The question got me thinking; how does one make an abstract painting that works? So I believed I’d share what I suggested to Michele who asked the question, and expand thereon a touch since it would facilitate yours too.
Use a reference image
This might sound counterintuitive, but actually having a particular place to begin helps me a lot, especially as someone coming from a representational background. I don’t always use one, but sometimes I prefer to possess one in all my very own photos handy or something I found on Pinterest, so I’ve got a tenet to follow in terms of a composition that already works. Generally, it’s more of a springboard, and it doesn’t actually matter what the topic of the photo is; I usually abandon the reference very soon after starting. It just helps get things going.
Have a point of interest
It doesn’t have to be anything recognizable, but having an area for the attention to start or end because it wanders round the canvas helps a painting ‘make sense’ and feel satisfying to seem at. Generally speaking, you would like the point of interest to be off-center, for the identical reason. During this one, the large white loop at the highest serves to draw attention from the ‘path’ within the lower half towards the horizon. It’s not an in-your-face point of interest but it helps the attention to travel, which is what the attention wants to do!
Stay conscious of values
It’s harder in a very way because you have got such a lot less to figure with, so you wish to be that far more confident and practiced. A very limited range of values can make a painting feel shallow and plain meaningful to mention. It may also confuse the viewer if there’s not enough of a pathway for the attention to follow, however subtle. I favor beginning with lots of darks and gradually remove them. Adding and removing is one of the simplest and most forgiving ways to create a painting because you simply keep going until things start working together.
Keep turning it to test for the balance
Balance doesn’t mean everything’s equals or looking identical – that’s not interesting for the attention and ironically tends to mean it’s out of balance.
Check your edges!
Edges are even as important to the success of a painting as what you set inside them. They will help to anchor the painting, create a lovely imbalance, or suggest more happening ‘off stage’. Keep your eye on them as you paint and don’t let your point of interest wander away floating within the center.
Vary your marks
Marks are fascinating things. They ‘talk’ to every other, so everyone you create contributes to the conversation.
Use your feelings
Because the genre doesn’t have a recognizable subject, the topic can become pure emotion. I recently made a painting while drinking wine and dancing, and that I was in the most lovely mood while doing so.
Have an idea
Something I’ve been fiddling with plenty recently is that the idea of painting ‘weather’. To me, meaning not literally painting blue skies or rain, but the sensation that weather carries specifically wind. I’m unsure why – the wind is my least favorite atmospheric phenomenon – but often when I’m painting I’ll find I’m wondering the wind and what it ‘looks like. It helps keep the paintings dynamic and alive. You would possibly choose a less violent concept! It doesn’t matter what it’s, only that it inspires you and helps you stay focused. Switching from one concept to a different one can cause a confused and confusing painting.