I often get asked how I create my abstract artworks and where my ideas come from. If you’ve ever stood before an abstract painting and thought “What the?” you’re not alone! Mind you there are some bad examples out there!
Until I went to Art College to do a Fine Arts Certificate I never understood what abstract art was ‘all about’. I now have several methods for developing designs.
The reason I love to paint abstracts is that it gives me the opportunity to express what I see in a different way. Like many abstract artists I started as a realist painter but in later years I found this unchallenging.
I don’t want my art to look like a photo, I want to express more.
Abstracts need to be based on the same principles and elements of design that realism is based upon, in fact the abstract painter needs to have an even more thorough understanding of the principles of design. This is what gives the painting structure and balance. Throwing paint or riding a paint clad bike over a canvas is not what abstract art is really about!
My inspiration for abstracts comes from everywhere. In fact, sometimes there are too many ideas!
Things like textures or patterns on rocks, trees or the forest floor can spark an idea. Abstract designs are all around you!
For example I take photos of interesting rock formations or patterns often at the local beaches,( see above), I look for good movement, direction and lines. This little one has an interesting focal point in the ‘third’ section of the painting and made a great small ‘beach theme’ abstract. I have multiple photos like this. Trees are anothergreat source for patterns, colour and design.
If you begin to look at the subject as ‘flat shapes’ rather than objects, it’s a good way to start.
Looking at the subject through a piece of red Perspex is a great way to remove detail, decrease the subject to ‘shapes’ and show you what the tonal values are by negating the colours. (A great little trick my art teacher taught me)!
You need to look for things that grab your attention, maybe the way the shapes inter-relate, or interesting lines that can lead the eye through the painting. Also the negative shapes in a design are equally as important as the positive shapes so keep your eye out for ones that are interesting and not all the same.
In my next blog I’ll share some other ideas for beginning an abstract painting such as using macro photos or perhaps beginning an abstract based on a traditional painting design. If you would like to receive my newsletter please sign up on my website. Bye for now! Liv