Getting into abstraction – possibilities and ways

My style of painting lies between object and abstraction. Sometimes it’s the inner pictures that I paint, landscapes that I have saved somewhere. But sometimes I also work from photographs. In doing so, I do not implement them one-to-one, but play with different forms of abstraction. The motif is sometimes more, sometimes less easy to recognize.

Before I explain the ways to get there, the first question that arises is what abstract or abstract means.

An abstract picture is a picture without the character of a representation, so it avoids any reference to representationality. Today’s definition of abstract painting is any form of a simplifying representation that reduces natural impressions. I would call this abstracted.

One of the first abstract painters can be called William Turner (1775-1851).

In his painting, he was very interested in the mood of the landscape, often only vague outlines can be recognized and the forms begin to dissolve.

Another forerunner of abstraction is Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890).

The impressionists wanted to depict the object at the moment of its acquisition. Dynamics, emotions and brushwork played a major role. This can be studied very vividly in Van Gogh’s work (e.g. starry night or wheat field with cypresses)

The next intermediate step between representational and abstract art was Cubism. The view of cubism made it possible to simultaneously take different perspectives in one picture. Who does not know them, Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) portraits of women that show the figure both frontally and in profile?

Kasimir Malewitch (1878 – 1935) “Black Square” from 1915 can be seen as the big bang of abstract art . It marked the beginning of non-representational art (Suprematimus).

 

So abstraction means:

• no correct appearance of objects

• Form resolution simplification

• Exaggeration or independence of color and geometry

• Gestures, traces, brushwork

How can we get into abstraction?

So it’s either about reduction or exaggeration.

For example, you get into the reduction

• by working over a large area without form contrasts

• by omitting the details (e.g. by placing tracing paper)

• by changing or simplifying the color tone

• Achieve an enlargement by changing the section, by zooming in as with the camera

Exaggerate by

• Increase in the stroke of the brush

• More expressive coloring (e.g. complementary sounds) or alienated coloring

• Dissolve surfaces with structure through material or tool

The transitions are flowing from realistic to abstract (simplified) to very abstract (non-representational). Even if you work freely and start abstractly, it is possible that forms and arrangements arise in which you can discover something concrete. Whether you go along and pursue what has arisen or destroy it in a picturesque way is a decision that you can make again and again. The question that arises again and again is how exactly you work out a motif. Sometimes it is more exciting to just hint at a motif and leave it to the viewer what he sees in it. A personal translation and interpretation of a situation is what distinguishes our images from photos. In the best case, your personality and your special way of working will also be reflected in the picture.

It is often assumed that abstract works are not art and that no artistic talent or craftsmanship is necessary. Really “good” art is only the hyper-realistic rendering of a situation.

My opinion is that abstract painting is the most difficult of all, because there are only a few clues in what has already been seen. Everything that arises comes from ourselves. Nobody says how it should be. Sometimes it’s not that easy, but we can use this freedom!

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