring their painting to life. The circle gave the artists time to absorb this skill.

In the show above, you've seen widely diverse paintings, yet all come alive. The qualities of meaning, naturalness, spatial depth and flow make the pieces rich, interesting, complex, coherent, dimensional, and dynamic, each in their own way.

The artists in this show are certainly dedicated, yet the transformation of paintings through meaning, naturalness, spatial depth and flow happens with everyone - beginners too! Take The Living Abstract Workshop and see what comes out of your brush!

- Julie Bernstein Engelmann

Thank you for visiting and exploring the artworks!

Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle 2022 Culminating Online Exhibition Event

Hear stories from the Circle as the artists speak about their body of artwork created over the year.
To click to specific content, view description on YouTube or see below. 53:37 minutes.

Content timing
0:14 Welcome
1:53 Introduction to the Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle
3:16 Overview of show and three abstract painting principles
7:22 Beth A. Bernstein presents her artwork and experience in Circle
14:58 Julie responds to Beth (art brings the unknown into known)
16:39 Lorna Cole presents her artwork and experience in Circle
23:04 Julie responds to Lorna (mark-making references; pain as power for art)
25:36 Michelle Noel Hurteau presents her artwork and experience in Circle
34:41 Julie responds to Michelle (art from structured vs unstructured mind; painting as portal)
38:16 Julie Bernstein Engelmann artwork and experience teaching Circle (checkpoints)
41:14 Conclusion
42:05 Upcoming Living Abstract Workshop and Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle
43:40 Q&A excerpts
- 43:40 Healing colors
- 46:05 Appreciation for Beth's paintings
- 46:29 Structured vs unstructured (refers to theory at 35:50)
- 47:47 Appreciation for Lorna's paintings
- 48:50 Appreciation for Michelle's paintings
- 49:21 To see process, more on Living Abstract Workshop
- 51:17 Appreciation for artists sharing their experiences
52:02 Closing comments
53:37 End

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© 2022 Julie Bernstein Engelmann.
Photos were submitted by each respective artist © 2022.