Denise Presnell

Exploration of Interior Landscape and Atmosphere

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I was recently asked if my abstract paintings were inspired by “the lake” (Meaning Lake Michigan – which I live near.). My response was, “Not that I’m aware of. I work from the inside out, not the outside in”. That ambiguous answer matches the ambiguous space in my work perfectly. I’m not trying to create a style that can be easily pinned down. In fact, when I work, I don’t think about style at all. I don’t consider the resulting imagery a statement of ‘self’, moreover, I think of it as something that comes from beneath ‘self’.


Physically, my abstract work embraces the malleability and substance of oil and cold wax as well as the spatial and emotional qualities of color. I am most interested in the underlying messages color sends to our senses, not necessarily our minds and memories. The medium of oil and cold wax affords a layering process that can result in rich, lush displays of color that is alive with its subtle variation in value and chroma. The medium also allows for a peek into the deep underbelly of a painting that has been built up and torn down throughout the process.

My goal in painting is to arrive at a deep, sensual message that resonates not only with my senses, but with that of the viewer.