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Old 04-18-2018, 06:15 AM
zeropoint zeropoint is offline
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Abstract art--finding shapes exercise

I feel like I've seen a hundred exercises along these lines, and yet I can't remember anything but the overall gist.

The gist is that this is an abstract exercise wherein color is put down randomly and then you go back with a different color or medium to circle shapes within the abstract colors.

I want to try variations of this with mixed media (several kinds of ink, watercolor, graphite). I'm hoping to find exercises based off this so I can expand my repertoire.

Does anyone know of any? Thank you.
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Old 04-18-2018, 09:54 AM
claude j greengrass's Avatar
claude j greengrass claude j greengrass is offline
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Re: Abstract art--finding shapes exercise

I too would welcome any contributions to finding abstract shapes.
It is only on a basis of knowledge that we can become free to compose naturally. -- Bernard Dunstan
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Old 05-08-2018, 01:10 AM
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JenieJo JenieJo is offline
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Re: Abstract art--finding shapes exercise

I do this type of exercise often, usually when I need a break!

The exercise I like most is:
1. put down almost random paint, in three or four colours max. Ensuring there is some overlap. I use acrylic or watercolour mostly.
2. I find lines running across the page and through shapes. I trace these in 2 contrasting colours - often black and white - in different widths.
3. then, I get my full pallette and look for shapes that could become objects - heads, legs, buckets, birds, buildings, ... and use various line options to either highlight the paint already there or recede it.
4. last step involves looking at the whole image to create from connections and contrast on the page.

Hope that helps. Here is one I prepared earlier ... my goal here was to create some type of 360 degree views, and emphasize white.

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Old 05-12-2018, 09:35 AM
IanBertram IanBertram is offline
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Re: Abstract art--finding shapes exercise

Since I view this sort of thing as a way to 'free up' my markmaking and compositional skills, I generally avoid exercises. I tend to just doodle if I have a pen or pencil. With colour I make some random marks and build on them.

One thing you might try is to put down some colour - acrylic works best I think for this - on a sheet of plastic and then randomly mix them by scratching through, pushing around a little with the edge of a piece of card. Then lay some paper over it all and rub down with the heel of your hand or the back of a spoon. When you lift up the paper your original marks will be transferred to the paper with additional texture created as you separate the paper and the plastic sheet, plus an element of randomness as the colours are pressed together. Leaving some parts of the paint quite thick and other thinner works well.

Mist the plastic sheet with water and repeat. You will get much softer colours because a lot of the paint has been lifted off.

I often place a mat over the print I've made (that is effectively what you have done) and move it around to find compositions. Try it with different size apertures and try rotating the mat at an angle to the paper.

Once you have isolated an image you can either cut it from the sheet and mount it in the mat (as I do) or you can try to scale it up to a larger size, or just treat it as a doodle and a source of further inspiration.

If all else fails you have a source of material for collage!

For more examples look at 'Tiny Art' category in my etsy shop.

Last edited by IanBertram : 05-12-2018 at 09:46 AM. Reason: Adding image
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