artist’s way, week four: artist date

Abstract Blue, 16in x 20in, mixed media collage on canvas, 2011
Abstract Blue • 16in x 20in • Mixed media collage on canvas • Carly Swenson • 2011

I tend to consider abstract art a form of art-cheating.  In reality, I do know abstract art isn’t artistically cheating.

I respect for my fellow artists who choose to work in that style—an artist still applies the same artistic principles of movement, contrast, balance, etc through the utilization of the standard art elements of line, shape, texture, color, etc. when working abstractly.

I’m not sure where this subconscious-abstract-art-stigma comes from exactly?  I don’t know if the idea that if a work is not a realistic or implied rendering of a decipherable person, scene, or object–then it still requires skill. “But a child can make abstract art.” (Which is true their work can be abstract, but it doesn’t have the elements and visual principles applied as it would be by an adult artist.)

Because of all this, I rarely play with creating abstract work because it seems ‘too easy’—as if I am cheating.  This week, for my artist date—I created a solely abstract composition with no underlying statement or text, and no intentionally implied figures or scenes.

I simply created art—pure shapes, form, color, texture.   It was messy and fun.

Abstract Blue (detail image 1)
Abstract Blue (detail image 1)
Abstract Blue (detail image 2)
Abstract Blue (detail image 2)
Abstract Blue (detail image 3)
Abstract Blue (detail image 3)

6 Replies to “artist’s way, week four: artist date”

  1. I think abstraction is either a calculated or natural evolutionary state some artists arrive at rather than decide to undertake. I’ve always admired abstract works but could never achieve them myself because I haven’t taken that course in my direction. I try to paint abstractly sometimes but I feel dumb doing it just for the sake of doing it, and therein lies the difficulty. It’s kinda like non-reading. Or trying not to think too hard :). What a challenge! Congratulations for achieving it!

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    1. I recommend trying it–if you have some spare time. I did pick an initial color scheme so I didn’t accidently end up with a messy brown mass, but that was the only thing that was premeditated, for the rest, I just enjoyed the process and worked instinctually. I think you would find the same thing sort of develop out of you–the main thing is trying not to over think things. I struggle with that too.

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  2. I really like the 2nd painting with the curved lines. Very interesting to look at. My eye just wants to stay there. I’ve been playing with abstract in my photography, and I have a ton of respect for painters who do it, as I don’t think I could even come up with the creative eye to do one from my mind. Admiration of you all. :)

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    1. Thanks so much, the second image is actually just a close up of the right corner of the larger piece. They look neat in real life though, the ended up a lot thicker than I thought, so I was pleased. You should play with abstract painting, you already understand the concepts of composition and line, etc from working with abstract photography. If you just play with painting, you may be pleasantly surprised with what you come up with. Anyway–thanks again for your kind words and taking the time to check out my post.

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