View Full Version : Green Apple

Deborah Secor
08-18-2004, 10:37 PM


In the ESP thread we're scumbling and glazing apples and oranges, so I had the picture sitting by my easel and decided to play with this one as a demo for my class tomorrow. So, I thought I'd show it to you. I'm teaching how to abstract, in the larger sense of "art that depicts real forms in a simplified or rather reduced way--keeping only an allusion of the original natural subject."

I liked the pink and green--very 1960s! :rolleyes:

Oh--and the underdrawing shows the changes I made...


08-18-2004, 10:48 PM
I wish I were enrolled in your class!!! Your students are very lucky to have you as their teacher. I've been wondering how I could make my work look more like artsy. Thanks for sharing.


Deborah Secor
08-18-2004, 11:18 PM
An artsy apple! Love it. Maybe if I have lecture notes I can share them with you. I bet others here would have some good stuff to add to a discussion of abstraction.

Thanks, Gwen!


08-19-2004, 12:54 AM
durn, my mind won't grasp the name, but I'm thinking of the sculptor that went for pure simplest form....would be interesting to keep taking this down til it's as pure and simple as the heart of an angel :angel:
would be a neat series to go from purely realistic to that too :D

08-20-2004, 05:11 PM
Dee, I'd truly appreciate it if you'd share your notes. I want to learn all I can!


08-20-2004, 11:08 PM
Love drawing apples!!! This one is fantabulous!! :D:D

08-21-2004, 03:02 AM
Your right about the colors having that 60's feel.....what would you say that the colors of today are? I think purple is definately way up there on the list. We all use it in every painting we do it seems..

Deborah Secor
08-21-2004, 12:27 PM
Preston, I have no idea... My personal favorite colors in any painting are some version of purple and orange!

Gwen, you can see the demo I did in this class in my thread, Tree Trio (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=210718). It isn't the most successful or beautiful painting, but I think it goes with this lesson!

Here are some of the things I talked about.


'Abstract' definitions:

Abstract art is defined as art that has no reference to any figurative reality. In its wider definition the term describes art that depicts real forms in a simplified or rather reduced way - keeping only an allusion of the original natural subject.

Abstract artists select and then exaggerate or simplify the forms suggested by the world around them. Abstract Art is art that is not an accurate representation of a form or object. This representation can be differed in many ways including the shape, color, and form. The artist takes the object and then either simplifies it or exaggerates it using these things.

Images that are no longer recognizable as objects, people, or landscapes, but try to convey mood, feeling or atmosphere through color, shape and form. Often, abstract artists will begin with something familiar, such as a landscape, and develop the work into something abstract.

ďPeople are afraid of the word Ďabstract,í but it just means Ďsimplify.í Unlike a realist, who finds details, I find patterns. I let the shapes function as the subject. I may enhance the patter, but I do not change the design; I enhance the color. I put in enough reality to make the subject recognizable, but no more than that.Ē
--Ann Templeton

Abstraction isnít always about distortion but it is always a distillation.

Begin by analyzing your photograph as a set of interesting shapes. Remember that shapes are flat, 2-dimensional. Design the shapes so that they are organized in an interesting way with a focal area, good contrast, restful areas, and make sure all the shapes support one another. Donít let the shapes become random or disjointed. Donít allow shapes to draw the eye away from the focal area.

Itís easiest if you abstract from a recognizable object, which is part of why youíll be more successful as an abstract painter if you already have some experience with the subject. Generally youíll have an easier time of it if you have some practice in form, color and modeling. So choose something you know (like the apple.)

One important thing to remember is that you arenít just messing around when youíre abstracting. It isnít deliberate sloppiness or carelessness, nor is this exercise meant to be only expressive, though it will express. It isnít a reliance on color only or line only or paint (in our case pastel) only. Instead try to think your way through this, using a certain amount of discipline.

Using your photo, find interesting shapes in it. It might not be the whole photo! Distillation is the key here, so look for underlying shapes that are interesting and beautiful. Do some quick sketches, some thumbnails, or use a little mat to find an interesting part. Donít just begin with the photo until youíve analyzed what works and why. Rearrange things a bit to strengthen the shapes.

Then think in terms of form. Distill things again. See the triangle of the bush as an upside down pyramid or the tree as an ice cream cone shape. As you do this part of the sketch you should be analyzing forms and seeing how odd they really are. Things should begin to look a little strange. Draw enough that you are getting out of your usual way of seeing. It may take a few drawings before you can see things clearly. Add your values at this point, too, but NOT details! In fact, donít do any details in the drawing or underdrawing stage. Forego details for now. They may come later, only where needed.

Now do a quick, intuitive, rough, loose sketch in charcoal on your paper. Donít draw carefully! Donít rely only on lines, add dark areas, massed together to make the focal point apparent. Exaggerate things. Go DARK. Stay loose. Have fun. Stop and look at it.

When youíre fairly happy with the underdrawingóthe loose, fast underdrawingóstop and consider what colors you want to use. Stare at the photo and imagine the colors that could be there, enhanced so theyíre far more brilliant. Exaggerate again. If itís a blue gray, think of it as blue, really brilliant blue. If itís somewhat yellowish, make it screaming yellow. If itís pale beige, make it white or yellow or light blue or pink or salmon. Think it through first, planning an interesting contrast or harmony of colors. Think about what colors you could put underneath and which on top. For instance, if youíre going to use pink, put bright yellow-green of the same value underneath it. Think of fun combinations, but stick to the correct values.

Then just go paint it. Play. Have some fun. If you blow a color, use your foam brush to wipe it off and put in one thatís the right value or color. Stay loose and stop frequently.

You should begin to sense something new. Thereís a complex relationship between color and form going on here. Thatís when you start doing abstraction. It becomes a collection of shapes, forms, colors and some details, that express more about the place than was actually in the photograph to begin with.

Hope that helps you. Try some of this... it's challenging and fun.


08-21-2004, 02:10 PM
Thanks so much, Dee!!!!!!!


08-21-2004, 06:14 PM
Wonderful lesson Deborah. Wish I was in your class.