Exercise: Abstract Painting from Man-made Form

16 & 17/02/16

Exercise: Abstract Painting from Man-made Form, 

With the same degree of close scrutiny and analysis, study a man-made object. Focus close in on one part of it and try out different viewpoints… until you have an abstract composition that you can develop and enlarge into a painting.

Casting my eye around the room, I found a few contenders and I was drawn to the stapler. However, I began to get embroiled in the angles and perspective in my initial drawing before remembering this is to be an abstract painting. I accept that this drawing is a little off but it is sufficient for my objective. As this man-made object is a little more complex, I again, drew compositional frames around sections, but this time I cropped photographs around them to see them away from the entire object:

 

 

Being much happier with the omission of black and sticking to primary and secondary colours, I continued with an A3 painting in acrylic pigment. I painted the image the same way round as the coloured pencil study. However, again, once I’d removed the masking tape edges and brought it away from the board, I turned it this way and that, and finally found it more pleasing upside down. This is because it made more spatial sense to me. The large, dark shape on the diagonal in the foreground seemed close and in focus, whereas the yellow at the top receded giving the entire painting depth. I am also pleased I included the squares as they give a horizontal foil to the diagonals. I had to add a little white to the yellow as it was a transparent colour, and also to the purple as it was too dark initially, and maybe, the orange could have been a little brighter. On the whole, though, I think it works and has a good balance.

One thing I really have taken away from these abstract exercises, is that I felt much more creativity in working this way. I have always been a “draw or paint what’s in front of me” painter, which I was beginning to find boring and unimaginative. This has been, in my opinion, my main point for improvement and I feel I may be making some progress.

Final painting Acrylic on paper A3

Final painting
Acrylic on paper
A3

 

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Exercise: Abstraction from Study of Natural Forms

15 & 16/02/16

Exercise: Abstraction from Study of Natural Forms

In this exercise you can abstract by looking very closely at a familiar natural form and expanding what you see in an arrangement of lines, shapes and colours. 

Again, it’s raining cats and dogs outside so fell back on my box of objects that may be useful for still life work. I have collected leaves, stones, fir cones the usual stuff and more unusually, dried bodies of hornets, flies and my prize possession, a small rat’s skull found whilst gardening. You never know when they will be useful.

 

After careful consideration I went with the rat skull. The process I followed is below:

 

I painted the entire image as per the study i.e. on its side from the original drawing. However, on completion, although I liked the landscape bias, turning back to the representational orientation made more sense to me. As Frank Auerbach said in the film at his recent exhibition, finding an expression in objects is a useful tool. I am a novice in abstract art, both viewing, understanding and most definitely in making it, I’ve found I need to find one thing to make sense and then everything else follows.

I am pleased with the outcome of this exercise, particularly as it’s a completely new experience for me. I like the colours and tones and the overall effect works for me. Even my husband, who when I tried to explain the process asked if I’d overdone my cold medication, liked the finished image and said I should do a really large version. Maybe I will, when the pressure is off.

RAT! Final painting in acrylic on paper 30x30cm

RAT!
Final painting in acrylic on paper
30x30cm