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Cooking up an Abstract Recipe

As seen in a previous blog, I painted an acrylic abstract without brushes. Well what you see today is another abstract exercise that is completely different from the previous one. In this painting I am using pen, ink, and watercolor. It is only a practice work in progress, but I decided to show it in its rough stages so that you can see its beginning and the process. I have tried to follow the steps listed below while completing this painting. Complimentary colors of blue and orange will be used although you do not see the blue in the painting at this time. I have also used value change in the orange and plan to do that with the blue as well. Just like the previous abstract this one was a challenge but also a great learning experience. This past week at our weekly art class we were given a recipe for producing this type of art which I found to be very helpful. It is broken down into 7 steps that I thought I would share it with you. Following each one gives me a plan. This helps me to decide how to begin the painting, because as I stated last time, there is no subject in an abstract. What you see below is the recipe for cooking up your very own abstract. This helped me and hopefully it can help anyone that has ever wanted to paint but aren’t really sure how to begin.

1. Think of an interesting pattern maybe by observing other abstract paintings or an interesting design that you like. We looked through several books and found some very unusual and interesting abstracts on line. Just Google it and you will find the same.

2. Then decide on your composition whether it is an “S” shape, cruciform, or radiating lines, it’s up to you. These are by no means the only 3 composition designs but this may help if you need an idea. Be sure to make changes in the line of composition so that the painting will be interesting to your viewer. I actually made some of mine wider in certain areas. Remember that the composition is the bones of your painting.

3. Next think of the colors that you will use. This is when the color wheel will come in very handy. I use my color wheel in every single painting. Many times for me complimentary colors are an easy go to. In an abstract if you decide to go with the compliments, such as blue and orange, then be certain to use many different oranges and blues. Mix them up and have fun.

4. Once all of this is decided then you have the plan. The next step to consider the shapes or pattern that you will use in your painting. Come up with shapes that excite you and ones that you find interesting. I decided to use one that I like to draw repeatedly, a spiral shape. You may have one of your favorites as well.

5. Now you are ready to begin your under painting using the above information. When this is completed choose an interesting place in your work and try to enhance it in some way. Using the 4 elements of color will help you with this step. You certainly have a few choices here. This can be done with color choice, a change in temperature, a value change, or try making the intensity more dramatic. It’s totally up to you. This interesting area will capture the attention of the viewer.

6. Your best bet is to keep it simple. I started off with a complicated design and soon found that it was not simple enough and would prove to be too difficult. So I tried to make it simple with just one shape repeated throughout the entire painting. It really is true that simple is usually much more effective than something that is complex.

7. Then as always, the final step is to continue to practice. I have found that this is the key to all art as well as most things in life. Practice makes perfect.

If you’ve ever wanted to try an abstract painting, now you have the recipe. This may be just the recipe you need to paint especially if you find drawing a subject or coming up with one for a painting is too difficult. Gather all of your ingredients and start cooking! You just might find that your finished painting is absolutely delicious!

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