John Salminen’s Abstract Paintings


For the January-February 2009 issue of The Artist’s Magazine, John Salminen’s realistic evocations of the city that are rendered in watercolour were showcased. Another thing that was revealed about Salminen is that he also paints in the abstract idiom. For such types of pictures, he makes use of acrylics or mixed water media. You might be interested on how these two bodies of work, the realistic depictions of the urban scene in water color and abstract expressionist paintings in acrylic and other media harmonize with one another.

Here’s what the famous John Salminen has to say. He said that he do move back and forth between the two styles. If he is searching for urban street scenes that he can make realistic through his paintings, he searches through the viewfinder of the camera with the intent of finding that perfect design or composition. Most often than not, when he get the photographs back, he finds that they are close but not exactly what he had envisioned. Thus, he has to take, for instance, some figures from another photograph and incorporate them. Once the process of planning the composition is finalized, he then obtains a pretty good idea on how he wants his painting to look. Such painting process turns out to be a slow march toward this known goal.

He also said that when he does a mixed media abstract expressionist painting, he has no idea on how his painting is going to end up. In the end, it always comes as a surprise to him. What the course of the painting is the painting itself. Overall, it appears that the two processes are the same however the end results are very different. In his realist paintings, John said that he has a very clear idea of where he wants that painting to end up. On the other hand, in his abstract art paintings, he said that he really has no idea on what the painting is going to look like when it’s completed. He further stated: “The processes complement one another beautifully, and the abstract painting, pure abstraction, strengthens what I’m able to do when I paint realistically. What I’m forced to do with the realistic painting ends up being a technical contribution to the abstract painting.” He also said that he thinks the two styles at least have become a continuation of the same process, even if the end results of the two look very different. Catch his remarkable paintings in his abstract art gallery.

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