Friday, January 16, 2015

Abstract #1 Workshop - A new instructional painting video!

     This is Stephen Lursen and I am so excited to be releasing a brand new art instructional video called Abstract Workshop 1. In this video I take you step by step from a blank 12"x12" gallery depth canvas to the final brush stroke of this beautiful abstract painting. Working in a completely intuitive process, this beautiful completely abstract painting has a focus on Light Molding Paste, palette knives, and pointillism. I selected a cool color palette to create a rich and highly textured background and then brighten and warm the work of art with touches of magenta, pink, orange, and yellow.

     In this workshop, you will learn about proper canvas preparation, color mixing, creating thick paint paste with Light Molding Paste, pointillism, the intuitive painter's process, and the ever important question of "How do I know when I'm finished?"

     Abstract #1 workshop is so exciting for me because it marks the first completely intuitive painting I have ever filmed. Watch and work along with me to experience your own ground breaking moments and unlock your passion not only for looking at abstracts but for painting them!

    I had such a blast making this painting and I am sure you will too! If you are experiencing colder weather and dream of bright colorful days to keep you warm and inspired through the season, this is the painting for you. please take a moment and watch the preview. The whole workshop video is approximately 53 minutes divided into 4 separate chapters for easier streaming and downloading. It costs $25 and is such a great value as you can watch it as many times as you like and rework a completely new canvas every time. The quality is in 720 HD which is nice for clarity. You can find the online video at:

    Thank you so much! I am really excited to get to share this painting process with you!


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Beach Paintings - Estrada Family Commission

My Grandfather Dr. Paul Sacco past away a couple years ago. I miss him very much. Around 4 or 5 years ago, we collaborated on an acrylic landscape painting. My grandfather was a great influence and inspiration to me in many ways, one of those ways was art.  He started painting when he turned 80 and painted until he passed away at 102. I grew up calling him Papa. He painted the top half and I painted the bottom half. I'm not proud of my work necessarily because I did it in a couple hours one afternoon, but I love this painting because of what it represents to me. It is the only work we ever did together. My Aunt Therese and Uncle Tony Estrada now have it hanging on the wall of their living room. My Aunt commissioned me to create three smaller beach scenes to hang on the same wall. The three beach paintings are on 11" x 14" canvases.

Conklin Commission: family portrait drawing

Our good friends Josh and Brittany recently asked me to create a hand drawn collage of family portraits. The overall matte size within the frame is 22"x28". The work includes three 8" x 10" graphite pencil drawings on acid free drawing paper.

just a detail of the frame

Brittany's Great Grandfather

Brittany's Dad on the left and grandfather on the right

Brittany's Great Grandfather holding her Grandfather

Color Splash Painting

This is the 36"x 36" painting that my wife Cara and I worked on together immediately following the Galaxy Splash Abstract painting. This is also an acrylic painting, but has no gold leaf. Sometimes... rarely,  I edit back the labor in a painting and this is probably the simplest painting I have ever worked on of this size. Part of the motivation of editing back was because I was working on this painting with Cara who has simpler and more colorful taste than I do. I do enjoy collaborating on paintings with others because you always create artwork that neither would have done on their own. As you can see, we rotated the canvas and dripped the paint in opposing directions to free us up to be able to determine which orientation we wanted most. If your drips are only in one direction, that implies gravity and causes most viewers to assume that the drips fall down and if you rotate the canvas in any other direction it may seam wrong. To combat that thinking, we dripped in different directions. We used glass bead medium, white flake medium, and multiple fluid mediums to increase splatter ability of paints. We finger painted the majority of the left side to create energy without showing obvious brush strokes.

Detail images below:

Galaxy Splash Abstract Painting - SOLD!!!

About a year ago, my wife and I wanted to work on a painting together for our home. We had done that twice before and we no longer had either of the paintings because they sold. In the past, my personal style was much more neutral in color palette, and my wife Cara loves bright bold color. As any husband knows, 'If Momma aint happy, aint nobody happy!'. So we started with a 36" x 36" gallery depth canvas and started throwing color down. We did actually work on the canvas while it was laying flat so that we truly could sling paint down and it would stay where it was thrown. I've learned a lot about painting from working for and with Donna Downey. Her use of color, painting with her hands, and strategically laying down warm and cool colors separately to maintain the integrity of the colors. We only tilted the canvas up in specific stages when we wanted drips and runs in the paint to occur. I couldn't resist adding in some gold leaf. It's my thing!

SOLD!!! - I am proud to say that this painting was purchased by Artist Junelle Jacobsen!!! I was extremely humbled, proud, honored, and excited when I found out that she loved my painting so much she purchased it. Thank you so much Junelle!

Detail shots are below. One technique I learned from my Major Professor Tom Stanley in Grad School is sgraffito sgraf·fi·to/zɡräˈfētō,skrä-/
  1. a form of decoration made by scratching through a surface to reveal a lower layer of a contrasting color, typically done in plaster or stucco on walls, or in slip on ceramics before firing.

Sun and Moon Abstract Painting - For Sale

I recently wanted to experiment with layering materials known, with new materials to me. Materials and media I am very familiar with in this painting include acrylic paint, gold leaf, glitter, and ink. The new medium I incorporated to increase the depth of layers was Epoxy Resin. Specifically I used a product used to coat bar tops. One coat of this epoxy resin is the equivalent to 70 coats of polyurethane. I painted the background, then mixed the resin, poured on the resin. While the resin was fresh and wet, I sprinkled gold glitter and gold leaf into the glaze. I then had to spread the resin around the canvas to cover the whole surface. It took almost 3 days to dry because it was outside and coincidentally, it rained the majority of those days. You may wonder why I would keep it outside, especially if it was raining. Well, the epoxy resin produces toxic fumes during the curing process. It doesn't produce a smell, just toxins, so there is no way of measuring the potential poison. The art I produce will never be prioritized over my family's longterm health. And in the end, it turned out just as it was expected to. After it dried, I painted a whole new painting on top creating the geometric circular windows to the back layer. I love the layering benefit of the epoxy, so I know I will use it a lot in the summer, when drying time will reduce significantly.

Custom World Map with Gold Leaf - Sold!

I was recently in talks with some friends of my wife Cara and myself about creating an antique world map. Our friends the Lindigs wanted sepia tones and the words from 'How Great Thou Art' scrolled through the ocean like the smooth rolls of an ocean current. They didn't ask for gold leaf, but I love it so much that I couldn't help myself. I love how the bright reflective gold contrasts so nicely against the dark browns of the corner.