Featured Artist Donna Horn

Artist Donna Horn presents a collection of boldly colorful abstracts constructed like musical works. See more from this talented artist by visiting her website.


bold abstract painting by Donna Horn

“Opposing Forces” oil and pigment stick on Arches oil paper, 16″ x 20″


I have always made art in some form, starting with a love of drawing that began in my childhood. Although I studied art in college, I pursued a career in marketing before I decided to return to school for a BFA in art education. As a result, I redirected myself to full-time painting and drawing.


colorful abstract by artist Donna Horn

“Thrown a Curve” oil and pigment stick on panel, 24″ x 24″


It’s been a wonderful journey of discovery, experimentation, frustration, and reward. I don’t feel that I am truly myself unless I am making art.


Vibrant abstract by painter Donna Horn

“Golden Fields” oil and pigment stick on panel, 24″ x 24″


Starting off as a representational painter, I chose traditional subjects of figures, landscapes and still life. I evolved into an abstract painter, but I still find working from life to be a useful exercise to keep my powers of observation keen.


Colorful abstract painting by Donna Horn

“Heart of the Matter” oil and pigment stick on Arches oil paper, 16″ x 20″


Nature and a sense of place have long inspired me. I began to use the landscape as a point of departure for paintings that became more abstract. Concentrating on the shapes rooted in my vision of landscape, I began to focus on the tactile quality of paint.


Artist Donna Horn with her paintings

Artist Donna Horn with a series of her paintings


I started using cold wax mixed with oils, to add texture, as well as pigment sticks, which impart a different surface quality. I will paint over sections of a piece, or scrap back paint with a tool, creating a sense of history, as well as a physical presence of the medium. Eventually, I freed myself of referencing anything in the real world. I concentrate on the formal elements of painting, particularly color, supported by shape and gestural line.


abstract artwork by Donna Horn

“A Suitable Arrangement” oil and pigment stick on panel; 24″ x 24″


In addition to painting, part of my practice involves making drawings in black, white, and other neutral colors. Here I focus on composition and mark-making, often incorporating collage elements.


Abstract painting with leaves by Donna Horn

“New Leaf” oil and pigment stick on panel, 24″ x 24″


I generally work in small series and enjoy going from one painting to another during any studio session. Working intuitively, I don’t plan out how a painting will look. The work evolves organically, as each decision in the painting leads to the next one. It is as if the painting is telling me what to do next … there is a dialogue going on between me and the canvas. Making all the pieces in a painting work well together is a bit like solving a puzzle or creating a cohesive piece of music.


abstract painting by artist Donna Horn

“Making Connections” oil and pigment stick on panel; 24″ x 24″


My artistic influences include a number of Abstract Expressionists. Like many of these artists, painting for me often comes from a place in the subconscious. I can’t say why I paint what I do. I just know that when a painting is resolved for me, there is a deep feeling of satisfaction and connection to what it means to be human and imbued with the gift of self-expression.


Colorful abstract painting by artist Donna Horn

“No Nonsense” oil and pigment stick on paper mounted on panel, 17″ x 21″


Many of my paintings display a distinct figure/ground relationship. There is clearly an “object” that emerges surrounded by bordered shapes which actively engage with the edges of the picture plane. I don’t offer interpretations of my work, but I do love to learn what the viewer sees in a painting and what meaning it imparts.


Donna Horn invites you to follow her on Instagram.


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