Sunday, September 07, 2014

Abstract Painting

"Abstraction demands more from me than realism. Instead of reproducing something outside of me, now I go inward and use everything I've learned thus far in my life."
                                                                                                        ~ Susan Avishai

For those of you who have been on the edge of your seats waiting to hear what my next big adventure is: it's been delayed. Again. And yes, I'm frustrated. 

Moving on.

I took two workshops along with my classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts this summer. One of them was an abstract painting workshop taught by Kassem Amoudi (who also teaches at the Woodmere Art Museum, the Main Line Art Center, and the Wayne Art Center for those of you in the Philadelphia area who might be interested.) I've never tried abstract painting before and was excited to stretch myself in a different direction.

We started out with a blank canvas and were instructed to make random charcoal marks on it. We used acrylic gel medium to seal the charcoal so it would not smudge during the next steps.

Thin washes of color were randomly applied to areas of the charcoal.

Thicker areas of color were added.

I tried adding some splatters, with mixed results.

I was trying to bring out shapes that I saw in the painting as it developed.

Further refining the shapes and color blocks. I was encouraged to enhance the areas that looked like figures. I saw one area that looked like a dog, but once I developed it I didn't like it, so I covered it over.

At this point, Mr. Amoudi recommended I stop painting. Knowing that I tend to overwork things, I listened to him and put the paintbrushes down.

Considering this was my first experience with abstract painting, I'm actually pretty pleased with the result. It was exhausting though. Everyone in the workshop was mentally fried by the end of the day. I had never really thought about it before, but it is much harder to make something out of nothing than to paint what's in front of you. And it is especially hard to avoid making what we were all referring to as "bad motel art".

Here are a few artists that I really like whose work is either abstract or includes abstract elements: 
Brian Rutenberg 
Dafila Scott
Ewoud De Groot

I think I'd like to explore abstract painting further... after a long rest.

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