I had a student once ask me short while ago, “Do you ever do abstracts?” My reply was, “I start every painting I do as an abstract.”
Over the years I have seen many students that do not have the confidence to draw well, and they say they’re not going to paint traditionally they think they’ll just go right into doing abstracts.
The first thing I must do as a teacher is point out the fatal flaw in that logic. If you see any of the works of the great abstract expressionist or any nonrepresentational paintings, there still has to be a solid composition, color, texture, and control of the viewers eye. The old cliché of “My five-year-old grandchild can do that,” still tickles my funny bone every time I hear it. An abstract or nonrepresentational painting with no regard for color composition or structure is about as offensive as it sounds. I recall my painting instructor from years ago saying, “The only thing worse than a bad painting is a large bad painting.”
The idea of a spontaneous painting filled with happy accidents can be entertaining, and fill many galleries and flea markets across the country, however one does not always have to be an artist or art critic to recognize a weak painting. Sometimes we say “there is just something about it that doesn’t seem right , but I’m not sure what it is.” This is an innate sense that many of us are blessed with, the ability to identify something that’s not quite right. Of course the other side of the coin is that we do not necessarily have to have a masters in art to be able to love a particular painting, and not necessarily have a logical reason why.
There just has to be that certain shock of recognition between us and the artist to fill our souls.
Someone once said, “A painting is something too big to put into words, so we paint it.”
There are as many reasons why people paint as there are painters. Don’t get me wrong, the artist that just haphazardly splashes some paint on the canvas for the joy of doing so , and is happy with the result, I think it’s a blessing and a joy to many artist, and I encourage them for that reason. However an artist that would like to be more serious about their abstracts and grow as artist, I would encourage them to study with the Masters, and study composition, color, light, balance, and all the other prerequisites for a beautiful masterful abstract painting. I hope I haven’t offended too many but as they say art is just an opinion.
Have a blessed day!