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If anyone with some thoughts on how to approach my abstract art, not necessarily technique, but just how to think about it, what direction to take... OR will that whole line of thought ruin it?  In other words, I'm fairly new at giving this a go, and i feel like maybe I ought to know what im doing.  For now, I like seeing where it takes me, the balance of colors, small glimpses of recognizable things such as faces, etc.  I guess I'd like input from artists as to how I am supposed to think about my abstract art, or approach it. ????

I'm a self taught artist (since 4th grade, though John (Jon?) Gnagy gave me the basics on our 13 inch B.& W T.V.-with-the-rounded-corners in the late 50s!). My initial response to your question is "what's to think about?". The unknown is what draws me to abstract art. Unless, of course, you have a subject already in mind. In your piece, the image next to the face looks like it might be the head of a black crow and the sharp "instrument of doom" to the right makes me think something ominous is about to happen. 

Thanks for your input Paul.  I guess, as you stated, "what's to think about?", I guess I am wondering, not ever being in the world of art or artists, or in talking about art really, is that legitimate or valid? And I think the answer you are getting at  is "yes", and it does not need to have a tangible subject... the  "unknown".  So, perhaps, this is what I ought to embrace.  However, I think my tension is having always lived in a different type of thinking... non-artistic perhaps... tangible, recongizable, explainable.  Thanks again for your thoughts.

Paul Alan Roth said:

I'm a self taught artist (since 4th grade, though John (Jon?) Gnagy gave me the basics on our 13 inch B.& W T.V.-with-the-rounded-corners in the late 50s!). My initial response to your question is "what's to think about?". The unknown is what draws me to abstract art. Unless, of course, you have a subject already in mind. In your piece, the image next to the face looks like it might be the head of a black crow and the sharp "instrument of doom" to the right makes me think something ominous is about to happen. 

I guess the main thing is: Do you enjoy creating your art. If so: Create away! 

YES!... and, so, ok, I WILL!!! :)

Paul Alan Roth said:

I guess the main thing is: Do you enjoy creating your art. If so: Create away! 

I create my works with no wondering if anyone would like it or not. I create because I need to. Something I learned when I was approached to teach piano lessons (previous incarnation): There will always be more accomplished musicians or less accomplished ones. I had been performing as a keyboardist in a successful band and I knew enough to teach beginners, so that's what I did. I taught from 1972-1997. I had a successful career in playing for musical theaters as well. 10 bands and over 50 musicals later I began to focus on my artwork.

I had a showing in a statewide (Ohio) art show in 1986: One abstract, 18"x18" needlepoint which got a second place ribbon (I was on cloud nine!) and a pen & ink drawing: "Trapper's Cabin", which got an honorable mention. (Both are posted on my A.C. page). During the showing, I was standing near my pen & ink drawing and overheard one woman say, in a venomous voice, "They call THAT Art?"...The angry look she had on her face and the ugliness in her voice??? Incredible! To hear someone say that directly after I learned about my Second Place award took the wind right out of my sails! Felt strange all afternoon.  

So, there will always be better artists than I and worse ones. We can't please everyone! Do what you love to do. Someone, somewhere WILL appreciate your work.  

That is really helpful advice.  I appreciate you taking the time to reply.  Thanks.

Paul Alan Roth said:

I create my works with no wondering if anyone would like it or not. I create because I need to. Something I learned when I was approached to teach piano lessons (previous incarnation): There will always be more accomplished musicians or less accomplished ones. I had been performing as a keyboardist in a successful band and I knew enough to teach beginners, so that's what I did. I taught from 1972-1997. I had a successful career in playing for musical theaters as well. 10 bands and over 50 musicals later I began to focus on my artwork.

I had a showing in a statewide (Ohio) art show in 1986: One abstract, 18"x18" needlepoint which got a second place ribbon (I was on cloud nine!) and a pen & ink drawing: "Trapper's Cabin", which got an honorable mention. (Both are posted on my A.C. page). During the showing, I was standing near my pen & ink drawing and overheard one woman say, in a venomous voice, "They call THAT Art?"...The angry look she had on her face and the ugliness in her voice??? Incredible! To hear someone say that directly after I learned about my Second Place award took the wind right out of my sails! Felt strange all afternoon.  

So, there will always be better artists than I and worse ones. We can't please everyone! Do what you love to do. Someone, somewhere WILL appreciate your work.  

You're welcome. And Welcome to the wonderful World of Art! 

Stanton M Frey said:

That is really helpful advice.  I appreciate you taking the time to reply.  Thanks.

Paul Alan Roth said:

I create my works with no wondering if anyone would like it or not. I create because I need to. Something I learned when I was approached to teach piano lessons (previous incarnation): There will always be more accomplished musicians or less accomplished ones. I had been performing as a keyboardist in a successful band and I knew enough to teach beginners, so that's what I did. I taught from 1972-1997. I had a successful career in playing for musical theaters as well. 10 bands and over 50 musicals later I began to focus on my artwork.

I had a showing in a statewide (Ohio) art show in 1986: One abstract, 18"x18" needlepoint which got a second place ribbon (I was on cloud nine!) and a pen & ink drawing: "Trapper's Cabin", which got an honorable mention. (Both are posted on my A.C. page). During the showing, I was standing near my pen & ink drawing and overheard one woman say, in a venomous voice, "They call THAT Art?"...The angry look she had on her face and the ugliness in her voice??? Incredible! To hear someone say that directly after I learned about my Second Place award took the wind right out of my sails! Felt strange all afternoon.  

So, there will always be better artists than I and worse ones. We can't please everyone! Do what you love to do. Someone, somewhere WILL appreciate your work.  

First you don't think (speaking for myself and my teaching).  You approach the canvas with abandon.  Create chaos but if there is no order it is not art, it is a craft or just messing paint around.  At some point to create a good abstract there has to be order.  The principles of art.  Unity, balance, rhythm, conflict, dominance (of color, of shape,), where I want to lead your eye, and that's where the hard thinking comes in and the hard looking.  Cover the prettiest or most successful part with your hand or a sheet of paper and see if the rest complies or leads you to this favorite spot.  See if every square inch is interesting in some way.  Even if only a bit of shadow or texture.  If you cut a square of 4 inches out of any part of your painting it should have visual interest but it should all be part of the whole.

Thank you Beverly.  I appreciate the advice.



Beverly Burrows said:

First you don't think (speaking for myself and my teaching).  You approach the canvas with abandon.  Create chaos but if there is no order it is not art, it is a craft or just messing paint around.  At some point to create a good abstract there has to be order.  The principles of art.  Unity, balance, rhythm, conflict, dominance (of color, of shape,), where I want to lead your eye, and that's where the hard thinking comes in and the hard looking.  Cover the prettiest or most successful part with your hand or a sheet of paper and see if the rest complies or leads you to this favorite spot.  See if every square inch is interesting in some way.  Even if only a bit of shadow or texture.  If you cut a square of 4 inches out of any part of your painting it should have visual interest but it should all be part of the whole.

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