Thinking Abstractly

Weathered Wood, acrylic, 18" x 13"

Weathered Wood, acrylic, 18″ x 13″


October 7, 2013

In art, abstraction is in.  The more realistic plein air painting that I do is out.  My problem is that I just don’t seem to be able to visualize abstractly.  Of course there is some abstraction involved in realistic painting.  Artists do not paint everything that we see in a particular scene.  We decide which tree, bush or flower we are going to include.  We can even move them around a bit if we wish.  Also, we leave out a lot of details.  When painting trees we paint interesting looking green blobs, not individual leaves.

But how does one learn to visualize abstractly?  I have discovered what most of you probably know,  Computers are a lot better at this than I am.  Recently I had been having trouble with my color printer.  I really like my printer and didn’t want to have to buy a new one.  And the places that I called weren’t willing to fix it.  Husband, who is much more technologically savvy than I, decided to have a look at it.  While trying to figure out what was wrong with it, he would try something and then print something to see if he had made any progress.  One of the images he printed was of a painting I had done of weathered wood.   The image above, in lurid magenta, was the one my deranged printer printed.  On looking at it, I could see how some might find it more interesting than my original painting.

Another interesting way to abstract by computer is to posterize.  I have been playing with this on Picasa, which I’m now using to store photos.  I tried doing this with a photo I took of a girl sitting in a restaurant.  What emerges is shapes, which can be in several values depending on the setting.  But they are still recognizable and the result I got is quite interesting.  I may try doing a painting from this.

The good news is husband succeeded in restoring the color printer, which is invaluable to me as an artist.


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