View Full Version : How do I paint Abstract

09-24-2001, 09:51 AM
I am currently trying to apply for university and I will have to attend an interview and present a portfolio. I have heard that many uni's these days like to see a decent selection of abstract art alongside rough sketches and other styles. My problem is that I have never found abstract something easy to do successfully. Does anyone have any hints on how I can produce at least some abstract sketches that I can put in my portfolio? Is there something I can do to loosen up a more realistic style in order to achieve abstraction? What am I aiming for? Thanks

09-24-2001, 11:08 AM
There are so many styles of abstract you can check out a number of site and see what I mean maybe that will help you find what your after. My site is mostly abstract even my landscapes I don't use pictures or anything I just make them up as I go, colors are as I feel also. Go luck!:)

09-24-2001, 01:13 PM
When I do an abstract I just flail away letting the physical movement of my body & arm take me along: it's sorta like dancing.

One way of getting from realistic to abstract is do quick sketching with your paint. Like give yourself 30 seconds or less to do a figure, a plein air scene or a still life. Then extend the resulting picture by multiplying the lines & shapes. Sort of a ripple effect.

Or make a random constellation of marks on the canvas using a handful of colors, then work out ways of joining them in terms of line, form & color.

Another way, & one often used in art photography, is to home in on a single detail & make it fill the whole frame.

There's no wrong way to do it.

OTH one's mind will always try to make the abstract look like a recognizable something: that's the way we're wired.

09-25-2001, 07:39 AM
Thanks for your replies, I will try to use some of your suggestions to come up with some abstract work, maybe when I do I will post them here for you to check out for me!

09-25-2001, 09:33 AM
Make your own art - whatever that is. DON'T make work you think will appeal to the "academic gods". They'll spot it in a split second. Remember, they've looked at a hell of lot more student applications than you have.....

Do what you do. Trust your own instincts.

Aside - Abstract IS NOT "anything". You don't just make abstract work, you ARRIVE at it through learning/studying/doing. Same rules of basic design apply whatever your style/genre. Abstract work is no less about ideas/acumen/artistic competence than early Renaissance. Sheesh!

09-25-2001, 10:20 AM
I agree with mame. On the academic level abstract (I think) is usually seen not as random movement and colour but as a progression from figurative work to a loosening of definition and form to express something more intangible. Random paintings probably won't impress the jury.

I think an art school will judge you on your merits. Go in and tell them quite honestly what you've told us. That you have experimented with abstract but found it quite difficult. Tell them you have focused on figurative work and technique (if you have). One thing you can look forward to in classes is guidance towards how to express yourself more abstractly. Tell them that! It shows not only ambition to get into school but that you have ideas of future progress too.

Most of my work is semi- or near-abstract, meaning it's quite loose but still has a subject. Only very recently (as in the past couple weeks) has yet another barrier been broken and I've produced some truly abstract work. Mind you, I've been working with an abstract artist for about two years now who has helped me move slowly towards this goal. Ironically, it was a post here in oil painting that broke down the barrier in my brain. :)

Best of luck in your interview!

09-25-2001, 04:18 PM
You're good, timelady! A very nice "word" painting.:D

09-26-2001, 05:47 AM
Aw, shucks, thanks mame. Sometimes I do manage to get something communicated in my ramblings...

I'd like to add that bug's idea is still worthwhile too - read about abstraction. You might not do it, but you can still look at it and decide which artists and styles and directions you appreciate most. Finding which speak to you might help you figure out how or WHY you want to abstract your own work. :)