5 Ways to Create Your First Abstract Painting, Part Two

Start Mixing It Up

A crucial part of your painting is going to be the colors that you choose to use. This is where you should start to learn the art of mixing paint as this will give you so much more scope with the paintings that you can create with a basic set of acrylic paints.

You will be able to see how colors work together when you have them on your palette. Play around with ideas and see how different shades will look together. Take your time in this process as it is one of the most important parts of creating any painting. Getting the colors right is going to impact the success of your finished product in a very big way.

Practice makes perfect. You will get better at mixing paint and exploring ideas for color with each abstract painting that you create. Remember that this is your first painting. Do not strive for perfection. Aim to enjoy the process and learn from it.

It’s All About the Layers

You already have your first layer of paint all over your canvas so that there is no more white showing through. You have your basic design ideas blocked out in pencil and you have your paint mixed on your palette. Now it is time to start the really exciting part. Building the layers of the painting.

Start slowly as this should be a thought out process. We are talking about abstract art, but that does not mean that it is random. This genre may look as though the painter has worked without a plan, but in reality nothing is further from the reality of abstract art. This is a process, not a random collection of brush strokes.

Have Fun

By this stage your painting will be looking almost like the finished product, but there is still a way to go. If you feel yourself getting stuck, you should take a break. Step back and look at your work after you have had a break. It is likely that you will see it with very different eyes if you simply take a step back from it for a while. There is no point in continuing if you are feeling frustrated by the process. This is meant to be enjoyable so give yourself a break!

The Finishing Touches

Keep on adding color until you are happy with the finished painting. Remember that adding layers adds to the complexity and overall impact of the final painting. One of the most difficult parts of the process is in knowing when you are finished. Move away from the canvas and then come back to it after a short break. You should now in that moment whether or not you are finished.

5 Ways to Create Your First Abstract Painting, Part One

You may know that you want to start creating abstract paintings but have no idea where to start. It is important that you do to get too intimidated by this fascinating genre of art. The aim is freedom of expression and you should create whatever makes you feel good. Here are some ideas to get you on your way of creating your first abstract painting.

Start at the Beginning

This may seem obvious, but it is important to pick the material that you will use to put the painting on. The most conventional approach is to buy a canvas. It is usually advisable to start with a manageable size so that you are not too overwhelmed by the size of your potential painting. If you find that you want to create more abstract painting, you can always scale up the process later on. A good way to start is to buy some 10 x 10 inch cavasses. This is a large enough size to start with, but not too large. It is also more economical to buy the smaller canvases as first, so that you can experiment with different techniques and find out what works for you.

You are now faced with a blank canvas. The first place to start is by “toning’ the canvas. In other words, you use paint to cover the canvas so that it is not white anymore. You can off course use any color that you want, but for your first experiments it is best to use a light color.

The aim is to build up our painting in layers so start with something relatively light. Cover the whole of the canvas. This will mean that when your painting is finished you will not be able to see any white canvas showing through. This is essential if you want to create a professional looking effect. Always leave your paint sufficient time to dry before starting on the next step.

Look for Inspiration

In the internet age it is very easy to find pictures and information about abstract art. You can look at the art work of the pioneers of this exciting genre as well as looking at the work of up and coming artists.

You will find inspiration all around you. Take a trip to the park and take some photos. Watch the news. Visit the library to get some ideas. Once you start looking you will find plenty of paintings and ideas that you like. Narrow down your ideas as you do not want to get overwhelmed by not knowing where to start. Sometimes too much choice can be very confusing. At this stage you should have a simple vision of what you want to create with your abstract painting.

You will then want to start putting your ideas down on the canvas. The easiest way to start doing this is by using a pencil to sketch out some ideas on the canvas. This way you can change your mind if the effect is not to your liking. It is very difficult to start out without taking this step. Removing pencil lines is simple, but once you start with the actual paint, that becomes a difficult task. It is always better to get a sense of how things are going to look in pencil before you start adding the paint. It saves a lot of wasted canvas and materials.

5 Tips for Drawing and Painting Abstract Art

Are you just starting your journey in the world of creating abstract art? You may be just starting out or wanting to improve your current art work. Here are 5 tips which will help you in drawing and painting abstract art.

1) Inspiration is All Around You

The creation of abstract art has no limits. That is the central principle of this exiting genre. There is inspiration all around you and sometimes it can be difficult to narrow down exactly what you want to create. Do not get overwhelmed with the choices of what to do. Think what really inspires you.

2) Keep it Simple

You may be very tempted to go in a lot of different directions. This may not be the best idea. Whilst it may be very tempting to think that each piece that you create should be very different, this may mean that the process becomes overwhelming and confusing.

Successful abstract artists often say that in the start of their journey they took a number of different paths, but that this was counterproductive. Take their advice and develop your ideas slowly. When you start a new piece of abstract art limit yourself to just changing one thing about it from the work that you did before. You will notice that your progress is likely much quicker by making small changes rather than radical ones.

3) Learn from the Experts

The more that you learn about the subject of abstract art, the easier you will find it to create your own paintings. There are so many ways that you can find abstract art. The internet is your ultimate resource but there is nothing like experiencing great abstract art face to face. There is no substitute for getting out of the house and experiencing other people’s abstract art work in a gallery.

It is also an excellent idea to find a teacher. They will be able to guide you in learning new techniques and will help you to find your own style. It is also helpful if you are in a group setting as you can take inspiration from others.

4) Start Small

Many abstract art works are on a very large scale. However, this is not the best way to start your abstract painting journey. You will make many mistakes along the way and it is much better to practice your craft by starting small. You will learn a great deal from your early experiments. Many artists will say that they benefited greatly by starting with a small canvas and building up from there. Some would say that you should start by just using the same size of canvas for each of your early pieces.

5) Music Can Inspire You

Music is a great way to create different emotions. The way that you are feeling when you create an abstract painting. It is interesting to experiment with listening to different genres of music when you are painting. Listening to opera may produce a very different result than listening to rock music. Make notes of how you feel that the music influenced how you were feeling and how this impacted your abstract art creation.

7 New Abstract Artists to Watch

Abstract art is enjoying a resurgence of popularity right now. There are many new and emerging abstract artists who are making a big impression on the art world. Here is our pick of the new abstract artists to watch.

1) Molly Zuckerman Hartung

This Chicago based artist is certainly one to watch. In many ways her creations are really a hybrid of paintings and sculpture as she brings a lot of textural complexity to her work. She is taking an exciting and unconventional approach to abstract art. She uses different materials on canvas to give a collage effect.

2) Frank Ammerlaan

This Dutch artist now lives and works in London. There is a certain calmness in much of Ammerlann’s work. If you view many of his most well-known pieces from a distance you will think that you are not seeing much detail. However, a closer inspection will reveal the incredibly intricate work with very think lines and threads. His work literally seems to draw you in to explore it more closely.

He has recently included sculpture and photography in his range of work. He has also started working exploring chemicals as a painting medium. He has carried out extensive research to create a very different medium.

3) Robert Holyhead

This British artist generally works on a small scale canvas. His work is mostly characterized by leaving a lot of the canvas its original white color. He generally uses only small traces of color, giving a translucent effect to his work.

4) Kadar Brock

Kadar Brock is very much the abstract artist of the moment. He is based in New York and is well known for his abstract paintings. He mixes a number of contrasting techniques. The emphasis is on taking his influences from the history of abstract paintings, but he often introduces an element of the unexpected into his work. He makes use of the drip technique which was pioneered by Jackson Pollock.

5) Davide Balliano

Although he was originally from Italy, Davide Balliano is now based in New York. He was originally known for his sculptures, but more recently has exhibited a number of abstract art paintings.

His work is heavily influenced by the pioneers of geometric abstract art. He works pre-dominantly in black and white on geossed boards. His works are very precise, but also he leaves the marks of the ground work for these paintings on the canvas so that you can see the process of his work.

6) Anne Neukamp

There are many layers to Anne Neukamp’s work. Literally. She uses everyday familiar objects as he inspiration, but builds on them to given them an abstract interpretation. She makes skillful use of a number of interesting techniques including trompe l’oeil.

7) Guan Xiao

Guan Xiao is based in Beijing, China. Her work is a fascinating mixture of old and new media and technology. She is well known for her sculptures which incorporate video and projection. Her aim is to challenge the observer to look at the old and the new in a different context. She puts contrasting ideas together to challenge the observer.

Abstract Art Tips, Techniques and Ideas

Are you ready to progress in the exciting world of abstract art and are looking for some inspiration? Here are some abstract art tips, techniques and ideas to get your creative ideas flowing!

Create a Special Display Area

We contacted a high-end fence company here in New Jersey to create a custom-welded display area for my art.  It is much more unique than simply hanging pieces on the wall and, since the design of the area is my own, it accentuates the art.  You don’t need to go all out, but think about the environment in which your pieces will be displayed.

Get Creative with your Materials

Abstract art can be anything that you want it to be, and that means that you can experiment with any materials that you want to use. A lot of abstract art work is created using acrylic paint on canvas. Use this opportunity to think outside the box – something you certainly have to do with all abstract painting. Do not be constrained to conventional media.

Explore Pinterest

You will never be short of ideas and inspiration if you use Pinterest. This social media platform is an artist’s paradise! It is very easy to use The basic idea is that you create online pictures boards. You can search the internet and find pictures and articles that you like. You then ‘pin’ them to boards which you have created. You can use this to keep a convenient online record of things which you like and may use in the future to inspire you to create abstract art. Spend some time looking at other “pinners” boards and you will find so much inspiration it may be difficult to know where to start. Beware. Pinterest can become rather addictive!

Create an Ideas Book

You will find inspiration for abstract art everywhere around you. The beauty of abstract art is that it has no constraints of subject or idea. This is both freeing and intimidating. With so much inspiration how can you decide where to start? It can be a good idea to collect pictures and materials which inspire you. It is very easy to create a visual diary and take photographs and write notes about things which you have seen which could be used in your vision of what you want to create.

If you see an object that interests, you take a photo of it. You may also find it helpful to write notes about how you felt at the time that you saw it. Often we think we will remember things, but it is all too easy to forget how we felt in that moment

Listen to Music

Abstract art is largely an unconscious process. You may sometimes find it difficult to free your mind enough to release your creativity. One thing which may help to give you inspiration is to listen to music when you start the creative process. Music can evoke powerful emotions. Try choosing very different types of music to inspire you.

It may surprise you as to how much your work will change according to the genre of music you are listening to. It is likely that Bach will produce a different result to The Beatles and that Tchaikovsky will inspire a different result than Adele. Experiment with different music and moods to see how this affects the finished work of abstract art – you may be surprised with the different results.

A Brief History of Abstract Art, Part Two

Jackson Pollock is one of the most well-known of the Abstract Expressionism movement. He started as a conventional artist, painting large murals. He became fascinated with the concept of abstract art. He suffered from depression alcoholism and began a course of Jungian psychoanalysis to help him overcome these difficulties. His analyst suggested that he paint as part of his therapy and this inspired him to move into the abstract art genre. Pollock is now recognized as one of the most important and influential of all the abstract artists of the twentieth century.

Pollock pioneered the technique of “drip painting.” In this technique paint is splashed or dripped directly onto the canvas. His works became incredibly popular. One of his works sold for $140 million in 2006.

By the 1950s the abstract art movement had largely run out of steam. It was in many ways a victim of its own success and people were looking for a new departure in the art world. In the words of de Kooning in 1951 “There is no style of painting now. There are as many naturalists among the abstract painters as there are abstract painters among the subject matter school.”

However, there has been a recent revival of abstract art in recent years. Many now see this as the golden age of the abstract art. This is a great deal of renewed interest in this genre with new and emerging artists as well as a celebration of the classic pioneers of abstract art. Whilst there are still many who argue that the demise of this genre is complete, for others there is plenty of evidence that it is very much in the land of the living and flourishing once more.

Technology has of course moved on very quickly in recent years and with this change emerged many new forms of expression. New forms of art have arisen from this technical revolution including photorealism, geometric abstraction, internet art, and digital art. It isn’t much of a stretch of the definition to term these new forms of art a type of abstract expressionism. However, more recently we have seen a return in interest of what could be termed the more “pure” form of abstract art. We can see this with modern artists such as Ben Berlow, Anish Kapoor and Christian Rosa.

In reality we can speculate about the definition and the demise of abstract art for as long as we wish. However, this particular genre has shown that it has an enduring quality which will be with us well into the future.

A Brief History of Abstract Art, Part One

Until the late nineteenth, art was mostly constrained by an accepted view that whatever was created should represent a visual picture of reality. In other words, if it was a painting of a scene of the landscape of Lake Windemere in England the picture should actually look like what the naked eye would see if they were standing on the shore.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century a movement began which saw artists wanting to use a different form of expression to depict the numerous changes which society, science and technology were experiencing. It was in this atmosphere of rapid change that the seeds of the abstract art movement were sown.

Artists began to express themselves in a very different way. Paintings did not follow accepted convention as they depicted people, places and things in an abstract way. Art was no longer a depiction of reality. There are very great differences in the degree of abstraction in art. In some pieces some objects and scenes can be a depiction of reality, but this is mixed with complete abstraction. Paintings no longer looked exactly like the scenes or objects which they were portraying.

Abstract art is now accepted to include other movements including Abstract Expressionism, Cubism and Neoplasticism.

It is universally recognized that a major pioneer in the field of abstract art was Wassily Kandinsky. He was born in Russia in 1866. His work “Picture with a Circle” which he painted in 1911, is recognized as one of the earliest examples of abstract art. This painting is seen as changing the course of art history. It was a first step towards the creation of the Abstract Art movement.

There are some who argue that Abstract Art goes back further than 1911 and Kandinsky. There are some who would say that Turner was in fact the father of the Abstract Art movement as his works featured a non-conventional use of scale and lightning. It is fair to say that most view Kandinsky as the definitive pioneer, not Turner.

Piet Mondrain was another very prominent figure in the Abstract Art movement. Like Kandinsky, he began with conventional figurative painting. He enjoyed commercial success with his conventional works, but wanted to explore the more abstract concepts. He moved from his native Holland to Paris in the early part of the twentieth century and was most particularly influenced by the works of Pablo Picasso. One of Mondrian’s most recognizable works is “Composition with Red Yellow and Blue” which he painted in 1927.

Abstract Expressionism began to emerge in New York during World War II. Prior to the start of the War the abstract at movement was predominantly centered in Paris. Many artists had fled Europe at the start of the Nazi occupation of Europe, and many came to settle in New York. Much of the inspiration was political, which of course is understandable at a time of such worldwide turmoil.

This new Abstract Expressionist movement started in New York City with artists who wanted to harness the power of abstract art to create a strong sense of expressive content. The most famous artists who were part of this early Abstract Expressionism included Jackson Pollok and Franz Kline, Arshille Gorky, Lee Krasner, Frank Kline, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko.

These artists paid homage to, and were very clearly influenced by, the well-known pioneers of abstract art such as Picasso, Kandinsky and Matisse.

The Abstract Expressionist artist often use unconventional materials in their work. They are also known for very large scale works of art. Whilst many of the works of this genre may at first sight seem to have taken little contemplation, in reality there is a very complex process which is involved in creating abstract art.




The Definitive Guide to Reading a Piece of Abstract Art, Part Two

Read All About It

This may seem like a very obvious point, but if you are struggling to interpret a piece look for some clues. Usually the piece of art will have some written label of interpretation beside it, so always look and think about this. Sometimes it will just have a title, but this will often help to create context for the piece and to make it easier to start thinking about just how to read it. Even a date can help you to realize the context of the period of time that the art was created.

If you are still none the wiser, see if there is anyone in the gallery who can help you. Often you can start a conversation with a stranger and ask them their take on the artwork. Gallery staff can also be very knowledgeable – they are there to help you, so ask when you are stuck.

There May Not Be an Answer

You could be looking for an answer which very simply isn’t there. Sometimes the artist has no idea themselves. Or did know when they created the piece, but has simply forgotten. Artists are human after all. Ellsworth Kelly has confessed that he could not remember what the meaning was behind his “Chatham Series.” If the person who created the piece is having difficulty with its meaning you really should give yourself a break!

There is sometimes a lot of pretension surrounding the interpretation of abstract art. This can make it an inaccessible art form if you allow yourself to feel inadequate in being able interpret abstract art. Do not allow yourself to be intimidated by those who you feel have more knowledge than you do. Abstract art is for everyone – not an exclusive few. Allow yourself to accept that there simply may not be an answer at all.

You Do Not Have to Like It All

This goes along with the pressure to find the answer. You may find that you simply do not enjoy the piece. There is no rule which says that you have to like everything that you see. What one person enjoys in a piece may be something which another person finds completely unappealing. Do not allow yourself to force yourself to like something just because that is the general view. That is not the aim of any work of art.

Remember that just saying that you are not enjoying a piece of art does not mean that you don’t understand it. Sometimes you may feel pressured into expressing a liking for a particular abstract art piece because you are surrounded by people who are expressing their positive feelings for it. Always be respectful. By that we mean don’t stand there and say the often heard phrase “my two-year-old could have done that.” Think about it. They really couldn’t. Just remember it is fine not to like something. Each person has their own taste.

Perseverance Pays Off

The more that you learn about abstract art, and the more time that you take to actually study this type of work, the better that you will get in reading abstract art pieces. As you learn more and see more abstract art you will notice that you are acquiring a deeper knowledge and interest. This is bound to help you in interpreting works of abstract art. If you take some time to pursue your interest, you will most certainly be rewarded.

The Definitive Guide to Reading a Piece of Abstract Art, Part One

Be truthful. Have you ever stood in front of a piece of abstract art and simply not know how to read it? Rather than walking away and giving up we should take the time to see if we can learn something. It is difficult to give an absolutely definitive guide to reading a piece of abstract art, but here are some basic ideas to help you on your quest for meaning in this very particular art genre.

The Search for Meaning is Worth It

You may be so intent on looking for the answer, that you don’t enjoy the experience of simply standing back and appreciating abstract art. It has been created for people to look at and find their own meaning within it. There are no prizes for getting to the “definitive answer” the most quickly. Enjoy the experience of simply standing back and looking at the art. Do not get overly confined by the compulsion to find a meaning. Simply enjoy it.

Give Yourself Some Time

It may take some time to interpret the piece of art. Don’t think that just because you do not get it immediately that you should give up on that piece. Sometimes interpretation takes some time. Research suggests that visitors to a gallery spend on average 30 seconds looking at each work. This really isn’t enough time to appreciate any art work, and certainly isn’t long enough to even begin to think about reading a piece of abstract art. Take your time to appreciate the art before you move on to the next piece.

Remember as well that what you see at one stage in your life you may not see in another. If you revisit a piece of abstract art sometime after your first viewing, you may have a very different interpretation of it.

Free the Mind

Abstract art is very much about freedom of expression and a wish not to be constrained by convention. Try to approach the art piece with an open mind. Don’t always start with the idea that you have to work out what the abstract art is meant to represent in conventional terms. The whole point of abstract art is that every day things are looked at in a very different way. You need to move away from conventional thinking and open yourself up to other possibilities.

With abstract art you should try to look for the less obvious points of interpretation. A free mind is necessary to think outside the box. The whole point of this genre is that art should not be put in a box, so don’t let your mind be clouded by a narrow view.



How to Start Abstract Painting

You may be very excited to explore and start your experience with abstract art painting, but find that you have no idea where to start. There are so many possibilities that you are not sure where to begin. One of the main attractions of abstract painting is that it gives so much freedom, but sometimes this freedom can be overwhelming. The multitude of choices which you face in where to begin should not be allowed to hold you back.

Start at the very beginning and start small. You may want to create that huge work of abstract art immediately, but you would be better served by exercising some restraint in terms of scale. Many find it helpful to limit themselves to small projects at first. This has the advantage of both being an economical way to start and it lets you explore your ideas before you start on that he works of art.

You may find it most helpful to start your exploration of abstract painting by taking your inspiration from real objects. Even though abstract art is by definition, a painting of something which is not an exact representation of the object, the easiest way to start is by creating an abstract interpretation of a real object. Take photographs of things which inspire you or collect items from nature. Then start to think about how you want to interpret that real object to create abstract art.

Once you have chosen your subject, study it from all sides. Think about how you can change the reality into the abstract. Abstract art is very much about the departure from rules and putting your own interpretation on what you see and feel. Try to clear your mind of preconceptions at the start of the process.

You may want to listen to music to inspire you. One interesting experiement is to listen to different genres of music and see how this affects your work. Will your interpretation of those roses be different if you are listening to Bach? See how it changes if you change your mood with music which means something very significant to you. Music can evoke powerful emotions and you may well see that com through in your abstract painting.

Some artists find it helpful to make a very quick sketch of the subject with their initial feelings about how it should be represented. This starts a process which you can develop by making as many sketches and paintings as you want. You should see this is an exciting process in which you will being to evolve as an abstract artist.

Be careful to take small steps. You may feel encouraged by your first expereinces painting abstract art and then be tempted to try something completely different. Many artists feel that they achieved more by changing less. Instead of taking a radically different path for each new work you may benefit more by making fewer changes as you progress. It can be helpful to decide that you will change just one concept and technique for each subsequent piece of art that you create.