Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Art Tip #113

Finding the Abstraction


"Caribbean Storm"

I've been toying with trying my hand at an abstract but couldn't seem to find a jumping off point until now.  I find a small percentage of abstracts compelling. Why?  Because a small amount of artists understand & can communicate the "rules" of painting. Good abstracts aren't about "wiping" paint onto a canvas & throwing a few words in for good measure.  You hear "Learn the rules, then you can break them".  I feel like I now have a decent handle on the foundations & that's why I have some confidence to attempt a few.

I've been studying art (in one form or another) almost all my life.  My tastes have evolved by viewing artists who have honed their craft & place an emphasis on quality.  With this observation, I have tried to set my own bar high. By that, I mean to strive to produce  quality work.  Will I fail?  Most definitely.  More times than I'll succeed but hopefully most failures won't end up for public consumption, rather, for me to evaluate why it didn't work & incorporate those lessons into the next painting.

I see some students jump to abstracts because they've grown frustrated & impatient with learning the foundations of painting.  It's a kind of a short cut.  Can't draw a figure, no problem, I'll just abstract it.  Except abstraction comes from reality.  There are no short cuts in life or art.  Being good at something doesn't happen overnight.  When I first started painting, a very wise person told me that in 10 years, I'd really start to get it.  They were so right.  I feel like I'm at the beginning of my journey & it's a glorious journey.  

Bad abstracts are like the Kardashians' of the art world.  All glitz, no substance.  Not to say there isn't a place for them but being known for glitz isn't what I'm striving for. But remember good art will stand the test of time.

Whatever your painting style is, set some personal standards & goals. It's a great feeling when you achieve them and don't forget to have some fun along with way.

Jumping off my soapbox now, hopefully, I won't sprain anything.  ;)

Here are a few of favorite abstract/expressionist painters: