This month I’m focusing on abstract painting. It’s an excuse to start down the long path of something new. Abstract painting is also a vehicle to work on composition, design, and color. It can seem like abstraction follows no rules. Really though, that’s very far from the truth. I recently watched Designing Great Starts with Texture and Form with Pat Dews and she literally finds inspiration from magazine snippets. John Salminen pulls together overlapping objects and designs from there. Oregon artist Ruth Armitage says she paints on memory, using it to guide her through her intentions of color and line. Robert Burridge chooses a composition style and then a color palette before he even gets started. Those of us starting into the world of abstraction, aren’t starting from nowhere. There are tried and true ways to approach abstraction. It doesn’t mean that will solve all the problems for us, but it will give us a way to begin. We have guides into this foreign land.
For me, the two biggest pieces will be composition style and color approach. Burridge suggests writing down your intention before you get started so that you don’t lose your way. I am going to try this approach. It doesn’t need to be complicated. I will literally write down: split complementaries and high horizon composition style. I may create a quick sketch of a value plan as well to make sure that I think about value at all. And then I’ll get started. Nothing more complicated than that.
It’s exciting to be starting some so foreign to me. It’s also terrifying. I’m feeling thankful that I have some guides to bring with me on my journey.