Experiment With Abstract Art

I don’t know if I’ve ever said these words “out loud” to you, but they deserve to be said, repeatedly and loudly. So here I am, virtually hollering at you across cyberspace: Experiment with abstract art!

I know we have talked about how thinking abstractly is a key to any successful painting, realistic or otherwise. But the point that shouldn’t be lost is that abstraction is a rewarding way to work in and of itself, as well as being a gateway to representational works.

Madame Butterfly by Helen Frankenthaler, woodcut, 2000.
Madame Butterfly by Helen Frankenthaler, woodcut, 2000.

I could fill sketchbooks full of abstract paintings and mixed media sketches combining charcoal and oil pastels or watercolor and graphite. These ways of painting call out to me in less formal ways and make me just want to play and move color and line across the page without any rules.

A largely abstract work by Marshall Arisman that presents highly altered yet still recognizable forms, namely the human body.
A largely abstract work by Marshall Arisman that presents highly altered yet still recognizable forms, namely the human body.

I don’t mean to say that all abstract art is visually successful, but I do think that all experiments with abstract art can teach you a lot about observing what you are doing and really seeing the work that you are creating for what it is. And when you work abstractly or mix media you are less likely to conform to outside expectations about what objects, figures, and landscapes should look like. At least that is how it is with me, and I find that mindset exhilarating.

So feel free to indulge in formless visions and ideas that don’t live so concretely in the “real” world. Paint, draw, and create without looking over yours shoulder or with preconceptions hemming you in. And if you are looking for a guide to help ease your way into abstraction, Abstract Overview is just the one–with crucial tips and techniques on how to make the best abstract art you can, with a variety of media.  Enjoy!


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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

3 thoughts on “Experiment With Abstract Art

  1. Hi there, Courtney, i was very excited about your article and thoughts on abstract art,as i love to work this way, and agree with what you are saying. Although i am ancient, i,m still studying, hopefully the mind is still young enough to learn new things. Any chance of more abstract articles?. Best wishes.

  2. This article is so aptly relevant to my recently ‘fresh’ experience. I’m a loyal impressionist and found out the other day that I needed an experiment to feel that other side of art freedom. I tend to ‘fear’ with experiments, but realized too that they are important ‘tools’ — helps me focus. So to my surprise, I came up with an abstract art that was a delight to my eyes 🙂

  3. Abstracts using mixed media
    Since learning new tools and use of new materials my abstract painting has been fun
    Exploring everyday on small watercolor sheets and then cutting some in shapes to paste on a card if it is worthy.