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A Challenge, Are You Ready?

“Are you ready for a challenge?” These are the words that were asked one night at a weekly art class that I attend. Well I was certainly interested in the idea but a little hesitant as well. I always like to change things up, so why not try something that I have never attempted before. After watching several demonstrations by other artist on websites for ideas and strategies, the unknown was contemplated. Abstract art was going to be attempted. Before we began this new way of producing art, we reviewed the elements of design: color, shape, line, space, texture, and value and their importance in all compositions, including abstract art. We also discussed the need for balance, proportion, unity, harmony, variety, emphasis, rhythm, and movement, all of which are the principles of art. The one part that was not mentioned that really surprised me was subject matter. How interesting! This was not mentioned because it is not a part of abstract art. So this missing piece was going to be very different for me because I have always painted with a subject in mind whether it was a horse, dog, bird, flower, cat, sunset, or landscape. Well I decided if I was going to have a painting that was a challenge, why not use a medium that was also a challenge, acrylic paint. For many this medium is there go to. However, when I use acrylic paint I find that there is not enough time for blending before the paint begins to dry. Also the color dries darker, so having to keep this in mind is also another problematic characteristic of this medium for me. Both of these qualities have kept me away. However, using acrylic paint successfully is something that I definitely wanted to learn, so this painting made that possible. After much deliberation, various shades of blue along with its compliment of orange were chosen. I had bought a black canvas a while back and decided to use that for my background. Then I prepared all of my color combinations in separate cups, making them very fluid so they would flow easily. It was important to have each color mixed and ready to use so that I could paint wet into wet and let the colors combine and flow together in some areas, but separate in other places. Rather than using my handy brush, I decided to pour the paint and let it flow onto the canvas. A spray bottle of water would be the main source of controlling the direction of the paint. I could also tilt and turn the canvas coaxing the paint to move and swirl in the needed direction, which proved to be helpful as well. All during this process of mixing, pouring, and spraying colors, the principles of art and elements of design had to be implemented. This process must develop quickly because as said before, the acrylic paint dries quite fast and I wanted the colors to mix and move together. Whew! A lot to think about all at one time! I am now finished with this painting and what you see is the end result. The goal of any abstract art should be compositionally correct as well as stimulating and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. However all art, in order to be accepted and successful, must have the principles and elements mastered. Artists must keep these in mind whether painting in abstract or with a subject in mind. Even though this painting was very different for me, this type of art proved to be another great learning experience. I’m glad I took the challenge. Will I paint another one? Who knows? I still think that I prefer having a subject, most especially an animal, but I did enjoy the process of trying to create this type of art. Abstract painting is much more of a challenge than what I expected. It was definitely very different, but fun to try!

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