View Full Version : A novice's question

01-04-2002, 03:55 PM
I am participating in the Art Project entitled "Anything Abstract" I have played around with a photo of a praying mantis and did what I thought was a process that totally abstracted it. Yet, in the watercolor forum I participate in someone said that instructors have told him that anything natural cannot be abstracted...I'd be interested in hearing what those of you who prefer to work in this category have to say about what is abstract. Thanks.

01-05-2002, 03:59 AM
anything can be abstracted imo.


01-05-2002, 09:22 AM
The teacher is talking through his *** (or **** for us UK readers). ;) Anything painted will be "natural" won't it? Insects, animals, buildings that people made, created objects, even FELLINGS and pattern and colour are natural. What a silly statement. Ignore it and show us your praying mantis! :) Some of the best abstract artists progressed from realist subjects and paintings and abstracted from there towards their final expression. The goal will vary for each artist - some are going for pure form, others for colour, others for emotion, others for conflict, etc.


01-05-2002, 09:36 AM
This is the final reference photo I came up with after I did all kinds of maneuvering with it using my scanner. I think the only part of the mantis that might still be recognizable is his arm, which is mirrored and so looks like a face shape of sorts. If you want to see what it started as go to community and click on art projects...Go into the anything abstract category and my works in progress are listed under catjoe. Thanks for your comments...this is the first time I have tried anything abstract and I have been having a great time with it.

01-05-2002, 09:42 AM
Here is the image.

01-05-2002, 01:29 PM
Good attempt! Looks awesome!

01-05-2002, 01:58 PM
Thanks Dnip24, this is just the final scan, I still have to attempt to put it to paper and paint. I like the way it looks though...a space creature of sorts.

01-05-2002, 02:13 PM
Very alien looking.:) :)

01-05-2002, 04:05 PM
it's pretty interesting to see what different peoples' ideas of abstract art are... and what bright, lovely colours on your piece! :) on a more personal realm, i like to think anything can be abstracted, even the idea of "natural", so don't worry... your artist's instinct will tell you when to stop, when everything's just right. thoughtful insights though... brought up a good point there, catjoe... what does the word abstract mean to you?

01-05-2002, 04:33 PM
damn cool looking.

abstraction is also a matter of degree. you can still see what something is, and have it be abstracted from its normal state.

01-05-2002, 09:45 PM
Thanks for all the comments everyone...hlee thanks for the "anything abstract" project, if I remember correctly you are the creator of it. I have had a good time working at it because it bumped me out of my usual habits and let me have some fun. To me abstraction would be something out of the ordinary that you might only see once...or something ordinary made extraordinary by changing its usual state into something more...better stop trying to describe what I think before I show myself totally senseless :>)

01-05-2002, 11:53 PM
i see a purple praying mantis :D

01-06-2002, 10:58 AM
catjoe - take it a little further. Try "matting off" areas from different angles (you can take a piece of white cardboard and cut a square/rectangle in the middle).

also - think about edges as part of the image/abstraction.

Don't forget the fundamentals - value/contrast/ hard and soft linear elements, disappearing line, flattening out versus evident foreground/background. and all the rest...............

PS - just thought of an exercise I did in school. Abstracting in increments.
1. a realistic rendition of a tube of paint

2. slightly abstracted/out of kilter/perspective

3. taken further, object becoming more obscured/indefinable as "a tube of paint"

4. Total abstraction - shapes/lights/darks/colors etc.

Great learning exercise.

edited for typing errors and PS