View Full Version : Bi-Weekly Pastel Challenge! Oct 20

10-20-2008, 07:57 AM
Hi to all you artists and welcome to the Bi-weekly Pastel Challenge! Every two weeks, I will be proposing a new and fun project to help you learn, explore, and have a blast with pastels.
This challenge is for all skill levels, and is open to soft pastel, hard pastel, and pastel pencil.

Your challenge this week is:
To Create a Pastel Abstract Painting!

Creating a good abstract comes down to basic design elements and principles of “making art”. Using good composition and shape is a good starting point.
Choosing a method:
Mood and emotion can be a good jump start to making abstract art. Psychologists use color theory to help individuals get in touch with their emotional intuition. If you are angry, red is a great color to imply an emotive response.
Music is another great way to be creative with art. Using the sounds, try to let the music come through in shape and color on the paper.
These could be classified as :
Non-objective ( no recognizable subject)

Another is using shape (abstracted shapes from realistic imagery) (a photo)

And realistic elements is another ( having abstract elements along with semi-realistic imagery included) Think Wolf Kahn and others.

Some Design Formats for Abstract Art:

Strata… think linear, good for landscapes.

Shapes…circles, squares, all geometric shapes can be used as a basis for a design. Triangular is often used in portraiture.

Diagonals…having a slant gives motion and can create excitement, and tension by having them intersect, but be careful of the triangles or angles created.

Cruciform… This is based on a cross, with the center of interest being in the intersection. They can be high, low, vertical or horizontal, or a combination.

Low Horizon/High Horizon…another good one for a abstract landscape.

Central Orientation…the point of interest is placed directly in the center, whether the placement is vertical or horizontal, with the emphasis right in the middle.

This is as technical as I will get on this project, so don’t stress over learning all elements and principles, just use one of the examples above and your talent, but most of all, experiment and have fun. Don’t forget you can use your under paintings to help create your design. And using watercolor, acrylic, etc… and letting some show as parts of the final is a good element also. You can also use plastic wrap in your wet paints to create interesting texture. While wet, place plastic on and let dry, then remove. Also rice paper, torn and crumpled, used the same way. A squirt bottle of water can be a good way to create abstract qualities in your wet paint stage, or by squirting into dry pastels and tilting around.Those of you interested in Notans, can use that principle to create great abstraction.

Diagonal and Strata Example
Cruciform Example

Semi-Realism example

Low/high Horizon Example

Using Photo Reference Example


10-20-2008, 08:12 AM
Some Pastel Abstract Artists:

First: Debora Stewart




Second Lynn Thorensen


10-20-2008, 08:17 AM
Wolf Kahn of Course

IAPS Winners Valerie Ashton and Diana Ponting

Even though Diana paints realism, I see a lot of abstract qualities in the macro of this, and the weave of the basket contrasting with the wrapper of the candies.

10-20-2008, 08:20 AM
And this is one of mine on grey wallis with Unisons


10-20-2008, 08:43 AM
Some photo references for you to use if you like...






10-20-2008, 08:46 AM
Nature is a great place to see abstract images. If you can, go outside and sketch studies of florals, leaves, mushrooms, bark, moss, lichen, rocks, seachells,etc... Or take your camera and zoom in on natural objects to get a wonderful closeup of the abstract imagery of nature.

Deborah Secor
10-20-2008, 12:01 PM
Here's one of mine that I like:


I did a lively underpainting in Createx Pure Pigments beneath my pastels in this one. It gave it a color boost and broke up the image so I could just get playful. This format came of a piece of leftover paper I wanted to use up.

Great exercise, Tress! I hope to play a bit this week with it...


Deborah Secor
10-20-2008, 12:09 PM
Found some that aren't really abstract paintings per se, but an abstracTION of reality, as you mentioned. Does this qualify?


Or this?



10-20-2008, 01:27 PM
Oh yea those qualify Deb! I really love the geometric shapes in the foreground of the first, and the broken swirls of color on the water of the second! I remember that long one! That was a way cool one! Glad you might get time to play on this one too!

10-20-2008, 03:49 PM
You're wicked, Tressa! Always kicking me out of my comfort zone. First it was "no, Robert, you don't need to own every color ever made, you really can mix primaries." Now it's abstractions.

What's worse is that I've got ideas, both from the references and from some things in real life.

Do these abstractions have to follow the forms shown or can I do other ideas, like mandalas or five-branched central forms?

10-20-2008, 04:19 PM
Wicked?...uh, yea that's me:evil:
Imma tossin ya outta the cushy place an inta the thorny unknown!!!:lol:
No, you don't have to use the forms suggested, they are just that, suggestions for people to use if they need direction. So, have at it, but if you or anyone else uses a different element of design please state your chosen, and it's priciples,ok, so others can learn from you.!

WC Lee
10-20-2008, 04:58 PM
hmm this one is gonna be a toughie especially when I'm not remotely good at abstractions ... actually downright terrible :D

10-20-2008, 05:14 PM
oh dear...I'm going to have to try this....and here I am trying so hard not to procrastinate....

Deborah, those pieces are beautiful!!!! I especially love the brilliant color and shapes in the first one.

10-20-2008, 05:30 PM
WC, I have full confidence in your ability to create a compostion, using shape, form and color:D :p :p

Kim, lol, no procrastinating, can't wait to see a realist jump in here!

Donna T
10-20-2008, 06:03 PM
Great examples, Tressa! I always want to try an abstract but I don't know how! Maybe I should start with baby steps - a semi-realistic design? (Gulp) Even that seems beyond me! Thanks for hosting this, I really look forward to what everyone comes up with.


10-20-2008, 06:23 PM
Come on Donna, and get your feet wet! The waters are not cold!:D
Try a simple design and your idea of an abstract realism is a good start!

Winny Kerr
10-20-2008, 06:25 PM
Oooops..... ABSTRACT :rolleyes: I had to think really hard on the 5 stick painting but this one is going to be a bigger brain user. However, I thank you Deborah because your two landscape examples helped a lot. I was going to ask if a Mary Silverwood Style would qualify? The PJ of October 2001 gives a few really nice examples of her work. And if they do I might just give that a try. What do you think Tressa? :lol: Winny

10-20-2008, 06:29 PM
Try it Winnie, and see if you can push the envelope just a wee bit to stretch your wings. She has some great work! Try simplifying a landscape to just shapes and color, not a lot of detail.

10-20-2008, 07:35 PM
I finished this today. I just took the pic and the colors are a little off, so I might repost tomorrow in natural light, but close.
First my procedure. This is purely non-objective. I let the composition evolve as I created.
I coated a piece of white matboard with clear acrylic gesso. I poured watercolor on and stuck with plastic wrap; let dry.Then added some torn handmade grass papers, and some Golden modeling paste, just in stragic areas.
I added some gesso to edges of papers. Then let everything dry.
I then proceeded to paint with PanPastels,leaving tiny bits of previous steps showing, while blending the pastel on and over the underlayering,connecting the design. Hope you like it. Tressa

Here is greyscale so you can see the design clearly.

Winny Kerr
10-20-2008, 07:36 PM
O.k. I was not going to copy Mary Silverwood but her style has some feel of abstract I thought. It will be good for me because I tend to be way toooooo detailed. This is great, thanks Tressa. Winny

10-20-2008, 08:35 PM
Donna....my feeliings exactly. I'm not into 'abstract' so this one is really more whimsical than abstract. But it's a start...
done on canson paper, using mostly soft pastels. Worked about 1/2 hour...
C&C welcomed...

10-20-2008, 08:49 PM
Okay, I needed a break from the new Mason jar piece I'm working on, so I let myself play with this for an hour. It was fun!!! Not exactly an abstract, but at least abstracted. I didn't let myself draw, or blend (though I did do some smudging), or anything. Didn't even tone the paper. Fun!!

12 x 12 inches on Wallis.


WC Lee
10-20-2008, 09:09 PM
hmm can this be considered an abstract???


Kathryn Wilson
10-21-2008, 12:44 AM
Here's one of mine - but I want to go even more abstract with landscapes. This was in a juried show and the judge remarked to me, how often do you do abstracts (and I hadn't meant it to be)!!


10-21-2008, 01:47 AM
O wow.. I love the works you all have done!!..
WC, I do believe that is my fave landscpe yours!! I mean it is so simple, but tells the whole story.. I really like it alot!
JB.. very cool bottles... I like the loosness of it and the lost & found edges:thumbsup:

Kem, beautiful! You do wonderful realism, & great abstract too.. I love the BG.
Kate, gorgeous glowing colors.. radiant!

I am tottaly out of my element.. Have not a CLUE about abstract:eek:
I had an old sketch in the sketch book & spent about 20 mins laying colors in over it..http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Oct-2008/76639-abst.jpg ...& this is the results... hmmm:confused:

10-21-2008, 02:16 AM
I forgot to mention yours Deborah.. I thought they were examples of someone elses, not yours... They are wonderful.. I love them.. I guess I am attracted to semi-abstraction more than realism & dint know it until now.. Cool realization,, Also thanks again Tressa, great challenge.. I want to learn more about abstraction!

WC Lee
10-21-2008, 03:56 AM
T: I know how you feel, I haven't a single clue on abstracts either. I have a hard enough time making abstractions when I do landscapes :D But I do know I don't really care for them, especially if I can't make heads or tails of what it supposed to represent.

10-21-2008, 07:03 AM
Judibelle, very nice and very quick also. This would be to me in the catagory of semi-realism, an abstraction of objects to a degree. It is good to get out of our comfort level, and try new things!

Kim...wonderful color and light. The pinks in this just glow. I love the simplifying you did with the buds and the unfocused background is lovely. Great job! And I hope it gave you a break from your jars!

WC...this would definitely qualify...a simplification of a landscape into basic shape and design. I love your color choices, and the composition. This is a great example of the center of interest being right in the middle. That dark area at the end of the stream just pulls me right smack into the pic.

Kat...just beautiful! The use of the two complementaries is superb. The yellow is pristine, and just glows against the purple/blue colors. The curvature of the stream is an exciting movement in the composition, and the lights make the whole shine.

T... pretty good to say you didn't know what you were doing!:p
You have a few elements in this supporting one another. First geometric shape, lots of rectangle and triangular movement. Then your diagonal at the bottom is running up toward the center of interest(dark shape) bringing us toward the cruciform created by the red/blue shape connecting to the dark shape, making this your focal point. The rectangles on the left side block the diagonal from taking us the wrong way, out of the pic. Great job for a first.

I hope you are enjoying this challenge and will try more and experiment.
Part of the tension created in us when we apply ourselves to an unfamilar task is the fear of the unknown. I hear that all the time."I don't get it", " I know nothing of abstract", " I don't get the point".
But, actually, you know more than you think you do. As I said before, the basics of creating an abstract piece still holds to the principles of any art. Good compostion, good color choices, good design in values, it all applies. And keeping an open mind. First you need to ask yourself the same questions as usual, "What attracted me to this (idea, photo, emotion,landscape,etc...) Then, "What do I want to say about it?", and "How can I say it?" Open your self up to possibilities and options and you might find a fun, exciting new way to express yourself.
Once you finish a piece of work, whether it is high realism, impressionism, surealism, all the -isms, or abstract, you no longer have control over what people interpret from it. You have a voice in the creations, but the viewer has the right and fun to try to figure out the puzzle; so don't be afraid to use another voice to say what you have to, as the viewer may get a whole totally different message than you originally sent out.

10-21-2008, 07:59 AM
Looking at this painting this morning, I realized the colors were definitely off in the pic I took last night as they were too warm, and you could not see the texture at all, so I retook this am in natural light and this is the closer to the real deal.

To recap, I coated matboard with clear gesso, and poured watercolor on, placed plastic wrap on and let dry. Then added pieces of handmade paper torn applied with more gesso. Then with a palette knife added some modeling paste in a cpl places and pressed a scrub pad in it to create texture. Let dry and then applied PanPastels, blending in colors and edges to unify. Although this has a lot of different media in the making, the final outcome is about 90% coverage with pastel.

Deborah Secor
10-21-2008, 09:03 AM
I think one of the things that happens with abstracts is that people think they have to have hold of a goal, some THING they can make look real to others, when in fact the thing-ness of a painting is often the last consideration (or maybe should be!) Good abstraction has all the same elements as any other painting: an area of interest in the composition, a harmony or pleasing balance of shapes (or a discordant and unpleasant set of shapes--your choice, depending on the goal), good control of value masses that lead the eye, lines that are effective tools, edges that control spatial relationships (hard ones are attractive, soft ones drift away), contrasts or lack thereof, useful color, etc. This is a challenge to do when you don't have a goal, a thing, you're shooting for, which is part of the reason I think good abstract paintings are few and far between (IMHO!)

I challenge myself to paint with the GOAL of emphasizing one or two of the elements of painting. For instance, Kat used contrast, color and shape beautifully, Kim used hard and soft well, and Tressa used expressive color and texture wonderfully.

These are interesting abstract paintings by Mary Alice Braukman (http://www.braukmanart.com/paintings/galleries.html), done in mixed media collage, mostly watercolor:


Personally I like the work of Makoto Fujimura (http://makotofujimura.blogspot.com/), who isn't technically a pastelist but works with 'PURE pigment', in that he grinds precious and semi-precious stones to powder and uses them. Here's his:



I like that each of these uses the elements of painting well, so I thought I'd share! Hope you like them...


10-21-2008, 12:59 PM
Oh I've really wanted to try this one, but I've had to stay away from the dust for the past week due to bronchitis. I'm going away for a week. Maybe I can give it a try when I get back. I love seeing everyone's submissions. How great that you are willing to stretch the boundaries. I promise to do the same as soon as I can.

A suggestion for a future thread: Since many folks here admit to being abstract challenged, maybe we could start a challenge where we focus on one different method at a time in attempting an abstract. For example, one week can be primary shapes, another could be abstracted landscape, etc. That way we can see some focused abstracts dealing with a particular theme. Just an idea.

10-21-2008, 01:39 PM
ALthough, I know nothing about abstracts & dont understand the the elements too well...What I feel I learned TRYING for abstract, is I realized I could become WAY looser & still have a recognizable painting (or is that NOT truely abstract?)... I already had the basic comp, and after throwing color on it in a wild & crazy fashion, it hit me that being so precise was not entirely necessary to get a message across.. I already _knew that in my head, but never had _tried it ... I was surprized I recognized the sketch at the end. SO far with only one try, no matter the mess of it, I learned something that I feel will help me. Plus it was great fun... I want to keep exploring this.

Very nice painting Tressa...I like it, would hang it on my wall! uh, what is it?? Just kidding :))
I know it doesnt have to be recognizable, but did you have an idea in mind, or did you let the paint, paper, gesso, take control of what happened??

10-21-2008, 03:52 PM
Thanks T, it's a fire, no...it's a meteorite, no, wait...it's a fall foliage gone mad.

and my goal , to use Deborah's word, was to create texture and color harmony, along with strong values, so no, no fixed idea of how it would look when finished, but letting the materials and those goals take me where they would.

10-21-2008, 08:12 PM
My abstract does demonstrate one of the principles on the first page, Shape. It also adds something that came up in a discussion on abstracts in another art group last year, Symbolism.

I started out with a yin and yang with the idea of doing a spiral around it. I kept thinking "Fibonacci sequence." This is a little highbrow for most of my buyers and I probably won't title it that, but my concept was Fibonacci Sequence.

That is the specific set of numbers that is how much each segment of a nautilus shell -- or many other kinds of shells -- expand by. How much gets added at every turn to get the perfect curve that is weirdly consistent throughout nature. It shows up in sections of acorn caps. It shows up in most spiral shells. It shows up in a lot of different things in nature, and is one of the most beautiful forms there is.

Because all things seem to grow that way it unites nature, so this abstract actually started from a theme.

I put a Yin/Yang symbol at the center to represent yin and yang -- and thus represent "all things."


I'm ludicrously proud of doing this freehand. Somehow learning so many other things recently on this forum has made me more sure of hand and confident. I actually just drew this in as you see it with no corrections. There's my idea, on Canson Mi-Tientes in Cretacolor pastel pencils.


I meant to repeat narrow bands of color in spectrum hues all around it, but the bands started growing larger and blurring after the first little bit before that first curve. I let the little bit of black blur into the purple and just did the colors in sequence, over and over. I blended them together. I let it pretty much do what it wanted to and worked my way around the whole thing.

I sprayed fixative and it darkened, so I worked over everything after the first sequence again lightly to bring back its brightness.

Spiral I is finished. I don't think I dare title it Fibonacci Sequence to my usual buyers, the geeks in it who'd know what I meant would also have expected me to calculate it and look up the numbers and get it exact. Those that wouldn't would be scratching their heads asking "What's a Fibonacci Sequence?"

But I thought I'd share the real title with you and my reason for choosing it. Someone mystical or a mystical scientist once said that the Fibonacci sequence is God's signature on the universe.

It's not as loose as most of the examples, but I get nervous about doing loose scribbly ones. The few times I have, I worked very fast and didn't plan any of it. Then got surprised at people liking them when I knew that I'd just fooled around with color.

10-21-2008, 08:52 PM
I love seeing what everyone is doing with this concept!

Judibelle, you could keep going with those shapes and lose the whole concept of 'bottle' in the meantime!

WC, your dreamy little scene eliminates the details so the mood comes through on its own.

Kat, the golden yellows in your piece--especially where reflected--have a wonderful shimmering glow. I love your bold strokes! I'm eager to see where you go as you push your landscapes into further abstraction.

Tressa, that is a shimmering, evocative piece. Its layers of color and texture are fertile ground for the imagination.

Maw-T, how wonderful that you feel enriched by letting yourself go! I'd say this was a successful exercise! I like the rhythm of your shapes and colors.

Robert, I so love Fibonacci sequences. Yours is a literal abstraction, but that gorgeous spiral is almost enough all by itself.

Deborah, those Fujimura pieces are gorgeous! I'd love to see them in person. The outside examples shared so far are the kind of abstracts I enjoy looking at--they make a certain kind of sense to me. I adore Wolf Kahn. But I don't think I'll ever understand the allure of Jackson Pollock's drips. I may be just a bit too literal-minded for some forms of abstraction!

10-21-2008, 09:32 PM
Thanks, Kim! So glad someone understood what I meant. Did my explication hold water or is the half-baked memory of a science fiction writer going wonky... did I leave out anything important?

WC Lee
10-21-2008, 09:58 PM
great stuff everyone :) Kathryn, I really like the one you did without the intention of it being abstract :)

how about this one? it doesn't quite look like an abstract to me ...


10-21-2008, 10:32 PM
It looks abstracted to me.

I turned my head to look at it from the sides where it would lose its context as a landscape and just be shapes and colors. It still looked like an abstract. Turning my head so that the left is the bottom was a little prettier.

But that is a trick that could be done to turn an abstract derived from a landscape into a total abstract, turn it upside down or sideways and see if it still looks cool.

10-22-2008, 05:32 AM
Robert, all you left out were pinecones and the centers of sunflowers. (Most of us here are visual--an image usually works better than words!)

10-22-2008, 07:34 AM
Wc. you use the strata concept of abstract art. bands of color that speak of an abstract land scape. simplified into shapes and composition to portray a message without getting technical or detailed!

Robert love the shell, and they do have such a concentric pattern that you could make tons of paintings from just this concept! Nature is full of Fibonacci Sequence...

Donna T
10-22-2008, 03:58 PM
Well, I hesitate to post this after seeing all of yours so far. Yours have interesting texture, pleasing shapes and colors. Mine fits the "disturbing" category! :lol: I had been saving an old piece of Wallis that had three failed attempts on it - it's cursed, obviously. This is not the kind of art that I like; I really have no idea what I was thinking and the faint egg outlines from my last still life attempt took over. But, it's equally disturbing from all angles because I kept turning it while I was "working" on it. Sorry! :o

"Nightmare with Eggs"?

10-22-2008, 05:16 PM
Well, yes. It's disturbing and powerful and jazzy and those who like this style would eat it up, Donna. It's got a good balance, it's got powerful colors. My eyes keep wandering through it.

Unlike some disturbing art like this, this one particularly has a "jazz club" feel to it like there are underlying rhythms and harmonies, the colors are stage lighting, the dancers and musicians and whoever went nuts with color are all jamming on something they're making up at the moment, improvising. It's more cheery than deranged the more I look at it.

But maybe I saw too many New Orleans jazz bars and clubs decorated exactly like this not to associate it!

A second look and I start seeing hints, the curves of a woman's body in motion flowing into cups flowing into some musical instrument flowing into some washtub thing -- it's like the washtub bass has to be a part of it. It's that kind of thing. It's not as disturbing at second glance at all, because the colors all do have a strong harmony and the shapes echo each other with a syncopated rhythm.

10-22-2008, 05:40 PM
For Afterimage, I used shape (abstracted shapes from realistic imagery) (a photo),
Central Orientation…the point of interest is placed directly in the center, whether the placement is vertical or horizontal, with the emphasis right in the middle. (the outside curve of the dark triangular curved shape is more or less the line of the middle as yet another yin yang of light and dark), and
Mood and emotion can be a good jump start to making abstract art. Psychologists use color theory to help individuals get in touch with their emotional intuition. If you are angry, red is a great color to imply an emotive response. (Halloween, ghosts, spooky feelings), as well as
an Idea, an Abstract Idea:

My idea was simply "What if I took the black cat photo from the Halloween Riot and did it as an afterimage, tried to convey the blurry complementary light and dark color opposition that you see when you close your eyes in the dark and try to sleep?"

It is where nightmares come from and I forgot that, I just did it.

I worked it over with a lot of layers of lights and darks on dark red Canson Mi-Tientes using Mont Marte pastels. Light scumbled layers, blend, scumble, blend, scumble scumble scumble, till I was scumbling a lot. Fixative, refresh the lights, choose new lights, scumble scumble scumble. I used all the light sticks and all the dark sticks.

The closer I came to feeling that I got it right, the scarier it looked, the more ghostly. I put a touch of red into pure black instead of the pale green well developed eyes, the only fully ground-in strokes area not scumbled. Red where the pupils are. A bright fleck of it happened to happen to be bright on the scan, it's a little subtler in reality but the feeling is still there. This became a cat's ghost, an afterimage.

And I did not plan one of those things except getting the idea of doing the Afterimage. Or remember the obvious result -- if you stare at it and close your eyes you will see the black cat looking to your right on a pale background with light green glowing eye.

I don't know how I do abstracts when I do them. I can break them down afterward and look up the elements of abstraction from the list, but the process of doing them is completely subjective. I think this one worked because it's an extremely scary painting with a weird spooky ghostly afterimage and if you close your eyes, you see the black cat painted on your eyelids. I feel like some hokey old jazz player trying to read music and talk theory with the classical orchestra right at the moment. It worked, and I only know how when I stop playing.


Donna T
10-22-2008, 05:45 PM
You're too kind, Robert. It was way harder than I thought to just let things happen - I kept seeing those egg shapes and then it became clear that I was torturing them. Maybe I need a break from the kitchen! (I added the thing that looks very fork-like at the end ... why not poke them while I'm at it.) I'm glad you saw other things. It was hard for me to make straight lines - must be I prefer organic shapes. You abstract is real nice, BTW, a spiral is a very natural shape.


10-22-2008, 05:47 PM
The fork thing looked like a dancer's hand to me, caught in the bright red spotlight as they move to the beat of the band. I have seen more posters for more clubs that look just like that with only a touch more figurative work. Maybe it was in your unconscious from so many jazz and blues album covers.

Hehehe my last abstract isn't nice, it scared my socks off the closer it came to being done.

Though I used Deborah Secor's "clouds" recipe for light vibrant neutrals again! Amazing where you can apply a tidbit like that.

Kathryn Wilson
10-23-2008, 10:18 AM
You have no idea the struggle I had with this one. Or maybe you do, if this is new to you too. I had a hard time keeping myself from making this "something" - to remain totally abstract, go with the flow, play with colors and design. Oh, well, nothing ever comes without a struggle. Maybe I'd best go back to abstracting the landscape more before I try to get something out of this thick head of mine.

I watched a program last night on Mark Rothko's work - interesting in that when I first looked at his work, I saw nothing but big shapes, but when the documentor talked about certain paintings, I could see things I didn't see the first time.

I shall endeavor to do better next time!


Kathryn Wilson
10-23-2008, 10:25 AM
Robert, Donna T, and WC - all great efforts.

Donna, I think you have a gift for this type of work. I see so much in that painting - love, birth, energy. :clap:

Donna T
10-23-2008, 06:05 PM
That's really nice, Kat! I love those lighter, wavy areas between the large color masses - really neat effect. I'm having a hard time not making recognizeable things too. I started another one that's a loose interpretation of a photo. When I start getting tight I turn it upside down. Thanks so much for your encouragement. I've felt for awhile that my creativity needed a boost and this project is helping lots!


10-23-2008, 09:56 PM
Wow,, Good ones! my 2nd attempt is of a ref tressa offered in the last challenge...http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Oct-2008/76639-inter.jpg

and then a crop, that i think i like better...


10-24-2008, 04:15 AM

Kathryn, I love the big colored area, it vibrates with life. The white looks like an explosion or a nebula, the white curving streaks give it motion. This could almost be a science fiction novel cover, all it'd need would be small spaceships on the tips of the white streaks or an unusually abstract theme and idea, some weird thing in physics. That's what it reminded me of.

T, that's interesting. It's very cubist. I think I like the crop better too and could not begin to say why.

10-24-2008, 07:48 AM
Wow! Donna, I think it's great! A very good unifying of shape and color.

Kat, I agree with Robert; as soon as I saw this, I thought "space"

T, I like them both, but I do believe I prefer the crop also! Hmmm...which reference??:p

10-24-2008, 07:53 AM
Robert, love the "ghostly" cat...a very good abstraction of a living being.

Donna, the more I looked at your painting, I started to see two people facing each other, with the hand of the right person showing and they are kissing:smug: ...no egg nightmare to me:lol:

Donna T
10-24-2008, 08:40 AM
Robert, I like your cat too but then I am always attracted to the most simple forms and basic statements.

T, This is really nice - love the shapes and colors. I like the big version because the crop is missing the pink rectangle on the yellow stalk-thing. For me, that's the best part of the painting! Gotta have that stalk-thing!

Tressa, I'm glad you don't see the same things in mine as I do! This has been such a learning experience for me and something I've been wanting to try for a long time. I have to say my abstract efforts are not getting any support on the homefront. My husband says I need the butt icon because of what he sees :eek: :lol: . He's begging me to paint a hay bale or something but I'm enjoying working on another abstract. :evil: :)


10-24-2008, 12:42 PM
:rolleyes: Tressa, You couldnt tell????:lol: .. But that's a +good thing.. right??:confused: .. Its the flowers...or flower in this case... (the stalk thingy, Donna, & thanky !)

I was so sleepy posting last night, I decided it was time for bed when I started typing one handed:D So didnt really comment.. sooo...

Donna, I also saw the 2 people & the hand... Like I said I really like that painting alot!! Move over Picasso!!

Robert, You put WAY more thought into yours than I do, & it SHOWS.. I like the spiral ALOT & enjoyed your explanation.. I learned soemthing I knew, but didnt KNOW & that made me enjoy your painting even more.Then.. the cat.. I _loved it when I didnt know what it was.. BUt it lost something for me, when I found out... I am wondering WHY knowing on the first made it more appealing, and NOT knowing on the second went the opposite for me... You are making me think.. a GOOD thing !

Kat, Yours reminded me of your self portrait... remember? You had your head sort of floating in space? It was a very cool start on your self portrait, but I dont think you posted a finish?.. ANyway, this definately has the feeling of space too & interesting that it corresponds in that sense to your SP. I see clouds & earth & shooting stars~ Very cool!

Wc, I honestly liked your first one better, I think because it said just as much with less info... Keep doing these.. I think you have a knack for them!

I am enjoying this thread, ANother great lesson Tressa! Thanks!!

Kathryn Wilson
10-24-2008, 03:29 PM
:o :o :o

You guys have got me pegged - I must be so transparent. :rolleyes:

Yes, I had that in mind Maw-T and it is of a nebula - but this one came out of my imagination.

My self-portrait - ya know, it's been here so long, it's like company and I talk to that image every so often :evil:

10-24-2008, 08:15 PM
T, conceivably on the cat painting my emotional reaction was so intense that it was different from your emotional reaction. Without my story, you just responded to the painting yourself.

My story on the cat was mostly about my feelings about the painting. The thing with abstracts is that they leave room for intensely personal reactions that can be completely different from the artist's personal reaction. I labeled it a scary painting when you may not have seen it as scary.

Or maybe I was just writing better when I wrote up the spiral! Who knows. But I appreciate that feedback since it's on my writing as much as my art, and I am serious about a writing career including art instruction. It sounds like I said too much and got too personal about the cat.

10-25-2008, 01:21 AM
Robert, Maybe it is because I dont like cats!? ...naah, i do like them, so couldnt be tha..:wink2: .. Its just that when I looked at it before reading about it I saw nothing I recognized, just a painting that was beautiful. Then the mystery was taken away, I guess.... BTW.. I think you would make a wonderful writer in any field:thumbsup:

10-25-2008, 01:28 PM
I tried the Challenge Thread for the first time and worked more quickly than I usually do. Since no one chose the person that looked like he could be a blue's singer I thought I would take a try. I found working in absract to be quite hard and my piece really does not look very abstract, but we have to start somewhere. It forces us to think in shapes, which we are supposed to be doing all the time, just do not refine those shapes to create realism. I think I would like to explore this a bit more. Thanks for the Challenge. I am a bit camera illiterate and could not get the flash to turn off so the purple in the piece disappears.

10-25-2008, 01:55 PM
Sharon, that is COOL!! I love the diagonal slash you used for his beard.

Donna T
10-25-2008, 02:16 PM
Yeah, very cool, Sharon! I really like how you reduced all of his forms to graphic shapes. This really makes an interesting design!


10-25-2008, 02:23 PM
Hi Guys,
This is my first contribution to a challenge (I'm always too busy and I always forget to check in to see what's going on.) Here goes - very small for me, really just a study from some photos a friend gave me,that are pretty abstract in their own right. 5 x 7 on Wallis:


Compositionally, it should probably be cropped so the horizon isn't smack dab in the middle, but it's part of what drew me to the original photo ref. Have been itching to work on some cloud studies after following the cloud thread and seeing Debra's recent work.

I'm also having a hard time getting bright pinks and orange tones to photograph right. This is much more vibrant IRL, with lots of peachy oranges and yellows.

It was fun to do and hope to get back here more often!


10-25-2008, 02:29 PM
Sharon, I love the way you approached that.. I really do like it alot!!.. It has a folk art feel to it.. (I have a small collection of Folk art.. one of my fave styles)

Leslie, love those colors... beautiful sky!!

Winny Kerr
10-25-2008, 07:00 PM
This is my contribution to the abstract challenge. I had to think a while before coming up with an idea.
I got the idea from the rolling hills in California in a late afternoon sky. At first I thought of doing sand dunes as they can have great shapes and shadows but changed my mind thinking it might be a bit too hard.
It is a great excercise though, thanks Tressa :thumbsup:



Donna T
10-25-2008, 08:23 PM
Leslie, I like this so much! Beautiful, soft bands of color separated by that strip of land - wonderful!

Winny, I think your rolling hills look great in those bright colors. How fun to do a landscape and just let the colors happen.


10-25-2008, 08:56 PM
Leslie, yours is abstract and gorgeous. I love the reflection and the clouds. It's abstract and it's not all at the same time.

Winny, your rolling hills are neat too. I like the mad streak of blue above orange in the upper half, that's at once good atmospheric perspective and great abstraction.

Kathryn Wilson
10-26-2008, 12:56 PM
eeeek! it's abstract - I think


I know you will know what it is - but I keep trying to abstract "things" instead of just using shapes and colors using good design. Next best effort.

Kathryn Wilson
10-26-2008, 12:58 PM
Leslie, Winny - cool stuff!

10-26-2008, 01:23 PM
Leslie, your cloud study is beautiful!! It has a wonderful glow to it and a soft, contemplative feel. Winny, your rolling hills are bright and exuberant. It makes me feel happy. Kat, that is a really cool piece! I love the bold dark lines and the diagonals. It has a stained glass effect--very exciting. I really want to try another one for this thread....but I have all these other pieces I should be working on....

10-26-2008, 01:47 PM
Leslie....your cloud scene is so beautifully soft and ethereal....very nice.
Winny...Love the look of your rolling colorful hills. Nice choice....
Kathryn...yours is definitely abstract-looking to me...love the colors and the shapes.

I finally had some time to 'play' today, and tried another abstract, but I'm not sure it fits abstract qualifications...dont know what it is, exactly. but it only took me about 20 minutes....
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/26-Oct-2008/103700-scan0024.jpg_abstract_Mother.jpg JB

Kathryn Wilson
10-26-2008, 01:55 PM
Judibell - definitely abstract, but I am also seeing a woman and child here. How about a holiday card in the making? Halo, Madonna, child - I see them all here.

Kathryn Wilson
10-26-2008, 01:58 PM
Maybe a definition of what is abstract should be kept in mind -- and just what is a definition of abstract. Beats me - anyone have a good one?

:evil: I snuck over to the Abstract/Con forum and took a peek at some of the work over there.

Here's an interesting thread - although not pastels, they are interesting in concept and maybe a way to play with stuff on a computer to come up with a concept and then do it in pastels.

Just a thought.


10-26-2008, 02:34 PM
thanks for the idea, Kat....i have thought about making my own cards....never done it. Maybe this is the year....I'll difinitely give that some thought.

Donna T
10-26-2008, 03:44 PM
Kat, That's a great design and I love those colors! I hope it's not "wrong" to abstract things instead of ideas. I am so much more attracted to a piece of art when I can almost see what the "thing" is. Those kinds of images really stimulate my imagination.

Judibelle, I see the Madonna and child too! That was my immediate thought and it would make a wonderful card!

Well, I've done one more but I used a photo for inspiration this time. I've been saving photos from newspapers for a long time because I thought they had abstract possibilities. Sometimes just seeing a photo upside down before I even know what it really is gets my imagination going. I hope it's OK to show this photo - I don't even remember which paper it's from so I hope the photographer won't be offended if he happens to see it here.

Two men in a ditch with some pipes laid out in an interesting pattern. Here's what I did with it. 7x10 on recycled Wallis.


This was so much fun and I really feel that my creativity got a much-needed boost. It may not be considered exactly an abstract but it makes me happy. :)


10-26-2008, 04:57 PM
Donna....yours is definitely a wonderfully clever abstract! I absolutely LOVE it! i used to save newspaper pictures, also, with the idea of using them for abstracts. But it never seemed to happen. I might be tempted to try something now, though.
Thanks for your comment on mine....that will be a good project for me, making cards this year.

10-26-2008, 05:05 PM
Donna, I LOVE it!!

Kathryn Wilson
10-26-2008, 05:22 PM
Donna! I think you've found yourself! I love your landscapes, but this is another ball game! Keep at it. You have a wonderful ability to see abstracts in what would be mundane subjects.

Keep at it!

Donna T
10-26-2008, 05:25 PM
Thanks Judibelle and Kim! Maybe I should call this "Pipe Legs and Bucket Heads." :D

Kim, I don't think I ever got around to commenting on your beautiful flower abstraction. I love the colors you used, so soft, and the almost-flowers in the background.


Donna T
10-26-2008, 05:30 PM
Thanks so much, Kat! I've been feeling like something was missing from my art for so long. I just need to let loose and have fun more often. I do have an imagination that won't quit so it will be interesting to see if I can use it.


Deborah Secor
10-26-2008, 06:54 PM
I think in terms of distilled (purified, refined, condensed) shapes, seeing down to the essence (core, heart, fundamental nature) of them.

I want to share some paintings by other artists... Here's a pastel by Tony Allain and one (in acrylics--shhhh! don't tell) by Don Tiller. Both have a component of reality as well as distilling to essentials. What do you think--are they 'abstracts' or not?


Kathryn Wilson
10-26-2008, 07:31 PM
Donna - I know what you mean - we've been working at learning our craft that sometimes the fun and spontaniety has gone out of the experience.

Deborah - both abstracted landscapes. Does that makes them abstracts - I am unsure. I guess I am stuck on the purist abstracts - all color, design, shapes - but nothing recognizable. I am sure there is no right or wrong to any of it - it's all art. I'm just trying to get a handle on this for myself as it pertains to my art.

Donna T
10-26-2008, 08:13 PM
Interesting examples, Deborah. I guess the degree of abstraction probably varies from viewer to viewer. To me, the first example is more of an abstract than the second. When I turn the first one on its side the "water" area becomes the sky and what are those two little things flying over the steep cliff? In the second one I immediately see the trees, house, sky and birds and when I look at it upside down these things are all the same, just upside down. I wonder how much this has to do with how quickly our brains recognize objects. Perhaps once we do, we can't make ourselves see them as anything different?


Tracy Lang
10-26-2008, 11:03 PM
This is such an amazing thread in so many ways...rated *****!

Thanks, Tressa and all for so much valuable information and input.

As a "new" artist I have struggled so much between a representational style (which comes much more easily to me) and a more "painterly" style which is something I aspire to.

Regardless of where it may go, it all starts from shapes and values.

I love the Abstract./Contemporary category because it encompasses all of the wonderful paintings that have been posted :)


10-26-2008, 11:37 PM
WHOA.. Donna, that is BRILLIANT!! I just love it Makes me happy too & wonder how you thought of it??... I think you have a gift for this! Keep going!!

Kat, I also like yours.. Very cool ! & I think abstract is also a contortion of what is reality...?? I would consider this one of yours abstraction, but then I havnt study or even read up on abstracts, so that is my _guess..

Deborah, I think the one on left is abstract.. I think the one on the right would fall into the folk art catagory...

This is just so interesting... I want to try the portrait as inspiration... I just love that pic!

10-26-2008, 11:41 PM
That Tony Allain is stunning! For me, these are definitely abstracts, while still having recognizable form. I strongly prefer an abstraction that gives one a new view of something known. I do that kind of thing a lot with the camera, though not in my painting. Perhaps I'll edge in that direction at the easel as well.

I don't think there is any one definition. In abstract art, as in other kinds of art, there are many schools and styles. How nice we've had an opportunity to sample some of it firsthand in this thread!

10-26-2008, 11:51 PM
Judibell, I think that would make a wonderful Christmas card!

10-26-2008, 11:55 PM
Kat, I really like your colors and the shapes of the buildings, giving the illusion of a street scape, lower buildings maybe in front of taller or????

Donna, I also like the colors in your piece and the shapes are really great. This has been a good Thread, every one has been so very creative.

When I saw my post I noticed that I missed an entire page, to all there are some great observations to think about.

10-26-2008, 11:59 PM
Hello! You all have inspired me to get out and do some plein air painting today to do up something to submit here. I'm loving seeing all these creative paintings. Thanks to all of you for sharing your great stuff! Here's some yellow trees.


10-27-2008, 01:57 AM
Deborah, I'm not sure what to answer about whether those two are abstracts or not. The one on the left is more abstracted, but both could be seen that way.

I get a headache when I think about categorizing like that.

As a writer, I run into the same thing with fiction. Is this novel science fiction, or Horror?

The answer for some writers is to call it Horror, because that's what they're known for and it pays about twice as high from publishers. I've read good SF books from Horror writers like Dean Koontz but seen them appear with a black cover and a "horror emphasis" back cover blurb to focus on how scary the bad guy is rather than how neat the idea of the book is.

If simplified and flattened shapes and tone define abstraction, then you can have something that's both representational and abstract, it fills the requirements of two genres.

If an early stage of one of my paintings looked like a good abstract, and I could stop there and call it one, then if I don't stop and do paint in the details and round the forms and everything, I'll have a more powerful representational painting. This is what I'm hoping to learn in this challenge.

Neat yellow trees, Janis! I love the colors and the balance, the design and composition hold up well whether or not I look at them as trees or just as colors and shapes.

I'm very tempted to do something with the two cypresses reference at least once before this challenge ends, it's very cool.

10-27-2008, 07:23 AM
excellent analogy, Robert!! That's one I can live with.

Donna T
10-27-2008, 11:14 AM
Nice yellow trees, Janis! I like how you reduced them to their basic shapes. They contrast very nicely with the green areas. What a great way to do plein air - I need to try this.


Deborah Secor
10-27-2008, 12:56 PM
I define it this way: ALL PAINTING derives from an underlying abstraction! After all, gang, you're taking 3-D reality and making it into 2-D representation, which is the essence of abstraction to start with, no matter how representational the painting ends up being.

Main Entry: 1ab·stract
Pronunciation: \ab-ˈstrakt, ˈab-ˌ\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Medieval Latin abstractus, from Latin, past participle of abstrahere to drag away, from abs-, ab- + trahere to pull, draw
Date: 14th century
1 a: disassociated from any specific instance <an abstract entity> b: difficult to understand : abstruse <abstract problems> c: insufficiently factual : formal <possessed only an abstract right>
2: expressing a quality apart from an object <the word poem is concrete, poetry is abstract>
3 a: dealing with a subject in its abstract aspects : theoretical <abstract science> b: impersonal , detached <the abstract compassion of a surgeon — Time>
4: having only intrinsic form with little or no attempt at pictorial representation or narrative content <abstract painting>

Every painting ever done starts with "only intrinsic form"! I think the trick, if you will, is to start with excellent shapes, colors, lines, edges, values, etc. etc. and stop sooner than later. :D


10-28-2008, 07:33 AM
Wow! Some great stuff happening here! I wasn't sure how this subject would be accepted, but it seems to be quite popular. Here is a tiny bit of history on abstract art. Keep in mind this is just a piece of the movement, and lots of other info is out there.

Abstract art

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Abstract art uses a visual language (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_language) of form, color and line to create a composition which exists independently of visual references to the world.[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_painting#cite_note-0#cite_note-0) Western art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_art) had been, from the Renaissance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance) up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an attempt to reproduce an illusion of visible reality. The arts of cultures other than the European had become accessible and showed alternative ways to the artist, of describing visual experience (see:Paul Gauguin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Gauguin), Vincent Van Gogh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_Van_Gogh)). By the end of the 19th century many artists felt a need to create a 'new kind of art' which would encompass the fundamental changes taking place in technology, science and philosophy. The sources from which individual artists drew their theoretical arguments were diverse, and reflected the social and intellectual turmoil in all areas of Western culture at that time
<H3 style="MARGIN: auto 0in">Abstraction in early art and many cultures

Main articles: Prehistoric art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prehistoric_art) and Eastern art history (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_art_history)
Much of the art of earliest peoples: signs and marks on pottery, textiles and inscriptions and paintings on rock ; were simple, geometric and linear forms which might reveal a symbolic or decorative purpose.[3] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_painting#cite_note-2#cite_note-2) It is at this level of visual rather than literary meaning that abstract art communicates. One can enjoy the beauty of Chinese calligraphy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_calligraphy) or Islamic script, for example, without being able to read it.
19th century

Main articles: Romanticism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanticism), Impressionism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism), Post-Impressionism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-Impressionism), and Expressionism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expressionism)
Three art movements (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_movement) which contributed to the development of abstract art were Romanticism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanticism), Impressionism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism) and Expressionism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expressionism). Artistic independence for artists was advanced during the 19th century. Patronage from the church diminished and private patronage from the public became more capable of providing a livlihood for artists.
Early intimations of a new art had been made by James McNeill Whistler (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_McNeill_Whistler) who, in his painting Nocturne in Black and Gold: The falling Rocket, (1872), placed greater emphasis on visual sensation than the depiction of objects. An objective interest in what is seen, can be discerned from the paintings of John Constable (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Constable), J M W Turner (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J_M_W_Turner), Camille Corot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camille_Corot) and from them to the Impressionists who continued the plein air (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plein_air) painting of the Barbizon school (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbizon_school). Paul Cézanne (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_C%C3%A9zanne) had begun as an Impressionist but his aim: to make a logical construction of reality based on a view from a single point [4] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_painting#cite_note-3#cite_note-3), with modulated colour in flat areas, became the basis of a new visual art, later to be developed into Cubism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubism) by George Braque (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Braque), Pablo Picasso (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pablo_Picasso).
Expressionist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expressionism) painters explored the bold use of paint surface, drawing distortions and exaggerations, and intense color. Expressionists produced emotionally charged paintings that were reactions to and perceptions of contemporary experience; and reactions to Impressionism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impressionism) and other more conservative directions of late 19th century painting. The Expressionists also drastically changed the emphasis on subject matter in favor of the portrayal of psychological states of being. Although artists like Edvard Munch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edvard_Munch) and James Ensor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Ensor) drew influences principally from the work of the Post-Impressionists (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-Impressionists) they were instrumental to the advent of abstraction in the 20th century.
20th century

Main articles: Western painting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_painting), Fauvism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fauvism), and Cubism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubism)
Post Impressionism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_Impressionism) as practiced by Paul Gauguin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Gauguin), Georges Seurat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Seurat), Vincent van Gogh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh) and Paul Cézanne (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_C%C3%A9zanne) had an enormous impact on 20th century art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20th_century_art) and led to the advent of 20th century abstraction. The heritage of painters like Van Gogh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Gogh), Cézanne (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%A9zanne), Gauguin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gauguin), and Seurat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seurat) was essential for the development of modern art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_art). At the beginning of the 20th century Henri Matisse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Matisse) and several other young artists including the pre-cubist Georges Braque (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Braque), André Derain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Derain), Raoul Dufy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raoul_Dufy) and Maurice de Vlaminck (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_de_Vlaminck) revolutionized the Paris art world with "wild", multi-colored, expressive, landscapes and figure paintings that the critics called Fauvism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fauvism). The raw language of color as developed by the Fauves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fauvism) directly influenced another pioneer of abstraction Wassily Kandinsky (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wassily_Kandinsky) (see illustration).
Although Cubism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubism) ultimately depends upon subject matter it became along with Fauvism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fauvism) the art movement that directly opened the door to abstraction in the 20th century. Pablo Picasso (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pablo_Picasso) made his first cubist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubism) paintings based on Cézanne's idea that all depiction of nature can be reduced to three solids: cube (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cube), sphere (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphere) and cone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cone_(geometry)). With the painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Demoiselles_d%27Avignon) 1907, Picasso dramatically created a new and radical picture depicting a raw and primitive brothel scene with five prostitutes, violently painted women, reminiscent of African tribal masks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_tribal_masks) and his own new Cubist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubist) inventions. Analytic cubism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytic_cubism) was jointly developed by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Braque), from about 1908 through 1912. Analytic cubism, the first clear manifestation of cubism, was followed by Synthetic cubism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_cubism), practised by Braque, Picasso, Fernand Léger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernand_L%C3%A9ger), Juan Gris (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Gris), Albert Gleizes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Gleizes), Marcel Duchamp (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Duchamp) and countless other artists into the 1920s. Synthetic cubism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_cubism) is characterized by the introduction of different textures, surfaces, collage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collage) elements, papier collé (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papier_coll%C3%A9) and a large variety of merged subject matter. The collage artists like Kurt Schwitters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Schwitters) and Man Ray (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_Ray) and others taking the clue (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clue) from Cubism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubism) were instrumental to the development of the movement called Dada (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dada).
In 1913 the poet Guillaume Appollinaire (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillaume_Appollinaire) named the work of Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Orphism (art) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orphism_(art)). He defined it as, the art of painting new structures out of elements that have not been borrowed from the visual sphere, but had been created entirely by the artist...it is a pure art.
Since the turn of the century cultural connections between artists of the major European and American cities had become extremely active as they strove to create an art form equal to the high aspirations of Modernism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modernism). Ideas were able to cross-fertilize by means of artists books, exhibitions and manifestos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurism) so that many sources were open to experimentation and discussion, and formed a basis for a diversity of modes of abstraction. The following extract from,'The World Backwards', gives some impression of the inter-connectedness of culture at the time:
' David Burliuk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Burliuk)'s knowledge of modern art movements must have been extremely up-to-date, for the second Knave of Diamonds exhibition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_avant-garde), held in January 1912 (in Moscow) included not only paintings sent from Munich, but some members of the German Die Brücke (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Br%C3%BCcke) group, while from Paris came work by Robert Delaunay (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Delaunay), Henri Matisse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Matisse) and Fernand Leger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernand_Leger), as well as Picasso. During the Spring David Burliuk gave two lectures on cubism and planned a polemical publication, which the Knave of Diamonds was to finance. He went abroad in May and came back determined to rival the almanac Der Blaue Reiter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Blaue_Reiter) which had emerged from the printers while he was in Germany'.
By 1911 many experimental works in the search for this 'pure art' had been created. Frantisek Kupka (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frantisek_Kupka) had painted the Orphist work,'Discs of Newton'.The Rayist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rayonism) (Luchizm) drawings of Natalia Goncharova (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natalia_Goncharova) and Mikhail Larionov (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Larionov), used lines like rays of light to make a construction. Kasimir Malevich (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kasimir_Malevich) completed his first entirely abstract work, the Suprematist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suprematist), 'Black Square', in 1915. Another of the Suprematist group' Liubov Popova (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liubov_Popova), created the Architectonic Constructions and Spatial Force Constructions between 1916 and 1921. Piet Mondrian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet_Mondrian) was evolving his abstract language, of horizontal and vertical lines with rectangles of colour, between 1915 and 1919, Neo-Plasticism was the aesthetic which Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg and other in the group De Stijl (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Stijl) intended to reshape the environment of the future. In Italy the futurism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurism), mixed with Bauhaus influence, led the way to an abstract art with a distinct warm colour palette such as in the works of Manlio Rho (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manlio_Rho) and Mario Radice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Radice).[5] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_painting#cite_note-4#cite_note-4)
[edit (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Abstract_art&action=edit&section=5)] Music

Some approaches towards abstract art drew connections to music. Music provides an example of an art form which uses the abstract elements of sound and divisions of time Wassili Kandinsky (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wassili_Kandinsky), himself a musician, was inspired by the possibility of marks and associative color resounding in the soul. The idea had been put forward by Charles Baudelaire (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Baudelaire), that all our senses respond to various stimuli but the senses are connected at a deeper aesthetic level.
Closely related to this, is the idea that art has The spiritual dimension and can transcend 'every-day' experience, reaching a spiritual plane. The Theosophical Society (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theosophical_Society) popularised the ancient wisdom of the sacred books of India, China in the early years of the century. It was in this context that Piet Mondrian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet_Mondrian), Wassily Kandinsky (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wassily_Kandinsky), Hilma af Klint (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilma_af_Klint) and other artists working towards an 'objectless state' became interested in the occult as a way of creating an 'inner' object. The universal and timeless shapes found in Geometry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geometry): the circle, square and triangle become the spacial elements in abstract art; they are, like color, fundamental systems underlying visible reality.
[edit (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Abstract_art&action=edit&section=6)] Russian avant-garde

Main articles: Russian avant-garde (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_avant-garde) and Futurism (art) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Futurism_(art))
Many of the abstract artists in Russia became Constructivists (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivism_(art)) believing that art was no longer something remote, but life itself. The artist must become a technician, learning to use the tools and materials of modern production. Art into life! was Vladimir Tatlin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Tatlin)'s slogan, and that of all the future Constructivists. Varvara Stepanova (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varvara_Stepanova) and Alexandre Exter and others abandoned easel painting and diverted their energies to theatre design and graphic works. On the other side stood Kazimir Malevich (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazimir_Malevich), Anton Pevsner (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Pevsner) and Naum Gabo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naum_Gabo). They argued that art was essentially a spiritual activity; to create the individual's place in the world, not to organise life in a practical, materialistic sense. Many of those who were hostile to the materialist production idea of art left Russia. Anton Pevsner went to France, Gabo went first to Berlin, then to England and finally to America. Kandinsky studied in Moscow then left for the Bauhaus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauhaus). By the mid-1920s the revolutionary period (1917 to 1921) when artists had been free to experiment was over; and by the 1930s only social realist art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_realism) was allowed. [6] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_painting#cite_note-5#cite_note-5)
[edit (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Abstract_art&action=edit&section=7)] The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus at Weimar, Germany was founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Gropius).[7] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_painting#cite_note-6#cite_note-6) The philosophy underlying the teaching program was unity of all the visual and plastic arts from architecture and painting to weaving and stained glass. This philosophy had grown from the ideas of the Arts and Crafts movement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arts_and_Crafts_movement) in England and the Deutsche Werkbund. Among the teachers were Paul Klee (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Klee), Johannes Itten (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Itten), Joseph Albers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Albers), Anni Albers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anni_Albers), Theo van Doesburg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theo_van_Doesburg) and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laszlo_Moholy-Nagy). In 1925 the school was moved to Dessau and, as the Nazi party (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_party) gained control in 1932, The Bauhaus was closed. In 1937 an exhibition of degenerate art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degenerate_art), 'Entartete Kunst' contained all types of avant-garde (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avant-garde) art disapproved of by the Nazi party. Then the exodus began: not just from the Bauhaus but from Europe in general; to Paris, London and America. Paul Klee went to Switzerland but many of the artists at the Bauhaus went to America.

10-28-2008, 07:35 AM
Abstraction in Paris and London

During the 1930s Paris became the host to artists from Russia, Germany, Holland and other European countries affected by the rise of totalitarianism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totalitarianism). Sophie Tauber (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophie_Tauber) and Jean Arp (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Arp) collaborated on paintings and sculpture using organic/geometric forms. The Polish Katarzyna Kobro (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katarzyna_Kobro) applied mathematically based ideas to sculpture. The many types of abstraction now in close proximity led to attempts by artists to analyse the various conceptual and aesthetic groupings. An exhibition by forty-six members of the Cercle et Carré group organised by Michel Seuphor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Seuphor) [8] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_painting#cite_note-7#cite_note-7) contained work by the Neo-Plasticists as well as abstractionists as varied as Kandinsky, Anton Pevsner and Kurt Schwitters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Schwitters). Criticised by Theo van Doesburg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theo_van_Doesburg) to be too indefinite a collection he publish the journal Art Concret setting out a manifesto defining an abstract art in which the line, color and surface only, are the concrete reality.[citation needed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citation_needed)] Abstraction-Création founded in 1931 as a more open group, provided a point of reference for abstract artists, as the political situation worsened in 1935, and artists again regrouped, many in London. The first exhibition of British abstract art was held in England in 1935. The following year the more international Abstract and Concrete exhibition was organised by Nicolete Gray (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolete_Gray) including work by Mondrian, Miro, Nicholson and Hepworth. Barbara Hepworth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Hepworth), Ben Nicholson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Nicholson) and Gabo moved to the St. Ives group (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Ives_group) in Cornwall to continue their 'constructivist' work. [9] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_painting#cite_note-8#cite_note-8)
[edit (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Abstract_art&action=edit&section=9)] America: Mid-Century

Main articles: Modernism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modernism), Late Modernism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Modernism), American Modernism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Modernism), and Surrealism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrealism)
During the Nazi rise to power in the 1930s many artists fled Europe and came to the United States. By the early 1940s the main movements in modern art, expressionism, cubism, abstraction, surrealism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrealism), and dada (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dada) were represented in New York: Marcel Duchamp (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Duchamp), Fernand Leger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernand_Leger), Piet Mondrian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet_Mondrian), Jacques Lipchitz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Lipchitz), Max Ernst (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Ernst), André Breton (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Breton), were just a few of the exiled Europeans who arrived in New York (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York).[10] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_painting#cite_note-9#cite_note-9). The rich cultural influences brought by the European artists were distilled and built upon by local New York painters. The climate of freedom in New York allowed all of these influences to flourish. The art galleries that primarily had focused on European art began to notice the local art community and the work of younger American artists who had begun to mature. Certain of these artists became distinctly abstract in their mature work.
Eventually American artists who were working in a great diversity of styles began to coalesce into cohesive stylistic groups. The best known group of American artists became known as the Abstract expressionists (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_expressionists) and the New York School (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_School). In New York City there was an atmosphere which encouraged discussion and there was new opportunity for learning and growing. Artists and teachers John D. Graham (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D._Graham) and Hans Hofmann (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Hofmann) became important bridge figures between the newly arrived European Modernists and the younger American artists coming of age. Mark Rothko (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Rothko), born in Russia, began with strongly surrealist imagery which later dissolved into his powerful color compositions of the early 1950s. The expressionistic gesture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_painting) and the act of painting itself, became of primary importance to Jackson Pollock (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_Pollock) and Franz Kline (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Kline). While during the 1940s Arshile Gorky (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arshile_Gorky)'s and Willem de Kooning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willem_de_Kooning)'s figurative work evolved into abstraction by the end of the decade. New York City became the center, and artists worldwide gravitated towards it; from other places in America as well[11] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_painting#cite_note-10#cite_note-10).
[edit (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Abstract_art&action=edit&section=10)] Abstraction in the 21st century

Kenneth Noland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Noland), Warm Above, 1968
Main articles: Abstract expressionism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_expressionism), Color Field (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_Field), Lyrical Abstraction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyrical_Abstraction), Post-Painterly Abstraction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-Painterly_Abstraction), Sculpture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sculpture), and Minimal Art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimal_Art)
During the final decades of the 20th century and into the 21st century abstraction remains very much in view, its main themes: the transcendental, the contemplative and the timeless are exempified by Barnett Newman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnett_Newman) and Agnes Martin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnes_Martin). Art as Object as seen in the Minimalist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimalist) sculpture of Donald Judd (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Judd) and the paintings of Frank Stella (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Stella) and the poetic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetic), Lyrical Abstraction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyrical_Abstraction) and the sensuous use of color seen in the work of painters as diverse as Robert Motherwell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Motherwell), Patrick Heron (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Heron), Kenneth Noland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Noland), Sam Francis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Francis), Cy Twombly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cy_Twombly), Richard Diebenkorn (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Diebenkorn), Helen Frankenthaler (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Frankenthaler), Joan Mitchell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Mitchell) and dozens of others.
There was a resurgence after the war and into the 1950s of the figurative, as Neo-Dada (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-Dada), Fluxus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluxus), Conceptual Art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conceptual_Art), Neo-expressionism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-expressionism), Installation art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Installation_art), Performance Art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Performance_Art), Video Art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Art) and Pop art (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pop_art) have come to signify the age of consumerism. The distinction between abstract and figurative art has, over the last twenty years, become less defined leaving a wider range of ideas for all artists

10-28-2008, 04:34 PM
Tressa....wonderful in-depth abstract lesson....so much to absorb.....
Janis...love the colrs in your tree sketch...
I did a little abstract today. On Canson paper, textured side, using Nupastels and Rembrandts, and a couple of Senneliers...

10-28-2008, 07:58 PM
This reminds me of one I did years ago, but yours is much more successful than mine was! Love the composition and color sheme.

Kat, This is gorgeous!

Tressa, Fabulous experimental art! Snappy colors!

Maw, I liked the first one the best!

Nice kitty, Robert!

I just did another, I want to do more. I like this thread!



Donna T
10-28-2008, 08:08 PM
Nice one, Judibelle. It passes my "turn it upside down and look at it sideways" test - still interesting and even more possibilities of what those things could be.

Neat design, Janis! The simple color scheme really works with this!


10-29-2008, 01:57 AM
Yeah, both of them are great and do pass that "turn it upside down and look at it sideways" test. I think that is the cool thing about abstractions, they can be painted to make sense any direction you look at them.

Of course that gave me an idea, again, but I'll wait till I am feeling up to doing it.

10-29-2008, 03:06 AM
Way to stay at it JB.. This one I see a mask.. & it has a dark feeling.. ( me trying to sound savy in the abstract world of art) .. Which I am becoming, the more I read on here..

Janis, I liked your first one better too:) ( I also liked my first better too)..Those trees are very cool...love the colors! Your blk & wht has a whimsical charm that I like..

10-29-2008, 09:11 AM
thanks, everybody....
T...I kinda saw it as a mask, also, and Donna, I did turn it around several times, trying to decided which end is 'up'! seems it does have other 'possibilities', It was done in about 40 minutes, and was fun to do.
Janis ..I like your 'spooky' black&white.
I may try another today. I realize that most of my 'loose' sketches are actually abstracts, so I may be able to build on one of them...

10-29-2008, 03:34 PM
Every painting ever done starts with "only intrinsic form"! I think the trick, if you will, is to start with excellent shapes, colors, lines, edges, values, etc. etc. and stop sooner than later.

I definitely agree with that!! (wow--if I become an 'abstract painter,' think of how much time I'd save!)

Deborah Secor
10-29-2008, 06:06 PM
Kim, you already ARE an abstract painter, y'know. :wink2: You just like doing all the details...

Thanks for the sentimental journey, Tressa. I was 'mired in conceptual art' when I was in college (graduated in '79), not to mention installation art and performance art, etc. I have to say that I was feeling rebellious already when I did my degree show. I had done years of printmaking but I did drawings for the show! Don't get me wrong when I say 'drawing' and think they had any subject matter...they were sort of Agnes Martin-esque circles done with lots of overlapping lines and patterns, occasionally breaking free of the circle. I worked with some major artists back then ...Ed Ruscha, John McCracken, Ed Moses....and may I say that the sum total of what I learned was mostly in the negative column. :p Billy Al Bengston was my hero and they pooh-poohed him all over the place. (He was painting giant flowers, circles around them, flat fields of color, lots of Diebenkorn 'Ocean Park' inspired colors, that kind of thing. Pastels--the colors, not the medium. And he was <gasp> SELLING them like crazy!) :D


Deborah Secor
10-30-2008, 08:12 AM
I just had to drop a link in here to the PJ blog (http://pastelblog.artistsnetwork.com/Picasso+And+The+Masters+Face+Off.aspx)where Sarah points us to a show in Paris comparing the original masters' work with the Picasso paintings they inspired. There's an article in the NY Times: In a Faceoff, the Masters Trump Picasso (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/28/arts/design/28abro.html) I thought perhaps in light of this thread it would be an interesting link, if for nothing else but the photographs of the exhibition where you can see Picasso's abstractions of the old masters! Pretty interesting...


10-30-2008, 04:42 PM
I am finding this more and more intriguing. I found an old sketch I had done in watercolor some years ago. It never 'went anywhere', but I found it approriate for this thread. It was done in just black and white, in the w/c sketch; here i used Nupastel and then Sennelier dark over it. I left what were the whilte areas then, the paper color now.
It has been a real 'learning experience', doing this challenge. Thanks, so much, Tressa...
C&C welcomed

10-30-2008, 08:16 PM
ooh, thanks for the great links, Deborah!!

Judibelle--great shapes and energy in that one!

10-31-2008, 12:16 AM
JB, that one is neat. I like the strong darks and shapes in that one, it's very cool.

One of the things that came up when I took Humanities decades ago, was that a great many abstract expressionists were trying to convey nihilist ideas. Many of the abstracts I personally disliked, I was reading them accurately all right -- and violently disagreed with their nonverbal content, which left me angry and irritated.

Seeing the abstracts in this thread has shown me the striking power of abstraction. These aren't setting off that "ugh" reaction, they make me smile. Probably because a lighthearted "let's play with color and shape and do cool things" feeling surrounds them. Even the nonobjective ones in this thread tend to read more as "fun" than "depressive thought."

JB, I'm not sure why yours doesn't read depressing. It's dark and it's muted. It's got shapes that remind me of industry and machinery... and it looks more fun, more Rube Goldberg than "portrait of pollution." It reminds me of steampunk and fun things and would fit in an earth tones decor very well.

10-31-2008, 03:43 AM
I love abstract. I've never done one in pastel.

I always use acrylic and texture for abstracts.

This is a great thread.

I really love "Pipe Legs and Bucket Heads"

10-31-2008, 04:22 AM
Robert, you've articulated some of my own feelings. Thanks for putting them into words. I do prefer the lightheartedness of the work in this thread to much of the abstract expressionism I've seen in the past, and I think it's because of the playfulness involved.

I have to admit, I often can't read your longer posts. Allthough I read all the time in real life, I can't read anything of any length on the screen. It's a visual aberration of some sort--it just makes me very jumpy. I have to print things out if I want to read more than a paragraph or so with any kind of attention. I find I do much better reading onscreen if the paragraphs are short, with spaces in between every few sentences (whether it makes sense as a paragraph break or not, LOL). In fact, I've started writing that way for the web, and it helps a lot!

But anyhow, I just wanted to say that I like the thought you put into your comments, even though I don't often respond to your longer posts. Your presence here is appreciated!

10-31-2008, 10:12 PM
Thank you! I've been trying to do shorter paragraphs even when I do get into longer posts. You're not the only one who reads that way online.

What I need to do is also remember to use shorter sentences. That way I don't wind up with an eight line paragraph that was three sentences.

11-02-2008, 05:33 PM
Sorry for skipping out on you guys! I have been in bed since Thurs with bronchitus(sp) ended in the er as I couldn't breathe, and thank God no lung infection involved. I have finally read all your posts since I was here and they are all fantastic! Love the art, and the links and the comments! I am still not fully well, but wanted eveyone to know I hadn't disappeared and tomorrows challenge may be later in the day!

11-02-2008, 05:37 PM
Oh, Tressa!! I'm glad you're all right! Take good care of yourself.

Donna T
11-02-2008, 05:59 PM
Get well soon, Tressa! Nothing is more important than your health. Thanks again for hosting this fun abstract challenge!


11-02-2008, 06:21 PM
Tressa...thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery. This thread has been great, and I am very grateful for it. but your health is much more important,....so take it easy on yourself...We want you well!

11-02-2008, 06:57 PM
Tressa, take care of yourself. That is the important thing. I've had bronchitis and it can flip over into pneumonia way too easily. Hope what they gave you in the ER is knocking it out fast. Good luck!

11-02-2008, 11:29 PM

You really need to rest a lot and not push yourself to recover from bronchitis - it tends to hang on for awhile.

Here's a last minute post for this thread! Thanks for the inspiration it's given me.



11-02-2008, 11:34 PM
Janis, I love that! It's bright, it's unreal yet it hints at something real, it's cheery, it makes me smile just to see it. Reminds me of all sorts of things, but most of all some happy moments in neighborhoods in New Orleans that had a lot of older buildings with the porch and the pillars. Or cool bars on a hot afternoon.

This is just jolly. I love it.

Kathryn Wilson
11-03-2008, 06:23 AM
This is up to Tressa, but I've advised her to take it easy and get well. In the meantime, we can keep this challenge going and that would give her a break - but again, it's up to Tressa.

For my two cents, this abstract thread has been pure fun - everyone is having a great time just playing and I think we need that and I'd like to see more abstract painting in the Pastel Forum. :thumbsup:

11-03-2008, 06:36 AM
Ok, I am going to bow to authority, and postpone the next challenge. I am not feeling too well this morning, and I need to get well as soon as possible . Hope you will continue to post to this challenge and I hope you have had tons of fun, and will keep exploring!

Kathryn Wilson
11-03-2008, 06:44 AM
Okay, it's official - this thread will be up and running until Tressa feels otherwise.

In the meantime, I will host it as much as I can and if the rest of you can help fill in for Tressa, that will be great too.

Winny Kerr
11-03-2008, 03:21 PM
Tressa, my sweet husband got brochites last May and did not care for himself well enough, Oh I am fine.....but guess what, even though he felt o.k he still has it and it showed up again. So now he's on more meds. So be sure you rest up, and make sure it is gone before you get back into the swing of things. It seems to be going around. I'm sure were all busy painting something. Get well, Winny

11-03-2008, 03:48 PM
The first stage of my side project based on ESP Classroom: Still Life the Colourful Way came out as a neat abstract. I'm posting it because I'm half thinking of doing one like this again but not doing any later stages on it. Right now it looks as if Andy Warhol silkscreened it.


The colors are pretty close, though the violet-red is a bit more violet in real life. I think it's got something even at this stage, it sure jumps out at me.

11-03-2008, 04:39 PM
Beautiful, Robert! I love seeing your process....the colors you use are so vibrant!
I just wanted to show a revision of the abstract I did last week, whitening some of the spaces. Really makes a difference. I like it a lot better...not so scary or dark. and I turned it on its side for a different affect.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Nov-2008/103700-scan0005.jpg_abstract_revised.jpg
what do you think? better?
c&C welcomed...

11-03-2008, 04:47 PM
Ooops...I forgot...I wanted to post this wnaabe snow scene....it turned out more abstract than scenic snow! Couldnt in good conscience post it in the snow thread, casue looking at it, you's never guess that's what it is..LOL!
C&C welcomed...

Donna T
11-03-2008, 05:01 PM
Janis, I love those bright colors and I see a house ... a happy house!

Robert, Whoa - that is intense! The round shape on the pointy leaf shapes make an interesting combination and that red color ... wow!

Judibelle, I like the geometric shapes of your first one and the way they fit together. Such interesting patterns no matter which direction you view it. I really get the feeling of snow in the second one and can see where it looks like heavy snow weighing down a branch or it almost could be seen as an avalanche, like a sea of snow. Really nice!


11-03-2008, 05:21 PM
JB, I love it! You're right, whitening the white areas really gives it some bang and makes it more cheery. Turning it on its side breaks up any impression of coal bins and hoppers and industry. Now it's just this cool series of shapes.

One dark element that looked like a smokestack pouring black fumes now looks like an elephant's trunk. It's full of shapes that invite imagination, like looking at clouds does. It also reminds me of wood blocks fitted together like a puzzle now. Much cheerier imagery, even though it was fun before.

Your snow abstract is neat too. It reminds me of feathers flying and of snow all at the same time. Kids in green snowsuits having a pillow fight, or pine trees having one with the feathery fluffy snow in some magical storybook world. It's loose and fun and light.

Looking at it as a snow scene, it does work as that. It's full of motion as if the wind is blowing the snow around in gusts and it's very light snow, so don't be too down on yourself. Like a good cloud scene it suggests things besides its obvious meaning.

I think your snow scene is one that could fit in either thread, but you'd have to develop it a little more to complete it as a snow scene. Then again, Deborah pointed out that all good paintings start out as abstracts. That was why I posted my Screaming Warhol Stage in this thread, even though I just changed it and muted some of the colors and am working on it according to Colourful Still Life method.

Thanks for your comments, JB and Janis! Yeah, the first thing I thought as I got the background in was "This is going to be one of those op art things that make people's eyes water." I was so tempted to stop it right there and stick it in a black mat.

Would've, if I'd had another piece of white Pastelbord to start over with. Eh, I could redo it after I finish this one and after I make my next Blick order. I've got Pastelbord coming in it.

11-03-2008, 05:42 PM
Robert, maybe you should stop now! I love that intense red against the turquoise.

Judibelle, your snow scene is fresh and lovely. 'Feathers' was the first word that came to mind. The blue-greens look so clean against the white (that isn't really white, I know!).

11-03-2008, 10:01 PM

Nice and light feel to the snow. Because I like the abstract image so much I often want to leave my paintings at an early stage, so it could go one way or another, as far as I'm concerned. Actually, you could leave it as it is or develop it in either direction, as well, as you did with the black and white one. You went back in on it, gave it more dimension and strength and you did it well.

Just a note on my mostly black & white one; it was based on sea anemones.



Dazzling, lush colors! Yes, I think it'd be good to come back to this one and redo as an independent abstract. I have to get going on that classwork!

BTW, my blue house was based on a photo I took of a very pink house on the outskirts of Concord, Massachusetts, but I don't have the right colors in the pink spectrum (which is one of the reasons I haven't started my class work) so I did it in blue. Here it is:


Really glad this thread will keep going!

11-04-2008, 12:13 AM
What a great reference, Janis! It's wonderful. I like the way you changed the color and kept the feeling. Your painting was so jazzy and delightful.

Kim, I didn't want to stop and only had the one piece of white Pastelbord. But I am going to do it again with the same colors, probably on Colourfix or Pastelbord when I get some more, and keep it as an abstract. Do both versions. I shouldn't have too much trouble doing that as I still have a scan of it to work from and know which sticks I used. I might scale up the abstract a little more since it is simpler.

11-06-2008, 11:49 AM
Here's an abstract of mine: It started as a proper landscape and the I got carried away! :) Any comments? I should add that it's 14x20 on white wallis.

11-06-2008, 04:07 PM
Pippa, This is exciting! Great action and color!
Suggestion iof a storm brewing?

11-06-2008, 04:08 PM
thanks, everyone, for your comments. Janis, I love your house...
Pipa...very nice abstract landscape. I love the colors and how they are reflected into the foreground.

Here is an abstract I did in little under an hour....from a back&white sketch I did some time ago.
C&C welcomed...

11-07-2008, 12:23 AM
Pippa, that's gorgeous. It does still suggest the landscape and reflections in the water, and that burst of blue (sky?) between the tree elements is exuberant.

JB, yours makes me think of Northwest Coast totem poles and carvings. It has that feel to it and colors that make me think of Lascaux and cave paintings. It's very cool and has a feeling echoing the roots of art.

11-07-2008, 07:25 AM
Thanks Janis, JB, and robert! Interesting story behind this piece... it actually started out as a landscape which I had finished when I decided that I had lost what I was trying to achieve, and I brushed the entire painting out and started to try again with more intense colours. After an hour, my BF looked at it and said "You should stop right there - that's a good abstract by itself".

While I didn't stop there, I did agree that it would make a good abstract so I pushed that a little farther.

Janis - I really like your colourful house! JB - I love the colours in your snow abstract. I'd bring in a few more darks though to make the lighter areas pop. Maybe some dark blue under the tree bough, and in the upper right corner.

Donna T
11-07-2008, 06:59 PM
Judibelle, Neat piece with very interesting shapes and colors. I can see the totem pole resemblence too.

Pippa, I love that painting! It's just gorgeous and really makes us work to "see" the landscape. I'm glad you stopped when you did - your BF was right!


11-07-2008, 07:27 PM
Pippa, that's just gorgeous!!

11-07-2008, 08:21 PM
Thanks all for the comments on my blue house. JB, I really like your new abstract. It has a bit of the Picaso-ish look to it. Good design. I might bring in some dark, cool hues to it, too.

CM Neidhofer
11-12-2008, 05:28 PM
Pippa, This is exciting! Great action and color!
Suggestion iof a storm brewing?

I really like this. Reminds me of watching one of those thunderous "micro burst" storms in Florida, through a rain splattered window!


Kathryn Wilson
11-18-2008, 03:31 PM
I am here to let you know that Tressa is still not well and will not be able to continue on with this Challenge, for the time being.

We will be suspending the Challenges until she feels better and back on her feet.

In the meantime, I will unsticky the thread and place it in the Library, at which time that she feels better, it can be brought back into play if she wants to.

Kathryn Wilson
11-18-2008, 03:32 PM
Tressa, if you are reading this, feel better! We are thinking of you.