Many members who joined my new Facebook group The Art of Mark Making in Abstract Art ask how they might learn how to transition from painting or drawing realistically to creating non-objective work (abstracts). One of the best ways to channel your inner Abstract artist is to roll out a giant piece of white paper (like the kind restaurants use to cover tables).Then gather all your mark making products such as pencils, pastels, markers, crayons, chalk, charcoal etc. Add a few jars or tubes of acrylic paint with some brushes to your materials stash. Next put on some peppy music. Pin your paper to a wall covered with newspaper or plastic or lay on a protected table. Now...just start scribbling and drawing and making marks like you did in Kindergarten when your inner critic was not yet fully formed. Cover the entire piece of paper with dry media followed by paint. Let the paint dry and add more marks on top of paint. Build many layers. Stand back and look at your work. Keep playing until you start seeing forms, shapes, patterns etc. Ask your self what does it need and continue to edit accordingly. And that is how you start painting Abstracts! Working large lets you work more spontaneously and will help you leave your more realistic side behind.
It is very interesting to sit down with a group of artists during a critique session and to discuss one of the student's work. Discussions generally focus on the assignment at hand (printing without a press) and how each participant met the challenge. In the piece shown, there was even more discussion because this abstract evoked so many different images to the group assembled. Some students saw "fingers", others imagined a Snow-scape or Beach-scape. What type of mood and setting did this piece evoke...mysterious, peaceful, eerie etc. What about this piece led some people to think about it being a landscape (or fingers) ....the horizontal applications of paint, a horizen etc? Lines, marks, shapes, smears, blotches , intensity, negative space and how paint is applied are part of the abstract artist's toolbox. Student work shown.