Making Your Art More Abstract
We love the look of abstract art, but can't achieve the look we're after. One of the most popular questions I hear from artists is ‘how can I make a painting more abstract?’ For so many of us, the idea of "good art was synonymous with realistic art". As many of us who have explored "abstract painting" have come to realize, the creating of effective abstract art is a lot harder than it might first appear!
Creating artwork that is more abstract involves the process of simplification, which is to say that "less is more" if you will, this process of creating is a dance between intuitive choices and conscious decisions that brings your painting to life.
1. Adding and Removing... Many artists work this way – adding and removing repeatedly throughout a painting. This is not just about removing/ erasing . It is a dance between taking off paint , and coming back in with a new layer. I have found that baby wipes is an excellent tool when thinking out or removing acrylic paint. This works effectively on both canvas and paper. You will notice that the taking off of the paint will leave an interesting residue which you can then add an additional layer to.
2. Use larger tools to help let go of the need to control..
In theprocess of creating more realistic art we often strive for control and perfection. This need for control and perfection can create difficulties for us as we move more towards expressive, abstract art. There are a number of non traditional tools that will help in this process of change; items like old credit cards ( make great Fine lines) squeegees, large brushes found in hardware stores, putty knives ( to help push and pull the paint) bracers and rollers, spatulas ( great rubber ones from the kitchen/ cake baking section of the store) and any other number of things that move you away from the smaller brushes that pull you in the direction of control and perfection.
3. Include a Touch of Realism in Your Abstract Art.
You don’t have to totally give up on realism altogether. It might be easier to move away from it a little at a time. Creating Contrast in your artwork helps you create an emphasis of a specific element in your. Contrast can be broken down into many subcategories: light vs dark, between hues, textures and patterns. Including a bit of realism in our abstract painting creates a significant contrast in pattern.
4.Unify Your Painting with a Glaze.
Adding a glaze to a part of a painting or even the entire piece will pull all of the disjointed parts together. Layers of glazes can create a translucent glow over your entire painting. I do not recommend using water to create a glaze. This breaks down the binders in acrylics and can make them lose their archival abilities and/or lightfastness in the long term. Both Goldenand Liquitex manufacture specific mediums that can be mixed with any color that works best for your painting. Zinc White in the Golden Fluid series is another option to use as a ready made glaze.
Most of the Glazing mediums or Golden Fluid paints are available in a 1 fl oz size bottle. Sometimes you might be able to pick up samples size bottles as well, if a promotion is going on. I would recommend adding No More than a 30-70 ratio when mixing your paints and medium. The brand of paint you are using will determine the amount of color pigment suspended in the acrylic carrier. The greater the amount of color pigment the more glazing medium you can use.
I would suggest you buy a small bottle of glazing medium and try it out with the acrylic paints you normally use. Try out different amounts of Glazing Medium and when you feel comfortable with it, try applying it to a painting to unify all of its components. Have fun trying this out.
This is two additional ways to create a more abstract feeling to your art work. There are so many other ways to accomplish this. Do you have any favorite ways to move towards abstraction? Be sure to share in the comments.
Sanna Fine Art