Friday, 31 August 2007

Reality to Abstraction

I am struggling quite badly today with feeling completely exhausted but I did get myself to my painting workshop as I usually enjoy them and the instruction/information provided by Christine Burnett is always in depth. Having said that, one day is not enough to cover such a vast subject as abstract art. I have been trying to paraphrase my notes from today but either I am too tired or the subject is too vast to summarise it in a few lines (probably both). Having given us a view of the development of abstract art out of the history of realistic art Christine set us some exercises which I show below. The exercise was to think of abstract terms and their opposites e.g harmony/contrast, centred/disparate, closed/open, near/far, etc etc the list is endless.

These pages from my sketchbook are a bit feint but they may give you an idea. (Yet again blogger is not going to enlarge them). The top image on the page above was drawn with thoughts of an aerial landscape in mind so it has a beginning in reality. I was looking at the opposites of near and far. Paul Klee explored this idea in Highways & Byways which is a painting I will be going back to.

The image at the bottom of the page above was worked in charcoal and considered the opposites dense/sparse, more/less, dark/light. The dots have not reproduced too clearly but I was looking at how to move from soft to hard - marks made with charcoal to marks made with graphite. How do you change one mark into another? What spacing do you use? What shape?

Our afternoon exercise was to take a small portion of a painting and explore how it was achieved. What was painted on top of what? How is the paint applied? Look at the sizes of the brushmarks. Look at the consistency of the paint. Was a background applied first? Look at the quality of the edges. I chose a painting by Kandinsky to analyse - Improvisation 14 - and took a small section which did actually have an area resembling a tree. I concerned myself with the application of (in my case) the oil pastels and not in describing a tree.

I'm not sure if I'm explaining myself very well as I seem to be talking more about analysing the marks and how they're put on rather than talking about abstract painting. However the idea of starting with abstract concepts (words) and finding ways of representing them with marks or colours seems a good starting point to me. I hope I can find the time to explore this further.

I don't think I'm going to make a lot of sense tonight as I'm so tired (even after a 2 hour kip this afternoon) so I'm off for a quick reccy of my fave blogs and then bed.


Gina said...

The reworking of the kandinsky if fabulous Julie. Very vibrant and exciting.

MargaretR said...

I love that charcoal sketch, it's fantastic.

art-insight said...

Julie, I too have struggled with getting images to enlrage. I think the trick is to click 'large' when offered the options (when uploading), small, medium, and large.