Jeanne Rehrig


My art is about abstractions inherent in natural forms.

I work from life and from photographs. I find it fascinating that microscopic images are often very similar in shape and pattern to natural phenomenon seen by the naked eye. I am equally impressed by the similarities in form and pattern found in photographs taken from space.

In some of my recent work, I attempt to achieve an atmospheric effect by a process of layering paint. I work on both paper and canvas.

Gouache is the medium of choice for my paper pieces, which tend to be small. Gouache is similar to watercolor, but modified to make it an opaque painting medium. It can be used in a direct manner or thinned down to create a transparent effect. By combining these techniques, I can create an illusion of depth in my work. This is evident in a painting called ‘Break on Through’. Here solid, filament-like forms emerge from the side of the piece out over a fluid background.

My canvas pieces, which are larger, employ a combination of acrylic paint and water-soluble oils. I apply the acrylic to unprimed canvas by pouring it on and manipulating it with a brush when necessary. At this stage, I am concerned with the movement of the piece. I usually limit my acrylic colors to three, two that are analogous and one accent or complimentary color. After this stage is complete, I begin sketching for the next layer, on which I apply the oil paint. My canvas pieces and paper pieces are approached the same way in regards to the layering. I most often base my color choices on the original form I’m abstracting from.

Once a painting is set up, much of the process in intuitive. It is a dance between the original structure and the insistence of the unconscious.

My early influences were the American Abstract Expressionists, particularly Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis. Other early influences were Georgia O’Keefe and Arthur Dove, who worked from nature and found abstract color and form equivalents for inner emotional states.