View Full Version : Abstract Art?

03-16-2003, 07:07 PM
I love looking at it. All of it. I can't seem to get a handle on it. I can't seem to be able to paint it. I try. It doesn't come out right. What the #@#*$# is going on here? Anyone else have this problem? Or has winter been going to long?


Rose Queen
03-16-2003, 08:32 PM
We don't actually have winter in Southern California, so I can't say about that, Jay, but maybe you're just trying too hard. You've got great art training available in Chicago -- have you thought about checking with them to see if there is a class in abstract art?

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03-16-2003, 08:50 PM
I maybe trying to hard. I'll let it go for awhile. I know all about Southern California. Grew up in Tustin. You have winter, but not like here! Although it was warm today 63!!!!


Cathy Morgan
03-16-2003, 10:47 PM
Maybe it would help to get into the minds of the abstract artists whose work you most admire. Read their biographies, letters, autobiographies. What were they trying to do? Why?

Meanwhile - why not do some freedrawing and freepainting for a while? By that I mean the kind of drawing or painting where you just watch the pencil or brush do it. The idea is to release all control and just see what happens. Did you ever read On Not Being Able to Paint (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0823682021/qid=1047872545/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-3645233-6240637?v=glance&s=books) by Joanna Field (Marion Milner?) This is the book from which I learned the power of free drawing.

For free drawing, I use a 6B pencil or Ebony pencil, on paper with just a bit of tooth. These are quick drawings, a few seconds each, for me anyway. I go through so much paper that I buy 250-sheet packs of Exact Vellum Bristol. You can buy drawing paper by the ream, too, but it's usually 9x12 and I like to be able to put the drawings in a 3-ring binder. (They'll need to be sprayed with fixative if you really care about them.)

For free painting, I like cheap ink from Dick Blick (their own brand) and a sumi brush. This I prefer to do large scale, on big sheets of newsprint. But it can be done in a regular sketchbook. Just get some sheets of blotting paper to put between the pages so you can keep going.

Of course you can also free paint with color. I'm about to do this to explore some palette options. (Well OK, also just to have fun.)

The ultimate process for letting go in artmaking, is the process called Creativity Mobilization Training (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0808909037/qid%3D1047872992/sr%3D11-1/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F1/103-3645233-6240637) , or mess-painting. The book is expensive but you can usually borrow it through interlibrary loan if your library doesn't own it. This really works!

Maybe abstract painting isn't really your true direction in art - but whatever it is, these processes will help you find it. Best wishes!

03-17-2003, 04:47 AM
Cathy is right - have a look at some abstract artists. There are so many different kinds of abstract. Look around and decide which you like. Then read about the artists and find out why they painted that way.

There are also two approaches to abstract - one is the so-called free painting. Abstract expressionism was a bit like this, artists just went with the flow. There is also the form that has evolved from representative works. I do this - I still do sketches, compositions, charcoal studies. All before painting. Abstract doesn't mean unplanned. Abstract still use the basic concepts of tone and value, composition, colour balance, etc.

Explore a bit. :D Also ask yourself why you want to paint abstract. I've posted about this several times over in the abstract forum...


03-17-2003, 06:37 AM
Thanks for the book titles. I want to paint that way because I'm drawn to it. I just sold a painting (it's my outsider stuff), but I bored easily I guess.

Thanks again!


Ron van den Boogaard
03-17-2003, 07:19 AM
I agree with a lot of the above. I used to be a.o. an illustrotor with photo realistic airbrush as a specialization.
I felt very liberated when I first succeeded doing abstracts. Now in retrospect it was me that was liberated from a load of crap that enable me to do abstracts and not the other way round.
You have to let go of a lot of preconceived ideas, trust your intuition.
I can understand the need (for lack of a better word) for abstracts, it is total freedom and that is a lot to handle.

The free-drawing and painting advice is excellent, perhaps some figurative things will sip through, but that is perhaps the bagage you carry. That''s all cool. That is part of you and it takes time for some things to wear off.

When I look closely at my work, I can still see hints of graphic design, typography, etc.. That is stuff I was involved in most of my life, but I am not fighting it.

Another route you might wanna follow is to make your current work more abstract slowly and slowly evolve. Believe it or not: Mondriaan did windmills and trees and the square abstractions he is famous for actually derived from his tree-paintings.


03-17-2003, 09:34 AM

thanks again for the great advice. Thanks to all!!!!


03-17-2003, 02:40 PM
I was working on yesterday. Maybe it's me, but something about it doesn't feel or seem right. I feel like some guy blowing the trumpet, looking for the hidden note.

36X36 Acrylic.

Ron van den Boogaard
03-17-2003, 05:15 PM
Not to worry, it's a good piece. You can't expect the hidden note to come out the first time round. Do one more and one more and one more and one more.
Trumpet players practice all the time, we seem to expect that every practice is the final performance.
This is a piece in it's own right (whereas music disappears in time and space). You be very lucky to discover the hidden note, I still don't know where mine is, I now just know the general direction where it possibly might be.
If we only could uncover our own secrets in one single day, wow. Does not work that way for most of us.

One day's ceiling is the next day's floor.

03-17-2003, 05:29 PM
Ron . . .went to your web site. Looks like you blowing the note pretty well! Thanks for the good words. Maybe it's in my head?


04-15-2003, 09:19 AM
Originally posted by jaymarvin
I was working on yesterday.36X36 Acrylic.

Very beautiful!! :clap: :clap: :clap:
Why don't you post it in the abstract forum? there you can have opinions and compare wiith other people loving abstract pieces (like me :p )

ciao, rapolina.

04-15-2003, 10:07 AM
Originally posted by rapolina

Very beautiful!! :clap: :clap: :clap:
Why don't you post it in the abstract forum? there you can have opinions and compare wiith other people loving abstract pieces (like me :p )

ciao, rapolina.

Where is that forum? Can you e-mail me a link or post it here?


04-15-2003, 10:27 AM
[i]Where is that forum? Can you e-mail me a link or post it here?
Jay [/B]


this is the url, it's interesting!
anyway, you can choose it from the wetcanvas bar content channels.
ciao, rapolina.

04-15-2003, 10:36 AM


04-19-2003, 06:34 AM
i like that one you posted above

04-19-2003, 07:17 AM
Thanks. But it doesn't touch the one I put up in the Abstract Forum!

Thanks again.


04-27-2003, 06:15 AM
could you try not to paint abstract abstract. Just paint like you've always painted, but simplify the shapes a bit, lose some detail. Then simplify them more, and then some more,...