Featured Artist Denise Presnell

Painter Denise Presnell intuitively captures the rippling, reflective movement of water in her art. Enjoy her portfolio and visit her website to learn more about the artist.

 

“Evergreen Reflections IV” Acrylic and Oil Paint Stick on Canvas, 30” x 40” by artist Denise Presnell. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Evergreen Reflections IV” Acrylic and Oil Paint Stick on Canvas, 30” x 40”

 

I am an artist living and working in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. I cannot remember ever thinking I wasn’t an artist. From the time I was a child growing up in a small town in Nebraska, I was always drawing, making my own paper dolls or building villages in the dirt hill in our back yard. I knew I would have to have some kind of a job, but it would only be as a means of supporting my art.

 

“Pondering Imperfection” Acrylic and Oil Paint Stick on Canvas, 72” x 36” by artist Denise Presnell. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Pondering Imperfection” Acrylic and Oil Paint Stick on Canvas, 72” x 36”

 

Even once I grew up and got my undergraduate and graduate degrees in art, it was a practical way of getting a job. I ended up teaching art on the college level for about thirty years, but I never considered myself to be a professor–I was an artist who taught.

 

“Koi Ripples I” Acrylic and Oil Paint Stick on Canvas, 48” x 48” by artist Denise Presnell. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Koi Ripples I” Acrylic and Oil Paint Stick on Canvas, 48” x 48”

 

For the past year, I have had the luxury of being a full-time artist for the first time.

 

“Evergreen Reflections III” Acrylic and Oil Paint Stick on Canvas, 30” x 40” by artist Denise Presnell. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Evergreen Reflections III” Acrylic and Oil Paint Stick on Canvas, 30” x 40”

 

I have been working mostly on two different series which revolve around nature and in particular, water reflections. The pieces, titled “Evergreen Reflections III & IV” and “Under Calumet Bridge” are from a series of images of the Pigeon River in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where I lived for twenty-eight years. That’s where I first became fascinated with the abstraction of the images reflected in the moving water. The color and forms are obviously even more abstracted in the painted form.

 

“Under Calumet Bridge” Acrylic and Oil Paint Stick on Canvas, 48” x 36” by artist Denise Presnell. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Under Calumet Bridge” Acrylic and Oil Paint Stick on Canvas, 48” x 36”

 

The second series I have been working on is inspired by the reflections in a koi pond at the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota. I love the contrast between the deep, dark colors of the water against the brightly colored koi. Additionally, the ceiling in the conservatory where the pond is housed is glass, and the sky’s reflection adds to the active color drama going on.

 

“More Rippling” WIP, Steps 1 and 2—early steps in artist Denise Presnell’s process by artist Denise Presnell. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“More Rippling” WIP, Steps 1 and 2—early steps in artist Denise Presnell’s process

 

The method I have developed with both my canvases and pastels has basically four steps. I start with an acrylic ground. The paint is very thin in order to let the brush strokes remain visible.

 

“More Rippling” Acrylic and Oil Paint Stick on Canvas, 36” x 48” by artist Denise Presnell. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“More Rippling” Acrylic and Oil Paint Stick on Canvas, 36” x 48”

 

The next step is very random and gestural. I lay the canvas or paper on the floor of my studio and use either acrylic inks or fluid acrylic paint in any color that inspires me. I draw random shapes and forms, or somewhat follow the shapes in the ground layer.

 

“Koi Ripples V” Acrylic and Oil Paint Stick on Canvas, 48” x 48” by artist Denise Presnell. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Koi Ripples V” Acrylic and Oil Paint Stick on Canvas, 48” x 48”

 

To add an even more random step to the process, I stand the canvas or paper up vertically and let it drip. The contrast between random accidents and more decisive mark making thrills me.

 

“Koi Ripples III” Soft Pastel and Acrylic on Paper, 16” x 29” by artist Denise Presnell. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Koi Ripples III” Soft Pastel and Acrylic on Paper, 16” x 29”

 

The next layer is acrylic that begins to bring the image up without completely covering the earlier steps. And finally, with the canvases, I add a layer of intuitively applied oil paint stick marks. In the pastels, the final layer is soft pastel marks.

 

“Another Wild Hair” Soft Pastel and Acrylic on Paper, 31” x 23” by artist Denise Presnell. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Another Wild Hair” Soft Pastel and Acrylic on Paper, 31” x 23”

 

This method reflects my interest of seeing beneath the surface of things. The surface is messy and the colors go outside of nature’s palette. Yet I hope my work gives the viewer an active experience where they find surprises and unexpected pleasure.

 

Artist Denise Presnell invites you to follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

 

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