How to do Abstract art?

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Pheenix wrote
on 11 Jan 2011 6:47 AM

I am a newbie to acylics. I am trying to stretch my skills and develop a better eye. I decided to try my hand at something more abstract. (see attached picture)  How do you decide what to paint when doing an abstract? How do you pic your colors and do you sketch it before you paint it?


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pairofjacks wrote
on 12 Jan 2011 3:48 PM

Pheenix:

That's the beauty of abstract painting.  There's really no right way or wrong way of doing things.  Abstract is just that.....abstract.  When it comes to

abstract painting I think most people have a vision, or an idea of what they want their painting to look like when they start painting.  Some people might

sketch it out, or do some experimenting prior to painting on the canvas.  The photo of the painting you posted can be described as abstract or geometric.

A lot of times abstract paintings don't really have any defined style, shape or purpose to them, other than being abstract.  I love abstract painting because

there is no right way and wrong way of painting and I always envision every abstract painting as an experiment with colors and other media.  If you want to

see a wide variety of abstract paintings just type in 'abstract paintings' in Yahoo image search or on Ebay. 

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Pheenix wrote
on 12 Jan 2011 6:17 PM

I appreciate the feedback. I had no idea what to call my painting... I think geometric is the best description.  I have seen some amazing art that I would describe as abstract. I have also seen some works that dont look like art to me. I understand the wonderful thing about art is that its in the eye of the beholder, but  how do you know you are on the right path?

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pairofjacks wrote
on 12 Jan 2011 7:11 PM

That's a hard question to answer.  Define 'right path'.  I think it's different for everyone.  I enjoy doing abstract paintings and experimenting with adding different mediums to my paint to achieve different effects and for me there's really no right way, or right path as long as I like what I'm painting.  If it's something that I personally don't like then how am I to believe others will like it?  That's why it's so difficult to describe, or even offer advice on abstract painting.  I'm working on a piece right now and I'm just not 'feeling it'.  When I don't get a good vibe from something I'm working on then it usually doesn't turn out good for me, but it's easy to take an abstract painting and totally change it by manipulating the colors with thinners, or other mediums so even if it's not turning out exactly how you envisioned it, don't toss it just yet.  I think every artist is their worst critic.   Agree?  So for me, the 'right path' is more of a feeling.  If I can look at something I'm working on and like what I see then I know I'm on the right path.  There are definitely times when I know I'm on the wrong path.  I get quite a few ideas on youtube.  There are several artists on youtube who show their artwork in time lapse so you can see, step by step, how they come up with their work.

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Pheenix wrote
on 13 Jan 2011 7:06 PM

Okay, that makes sense. If I like it, then its right. Thats good. I like that idea. I truely am My own worst critic. I will keep playing with the idea and see what come out on the canvas. One of my friends told me that my latest artwork shows my "logical side" too much.  I had to admit it was true. Straight lines and circles and geometric shapes are "comfortable" for me.  That type of work doesnt really require me to stretch my abilities. But it was fun to do.

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on 4 Jul 2011 8:04 AM

Have a look at the abstract works of Irish-American painter Seán Scully. He definitely has a distinctive colour sense.

Anselm Kiefer's works are gargantuan, and he definitely has a vision. They are somewhat realist, but with amazing abstract form. Even though I'm a realist painter I was stunned by Kiefer's huge works when I saw them at the Guggenheim in Bilbao.

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cheriedurbin wrote
on 13 Dec 2012 6:57 AM

Love your painting!

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millerandrea wrote
on 2 Jan 2013 1:22 AM

Abstract painting might not look hard, as if the artist did not know what they were painting. It might look like it; however, this is far from the truth. Abstract can be more difficult than landscape or scenery, because there is nothing to copy from, and nothing like it has been painted prior to the moment that the artist picked up the brush or palette knife.

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antesoo wrote
on 2 Jan 2013 7:50 AM

One of the main meanings of abstract is that the artwork is an "abstract"  of something....which is where the name comes from. The concept means you can take something like a house a boat or simply any old thing and abstract from it those forms,colors or items that you see as being integral to your 'story'. Sorry didn't mean to be didactic....comes from being a retired art teacher. I do like the way everyone here is constructively encouraging ....keep up the good work and a creative new year to all.

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James Bair wrote
on 2 Jan 2013 4:02 PM

Sometimes you might get the idea/shape/concept from certain words, music, circumstances or maybe even a glance of something. You might have an overall idea of what you think it should look like when complete although, it might be slightly or hugely different when completed. You can always go with the idea of "NOA" (Non Objective Art). Google that and select images and look at all the similarities. Its all by chance!  :)

 

  Take Care,

                         James Bair

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nlichte wrote
on 12 Feb 2014 6:24 PM

I believe art is anything that brings out emotion. For me abstract painting is somewhere in between experimenting and expressing an emotion. Whether it is the emotion I am feeling at the moment of creation or a specific emotion I want the viewer to experience. I personally believe that the quality or art should too be based on the level of emotion it draws out in a person, but that is personal opinion. It seems like you have a good eye for color, so challenge your self. Keep going!!!

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on 7 Apr 2014 2:09 AM

I always ask "What would happen if I do this..." and try a certain technique. The great thing about abstracts is that you get to experiment with an idea for another painting if you want. You pick colors that either just look good together sitting next to each other in the bottle, or use colors that create a certain mood of the piece.

Many abstracts would not be sketched beforehand and just free flowing, but yours might, seeing the geometric nature of it. Is there really a rule that says you must do it this way or that? The answer to your whole general inquiry seems to be that there is no right or wrong way to go about an abstract since you are the one that makes the rules. There are ways to make some abstracts look better though, if you want to make something really appealing to the eye.

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on 2 May 2014 1:45 PM

I see there are still some comments to this post....and looked at pieces you are showing so far. My two cents would be, to look at the types of abstracts that attract you and see what are the common elements.  Is the format clean and simple, or patterned and busy?  Are the colors simple and muted...almost graphic, or are the bold and stand out?  Is it form related or total abstract?  Is it flat, raised or textured?  These are the elements that you need to look at in your own pieces.

I look at your first geometric piece and I see flat geometric forms.  What would happen if you added looser line, ior added pattern or texture within a couple of the major forms?  I see your attempt at that in the piece using textured line or jute.  Have you tried using layers of color by using color mixed with clear medium as glazes to create depth of the form?

Just remember that the canvas itself will decide a lot for you.  You can plan and plan, but often the canvas suprises you with a different idea. 

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