Featured Artist: Erin McIntosh

When I think of local artists whose work I can immediately recognize, Erin McIntosh always comes to mind. I have had the pleasure of admiring a few of her abstract paintings during my time here at the frame shop, and I have always responded to the energy and beautifully layered colors. It’s no surprise that Erin is the daughter of an artist (her mother is a painter) and that her interest in art was nurtured by her family from a very young age.

“My dad reminded me recently that around age 3, I would make a drawing, crumple it up, and promptly start a new one. This might explain why I’m ok with painting over older paintings and building paintings up in layers.” - Erin

Erin was born in Ohio and spent time in Texas and Alabama before settling in Georgia in the 90s. Though always interested in art, Erin was also very active in classical ballet, singing and sports. She was encouraged by her mom to study painting, drawing and Art Education in college, where she began her painting journey with oils. In her junior year of college she was introduced to acrylics and really responded to their versatility. In 2008, Erin also began to work seriously with watercolors.

Erin has a special ability to work with these mediums in a way that brings the canvas to life with the colors she mixes and the shapes she forms. She draws inspiration from a multitude of sources, from plants, microbiology and landscapes to architecture, fashion and quilts. She also finds inspiration in the works of early Renaissance Italian art, Abstract Expressionists and Impressionists. Over the years, Erin has worked back and forth within a few recurring series, such as impressionist-inspired dot paintings, microbes and more geometric architectural work.

“Over the past 20 years, I have learned to be more precise and intentional with color mixing and composition. I work very intuitively in the abstract works, but as with anything, the more you do, the more experience you have with a series...I feel like I can arrive at a finished painting more quickly.  I look back at paintings from 15-20 years ago and see compositional tendencies that are still present. The biggest thing I notice when I paint now is I feel more confident anticipating how specific pigments will mix, and my color mixing is less accidental.” - Erin

To create her abstract pieces, Erin begins by covering the blank canvas with a few large shapes in 2-3 mixed colors. She then works in layers of contrasting colors, working outward with smaller shapes, responding to what is there and adjusting as she moves through the layers. She describes the initial process as more “arbitrary” and it is not until the middle stages of the painting that a more concrete direction emerges.

In the future, Erin plans to continue working with the concepts she finds herself cycling through, developing them in new ways. She recently experimented with an additive that gives a watercolor effect to acrylic paints and plans to use this to expand on her “Microbe” series, which has only existed in watercolor up to this point. Of course, new ideas and inspiration are always available:

“I've been riding a road bike off and on for the past 15 years...part of what I enjoy about riding my bike is looking at the landscape. It's led to painting more landscapes, which is something I would like to delve more deeply into, alongside the abstracts. Still figuring these out - how to make them more abstractly. Lots to learn!” - Erin

You can see more of Erin’s work at her website erinmcintosh.com

Her work is also available at Gregg Irby Gallery in Atlanta, Weinberger Fine Art in Kansas City, and ARTicles Gallery in St. Petersburg.

You can also follow her on instagram: @erinmcintosh