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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Set concentration and focus. But how?

I moved houses. Unfortunately, these 3 words don’t tell you how exhausting it was. This move and the previous renovation of the house took all of my strength. So much power that unfortunately there was no room in my brain for playful, easy creativity and blog articles that deal with it. But sometimes that’s the way it is. It is necessary to concentrate on the most important and essential things. Fading out everything else and sometimes saying “no” so as not to be distracted from what has first priority. To join forces. Now you are probably wondering what I’m getting at. Especially since this blog is about painting and creativity. But – my move made me think about concentrating on the essentials. And that is sometimes necessary in painting, but also in the rest of life. Painting can be relaxation. But when your head is full, the deadline pressure is great and you have too many construction sites, it will be difficult to let go completely and to really get into the flow. But what to do On the one hand, it is important that YOU set your priorities and the focus and no one else (yes, I know, I can talk well, my children are out of the house and grandchildren are not yet in sight) You also set the time frame that you set for YOUR Need things. And don’t let yourself be dissuaded from setting your own priorities. On the other hand, it is sometimes difficult to focus yourself. Finding out what really has first priority. Not to get bogged down. If you still manage to shovel free time for yourself and your art, then I have a tip for you: Lower your expectations and accept what shows up. The life situation in which you find yourself will probably be reflected in your work. That’s really authentic. The move helped me to put things in order. Finally sorting through the chaos on the desk, in the appointment calendar and in the head. So that I can focus again on what is essential for me: painting. So it was all the nicer again 😉to paint right at the beginning of the new year (and after a successful move including the crammed basement in the studio. If I was initially still worried about being able to get involved, I was in my element for the first second. It was a relief to dive into my world and that of color. The pictures for the next exhibition were made with great clarity, because I could let myself go and still know what I wanted. During the renovation phase that would not have been possible . Through the thoughts described at the beginning, I noticed that setting focus can also be related to the image design. A few questions I would like to ask you: – Which picture theme do you want to convey, what is your important picture message, what is the picture about? If you answer these questions, it will be easier for you to part with the insignificant areas that are causing too much chaos😉 – Have you formally managed to achieve concentration in the picture? Are there points of view that guide you through the picture? Or do you not even know where to look? Answering this question also helps to track down the essentials. – If you have focal points in the picture, do they direct your gaze to the message you have set? Or do they counteract this and draw your gaze to other places or even to the edge of the picture, where the gaze is quickly lost? Even with a spontaneous and process-oriented way of working, it is good to pause and take a look. These three questions will help you to become clearer about the content and form of your picture. And so the lack of writing during my mammoth relocation project was perhaps good for something after all Kelsey SpauldingView all posts by Kelsey Spaulding

Determination – do you have it or do you need more of it?

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Color, color, color

Do you feel the same way: When you see a nicely sorted collection of acrylic paints in an art supply store, your heart rises? A box of colored pencils or chalks in all colors makes your heart beat faster? The earthy shades of the ocher quarries in the French Roussillion put you in a color frenzy? Special evening sky moods make you rave about? A wonderful set with pigments will set off a head cinema, what could you paint with it? Clear case: you are infected with the color virus like me. Sometimes I just want to own and guard these special materials like the apple of my eye. For example the XL box of water-soluble oil pastels that I just wanted to look at and not use because they were so expensive. Or the wooden box with the pigment jars bought directly in the south of France to take the beautiful colors home with you.   I suppose your heart beats for color too, otherwise you wouldn’t have ended up here with this article. But today I would like to look at color from very different angles.   Color perception From a physiological point of view, color is the reception of stimuli from the eye’s cone systems. These stimuli are first converted into opposing colors . In the brain , these arousal patterns are interpretable as colors t. From a psychological point of view, color is not only the processing of external sensory stimuli by the retina or brain function, but can also be viewed as a product of the subconscious (nervous system) and as stored information. Source: Bildsprache 1, Kerner and Duroy, p. 112 Scientists have been trying to fathom and analyze the phenomenon of color vision for centuries. The research of Isaac Newton (1643-1727) forms the basis for our understanding of color today. The English doctor Thomas Young (1773 – 18299 was the first to recognize that color is a sensation . Source: Imagery 1, Kerner and Duroy Color systems There were already attempts to organize the colors in systems in antiquity. The poet (and natural scientist) Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832) also studied the phenomenon of color for a long time. Among other things, he dealt with the “sensual and moral effect of colors. So he classified yellow in the category “serious / dignified, warm” as cheerful and cheerful, or blue in the category gracious / grace, dark as receding, pleasant and empty. Johannes Itten (1888-1967) worked as a master at the Bauhaus and his theory of the 7 color contrasts is taught to this day. Harald Küppers (born 1926) developed another color concept . It was of the opinion that in Itten’s color wheel, the shades designated as basic colors are not really basic colors, but mixed shades. Incidentally, I also agree. All other shades can be mixed from the primary colors primary cyan, primary yellow and primary magenta . Not from Itten’s basic shade of red, as this color consists of yellow and magenta. Source: Duden Art – Basic Knowledge School In the past centuries, however, color often had an additional symbolic value. This symbolism can have a completely different meaning in other cultures and can be understood differently. The meanings have also changed over time: For example, red was seen as the color of the devil in the Middle Ages and green was the color of love. The effect and the symbolic meaning of the colors: Source: Duden Art – Basic Knowledge School Yellow looks warm, cheerful, extroverted and the symbolic meaning can be friendliness and optimism as well as recklessness, envy and jealousy. Orange looks exotic, lively and active and stands for joy, liveliness and fun. Red is very exciting, powerful and sometimes eccentric and symbolizes power, passion, love, but also aggressiveness and fire. Violet appears introverted, extravagant, melancholy and often stands for power, theology, but also vanity or renunciation. Blue has a calming, serious, longing, cold and distant effect. It stands for harmony, cleanliness, calm and passivity and peace. Green has a calming, fresh, natural, cheerful and young effect. The symbolic meaning is freshness, relaxation, hope, nature but also immaturity. White appears pure, empty, light and sometimes sterile and stands for purity, order, lightness and innocence. Black looks pessimistic and sad but also mysterious, solemn and serious. It stands for grief, end, hatred and misfortune   The how The different art styles in painting are characterized by their very special and in some cases pioneering use of colors. In Impressionism, the fleeting and rapidly changing impression of the moment is captured by painting. The light of the moment and the resulting colors are put together in fleeting and sometimes shimmering brushstrokes and with a lively style. At the beginning of the 20th century, expressionism increased the expression of color by painting . The shapes are simplified, in some cases almost flat. Strong, pure and contrasting colors become the absolute expression of emotions. The color is used separately from the naturalistic rendering and is intended to create a suggestive effect.   Color as material Initially only used as a coating and varnishing material in industry, acrylic paint has been used by artists as a versatile material since the mid-1950s . To this day, acrylic paint has a special charm, because the forms of expression can be more diverse than with hardly any other painting material. How is the colored area set, with brushwork ? Rich in shape and contrast or with a soft transition ? With structure (materials) and impasto relief ? Or light and translucent? This has an effect on the expression in terms of mood or can be used to create a color or aerial perspective (pure, bright warm colors are assigned to the foreground, everything behind is bluish, grayish, lighter ). The painting tools are also important for the specific, individual expression in the picture. Finally, two more examples that illustrate how the choice of color tones give the picture a completely different message. In his book “Thinking Like an Artist” Will Grompertz describes how the dejected and melancholy Picasso began to immerse his pictures in a mysterious blue color tone in 1901 , thereby shifting the mood of his pictures towards sentimental. On the one hand, this now matched his emotional state perfectly; on the other hand, it was the beginning of his “blue period” which made him known as “Picasso” and brought about the breakthrough. A wonderful article is devoted to the color blue in issue 4-18 of the magazine “Einfach.sein” . In “53 Shades of Blue” it is, among other things, attempts to make the blue of the sky measurable, but also some emotional worlds are hidden behind the color. “There is boundless longing in blue” it says there. The artist Andy Warhol is also concerned with the effect of the color blue (compared to red), so in simply. sein to read. By choosing the color of the background, he made one and the same woman portrait appear completely different. On the red ground on the woman THAT CONDITION dynamic / self-confident , on a blue ground , however,dreamy / wistful / serious . In process-oriented work, this means for us to pause and see HOW the spontaneously chosen colors work . Material as such, sensory perception or symbolic medium. No matter. In addition to all the theoretical approaches, color breathes life into artistic work and is very practical for every artist as a means of transporting their own handwriting . The possibilities and color combinations are inexhaustible. How about leaving the old paths for once and daring to try new colors in order to observe how the expression in the picture changes as a result? Painting remains an adventure that is always fascinating. Kelsey SpauldingView all posts by Kelsey Spaulding

6 tips to strengthen your intuition and make you more creative

Often people come to my courses who want to learn to paint more freely . You want to loosen up and get to the image results with more ease . They have to function in everyday life through work and family and are therefore used to the mind taking the lead and spreading out so much that there is no place for intuition. Lately I have been reading more often about “ gut feeling ”, which ideally is placed next to the mind. Your gut feeling can help you to make decisions in a flash, without your mind weighing all the information for hours. In painting, it often doesn’t help you if you’re just in the “head”. Why? Even if you have mastered all the compositional rules perfectly, the picture may still lack the lightness, the specific swing or the disturbing factor that makes the whole thing really lively and individual. Often I only find pictures interesting when the rules of composition are turned a little upside down. The gut feeling can develop from the experience . In my opinion, it is good if the knowledge slides down a floor and you are more likely to “ feel ” what is to come next. You are then able to play freely with these rules and gain ease, but also your own clarity , because you do not cling to the rules of composition and bite into them.   How do you get out of the mind into the feeling, into your intuition? It is a good idea to open all your senses while painting: To really look carefully is an art that strengthens your perception. But also the other senses like hearing, taste, smell, feeling can help you to work less from the mind. Now you might be wondering what this is about now? Why can hearing be important for painters? I think all of this is good for perceiving more sensitively. There are people who take in their information primarily with their eyes, but there are also people who are auditory-oriented. Others have to feel something to feel what’s going on with it. So: what does it sound like when the paint is warped on the canvas? Does the brush rustle? How does the material you work with smell? Do you feel the pressure with which you guide your painting tool and how does it feel in your hand? To expand your possibilities, it is great if the less developed senses have something to do. And because “tasting” is really difficult when painting, there is a delicious lunch in the studio during all-day courses that stimulates all the senses🙂   Linking the left and right hemispheres of the brain Even if scientists do not agree, I am convinced that by activating both hemispheres of the brain, you can be holistically creative. Among other things , the left hemisphere  should be responsible for the rational handling of tasks. Logical skills, numbers, language, facts are ascribed to her. She has analytical tendencies and likes order. 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Try not to just sit or stand in one spot during the painting process. Get moving, go around the table or easel, or put the picture on the floor so you can work with more momentum . You will see how the expression in the picture will change.   Can you only work when you feel like it or would it be helpful if you look for like-minded people with whom you get together too regularly and stick with it, because the communal experience  in the group inspires you? Or is it better when you have peace and quiet, are alone and you can concentrate fully on yourself? Try out how this aspect affects your painting.   How does the room have to be so that you feel comfortable  and you get into a good painting mood? Do you have to cover up or make space to work undisturbed  ? How must the noises be like the light? Does music inspire you or do fragrances open your senses? All of this can help you let the thinking fade into the background for a brief moment.   Stress and too little time kill creativity, as does too strong an inner critic and expectation pressure (also that of other people). Likewise distraction. Switch the phone to quiet when you go to the studio so that you can really get involved in the ” feeling “!   In one of my last week’s courses I had a participant whose intellect first wanted to ” understand ” the further procedure in the picture and who thought many, many steps in advance. After a while the saying came: “I’ll just do it!” Then I knew she was ready to put her mind back a little and dare to venture into the unknown and the unexpected . And I was allowed to accompany you in this important step !   Kelsey SpauldingView all posts by Kelsey Spaulding

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