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Old 06-08-2017, 06:25 AM
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SilverSwallow SilverSwallow is offline
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Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

Before I start, I want to say that I have no issues with abstract art. Some of my favorite artists all abstract heavily and I believe its very important in ones artistic development. I myself like to use abstraction a lot in my personal work, and lately I have been trying to push myself to get better with negative space and using graphic shapes so I honestly have no issues with the idea of creating abstract art.

However, I have seen the idea of abstract being used as an excuse too often from artists who simply don't know how to draw their chosen subject properly.
No matter if its landscapes, or portraits or anything else for that matter, I point out something is wrong, and the I am told, "oh, that's just my style", or "its abstract". If I ask the same people to draw me a similar image without abstraction, they cant do it.
A professionally trained eye can see the difference in abstract created by someone with training and an amateur with no training. A lot of amateur's in my opinion use the concept of abstract as an excuse not to deal with problems in their art.
I get this. Its hard to accept for anyone that their work might not be good. Especially so for artists. You a put all that effort in and someone tells you that you have fundamental issues, its a natural defense to find an excuse.
But here's the thing. You will never get good, never get better, unless you accept the fact that you don't understand something. If you continue to use excuses you will never get better. Its only by accepting failure and learning from it that we can grow. Failure is the most important feeling you can experience.
Do yourself a favor. If your drawing abstract people because you cant handle anatomy, take out a sketchbook and go learn anatomy. You will get better, and when you go back to abstract, it will be stronger. Same with landscapes. Don't know your perspective? Same thing. Practice it.
If you truly don't care, and are just happy to paint as you see fit, then go for it. Being happy is important too. But be honest, when someone points out your mistakes. Accept them and say "yeah, I don't understand, but I had fun anyway"', but don't kid yourself or anyone else by saying "its abstract!"
Feel free to discuss.
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Old 06-08-2017, 06:48 AM
ntl ntl is offline
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Re: Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

Excellent points. It's also fair to say, from what I've seen here, few responders are willing to point out weaknesses OR strengths in a work--at least in the fora I visit. There are critique guidelines in different fora areas, including at
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show....php?t=1407620
and
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show....php?t=1200812
Recently, few of the original posters I've responded don't even bother to acknowledge some responses.
For my self, I do want to know areas that people think need an adjustment, or are strong. It's hard to see such things. I also reserve the right to disagree, but I post my work in order to learn as well as for the kudos.
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Old 06-08-2017, 08:46 AM
budigart budigart is offline
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Re: Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

I learned to draw from a mail order art school -- remember the old DRAW ME ads in magazines? -- with the circle, square and triangle method. Pretty simple way to start, but effective. Many years later, I had for 10 years a studio in an art gallery in Lincoln, NE. Being the capital city, we drew high school students from many nearby small towns. They would drift through the gallery in small groups, often with their art teacher in tow. Often when in my studio, someone would ask about my work and "how do your do that." I would explain, and often demonstrate, my ancient circle, square and triangle method to them in a 3 to 5 minute "lecture." Many times the art teacher would hang back as the students drifted away, and then say to me something like, Gee, I didn't know that. An online acquaintance of mine often says, many are prepared to die for their art, but few are willing to learn to draw. The fact is that drawing is the foundation of art.
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Old 06-08-2017, 06:00 PM
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Re: Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

drawing Is the foundation of realism art
composition is the foundation of abstract art, i think, still trying to figure that out

la
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Old 06-09-2017, 01:45 PM
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Re: Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

This could be said about a good bit of the contemporary art in general especially with some of the installations that are passing as art these days, but the subjective nature of this creative outlet always wins.

Those who want to learn to better themselves will take the critique and keep it moving and others will continue to make excuses.
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Old 06-10-2017, 12:01 PM
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caldwell.brobeck caldwell.brobeck is offline
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Re: Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

The problem I see with your original post, SilverSwallow, is you actually fail to define "good" (and similar adjectives of quality). That failure renders arguments like this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSwallow
However, I have seen the idea of abstract being used as an excuse too often from artists who simply don't know how to draw their chosen subject properly.

meaningless.

For example, what does it mean to draw a human figure "properly"? Would you consider this drawn "properly"?

[Willem de Kooning, Woman I, 1952, courtesy of Wikiart.org]

I picked de Kooning because I personally can't stand most of his work, particularly his images of women. But I also have to say that he was a good draftsman, when that suited him. For example, one of his earliest pieces is this:

[Willem de Kooning, Still Life (Bowl, Pitcher and Jug), c. 1921, courtesy of deKooning.org]

De Kooning had the skills to take himself where he wanted to go. There is no shortage of people who then pick up where de Kooning left off. Art in that sense is no different than many other fields of human endeavour; neophytes start with what their predecessors have left them. S for those following that trail, what you dismiss might, in fact, be quite worthwhile.

So again, what to you is "good"? What is your standard of judgement?

Cheers;
Chris
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Old 06-10-2017, 02:41 PM
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Re: Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by caldwell.brobeck
The problem I see with your original post, SilverSwallow, is you actually fail to define "good" (and similar adjectives of quality).

I never defined good, because I am not talking about whats good or bad in abstract art. Either you have not read my post in its entirety or you have misinterpreted what I am saying.

To recap, I said that Abstract is often used as an excuse by amateurs who simply don't have the core draftsmanship skills. Anyone can draw or paint abstract and that's fine. Art is subjective. But its been my experience helping students,etc that its often used as an excuse because when asked to draw something like the human figure that is proportionally correct, or draw a landscape with correct perspective applied, they cant do it.

I would say that the vast majority of artists that are considered top of the game in abstract art, all have very strong core fundamental skills, like the artists you pointed out in your example.

So again, its not about what is a good or bad , its about not using abstraction as a way to avoid learning the fundamentals. Entirely different argument.
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Old 06-10-2017, 06:14 PM
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Re: Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

i had sister students a few years ago.
one strived for reality and was pretty good at it.
one couldn't wrap her head around reality at all, but was pretty good at abstract.
naturally

i agree that either shouldn't use either as a way to avoid learning the fundamentals of either, but art is so broad, reaches so far, and everyone seems to have their own speed of development - i refuse to dictate too harshly to any student, rather, i suggest options for improvements and let them decide how far to push themselves.

la
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Old 06-10-2017, 06:42 PM
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Re: Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

I have been writing the grand "master's thesis" recently, and this is one of the topics I have ranted on at length. So, what is the purpose of art? To get a photograph? That was taken care of back in 1850's or so with the invention of the camera. Is art about the individual "vision" or "working" of a piece? Is it about how a single person filters or interprets the world, or "a scene?"

One thread of reading I have done is the cognitive development of art. Apparently, the urge to render absolutely ends at about the 5th grade. People who are stuck on the idea that art is about rendering in a truly accurate way, are a bit backward. They have never developed past that late childhood period. I must say that I experience endless delight with tromp-le-ole and the visual optical illusions of realistic artists, but I also love the anti-conformity art that asks non-mundane questions about reality, vision, and our place in the cosmos etc.

Sticking each person who practices art with the idea that unless you can paint a perfect jug of wine and loaf of bread you are not an artist is kind of flippant. I am guessing that the person making that judgment can actually paint a very good jug of wine and loaf of bread. So this person then says, unless you can do exactly what I can do, you are no good.

I've known many people like this.
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Old 06-14-2017, 01:00 PM
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Re: Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

Abstraction can be mastered, it's like poetry…

Realism is more like a novel.
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Old 06-14-2017, 03:21 PM
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Re: Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

Quote:
Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

Well, in my opinion it is a way to avoid learning to depict subjects in a realistic manner. There certainly is an amount of "learning" that is necessary in the depiction of abstraction, as well, but not the same elements as that which is necessary for the creation of realism.
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Last edited by WFMartin : 06-14-2017 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 06-14-2017, 04:24 PM
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Re: Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

Often abstraction is really nonobjective,
my abstraction is often depicting people and places, although in abstraction.


abstraction
noun
1. the quality of dealing with ideas
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Last edited by JohnEmmett : 06-14-2017 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 06-14-2017, 06:29 PM
TheLibrarian TheLibrarian is offline
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Re: Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

It doesn't mean they want to avoid learning. It's just that we wish to paint something now rather than wait until we are all knowing which realistically is every ones situation. I don't judge or blame and art is neither a fault nor offense to be excused.
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Old 06-15-2017, 02:41 AM
rafaartstudio rafaartstudio is offline
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Re: Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by La_
i had sister students a few years ago.
one strived for reality and was pretty good at it.
one couldn't wrap her head around reality at all, but was pretty good at abstract.
naturally

i agree that either shouldn't use either as a way to avoid learning the fundamentals of either, but art is so broad, reaches so far, and everyone seems to have their own speed of development - i refuse to dictate too harshly to any student, rather, i suggest options for improvements and let them decide how far to push themselves.

la

Concur with your words, and I want add this phrase. "March to the beat of your own drum."

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverSwallow
Do yourself a favor. If your drawing abstract people because you cant handle anatomy, take out a sketchbook and go learn anatomy. You will get better, and when you go back to abstract, it will be stronger. Same with landscapes. Don't know your perspective? Same thing. Practice it.

Despite my subjects tend to be more abstract, I enjoy learning realism. I know how important is abstraction on realism too. But I will always consider myself an abstract artist.

In my opinion, abstraction became as my nature. Realism is as a second language or current living place .
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Last edited by rafaartstudio : 06-15-2017 at 02:56 AM.
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Old 06-18-2017, 02:47 PM
BeLing BeLing is offline
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Re: Abstraction: A way to avoid learning?

There's an idea, particularly ancient Eastern, that art should be about the nature of Nature, not just the visible part of one's environment.

"Art is an imitation of the nature of things, not of their appearance." (Ananda K. Coomaraswamy essay, "Why Exhibit Works Of Art?")

I think it's great to draw, to develop one's ability to observe, but I wonder sometimes if I get too hung up on appearances, and avoid the real "nature" I really wanted to depict; because THAT part is too hard. ?
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