Zach’s At-Home Studio Keeps Us Guessing: Abstraction and Nature

compiled by Erin Barach

Everyone can agree that working from home has advantages and disadvantages, and the same can certainly be said about at-home art practices.

Zach has mostly been able to find the advantages! Like all of our artists, since the pandemic began, Zach Manuel has been working diligently on his artwork at home, but he has perhaps been making more art than most and in a wider variety of styles and with an expanded range of methods.

Last year at this time, having recently gone into lockdown, as part of Autism Acceptance Month Zach wrote a post about a series he was making at the time. Flash forward, and he has continued work on that series and many more.

During the pandemic he has kept us up-to-date on his many artistic explorations and breakthroughs, zooming into virtual studio sessions, corresponding with staff about his progress by email, and keeping all lines of communication open!

I first discovered trying my hand at abstract art in 2015, when my regular art started hitting a dry spell, and I wanted to try something new to catch visitors’ attention. At first, I was figuratively throwing crap to the wall and hoping that something stacked, but after a while I began enjoying combining colors in various shapes, especially if the colors came together in an elegant way.

“Psychedelic Autumn Colors”

My reason for looking to nature for inspiration is because I’ve always been fascinated by it, especially the fantastic colors that exist in it.

Sometimes the line between abstraction and landscape is blurred completely in Zach’s work.

“Pebbles in Water”

A major source of inspiration for Zach is artist and celebrity Bob Ross.

I began watching old episodes of the “Bob Ross” painting show on Netflix and Hulu in 2018 (ish), because I thought it would help hone my painting skills. I learned many new things by watching him paint, such as use of color, mostly soft colors. I also bought a book of Bob Ross’s paintings from the Giant, which I have been using as a reference ever since.

“Faded Colors in Winter” available in our online shop!
“Abstract Waterfall” available in our online shop!

You can check out more of Zach’s nature-inspired works in the Landscapes and Abstraction sections of our online shop, all of which are for sale!

In the next, and final, installment of this of blog series from Zach, we’ll share how some of his artwork explores portraiture and character studies.

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