Sunday, 15 May 2011

Trying out the abstract

A post or so back, I showed you a new book I'd bought, called Realistic Abstracts.

Its a step away from the usual art book I'd buy.
That's because it deals with abstraction - and there are no demonstrations in it!

That's right, no step-by-steps ! More, these are the elements of a realistic abstract, see how it works in these sample paintings.

I was attracted to some paintings, repelled by others. That I would imagine is perfectly normal.

So, we learn from this book that simplification is an important element. Removing all that is unnecessary clutter in a painting.  Then to give a suggestion of the subject.     

I really like this book - after the initial shock on no demos, it has given me rise to think!

So I've been practising, thinking and painting..  here we go with my realistic abstract journey... please feel free to comment whatever is in your heart..complimentary or not... I don't mind! This is all learning for me.

First, trying to show a candlestick and the woodturner's art.
I think perhaps I attempt too much on this effort!

Next, a very simplified scene - just colours to hint at shapes

thirdly, I tried to follow a photo in the book, because this one attracted me :)
This is the style of realistic abstract that I like so far..

Then I tried to simplify the Easter Island head I have in my garden.
It feels too "blocky" and severe for my liking, but I show it anyway. We learn from everything, yes?

and then, I painted this with no idea in my head. Just left some whites and then added colours in random shapes. When I finished and stood away from it, it surprised me to see a dog looking back at me.. as if I had disturbed it from sleep.

Lastly I took some bright colours - just three primaries and again left white spaces. This looks so bright and fresh and it puts me in mind of the artist Nil Catalano. Nowhere near as good as his work, but for a first, I am happy with it.

If you would like to follow Nil's blog, it is HERE

Today I am going to try my hand at a vase of flowers, and I will post the result tomorrow.


  1. Wow, Pat, amazing, but it makes sense for me. I always admire abstract artists who are often originally from realists or masters of drawing skills. Thank you for sharing a precious process.
    Go, Pat! Go!
    Cheers, Sadami

  2. I think I like the realistic abstract the best. You have certainly been busy Pat! :0)

  3. Thanks, Sadami. It is a process, hopefully I will improve at it too :)
    But I wanted to be brave enough to share the learning - even though I know it won't be everyone's cup of tea . xx

  4. Thanks Sandra. I like the realistic abstract and the last one roughly the same . I hope to improve some more and find a place where I feel comfortable, somewhere between realism and impressionism :)

  5. I struggle with having any affection for abstract but I'm not a great fan of photorealism either! I do like the third and the last two though, Pat. Like you, I want to be somewhere in the middle.

  6. You've sure been busy with the paintbrush. The third one is my favorite followed by the second which makes me think of a foggy morning

  7. Hola Pat,he estado mirando seriamente todas tus láminas.
    Lo que más me atrae es el realismo abstracto,pero puede ser que no esté aconstrumbrada a mirar artistas abstractos y me cueste comprenderlo.
    De todos modos enhorabuena por tu aprendizaje.
    Un besito.

  8. Abstraction is good practice in simplicity. Have fun with it Pat!

  9. Great work Pat. Experimenting is always interesting.

  10. Thanks Michael. I think sometimes you have to try both extremes before you can find a middle! I hope we both get there :) xx

    Thanks Ann. I have been busy. Once I want to learn, I really want to learn :) xx

    Thanks, Conchi. Sometimes I like for everyone to see I have to work at art too! I am hoping this will loosed my style up a little. xx

    Thanks Dora - trying my best to enjoy it :) xx

    Thanks Asit. Experimenting is interesting, even if it leads me nowhere, at least I know :) xx

  11. Wow Pat, I love to see your steps on the abstract road! You certainly have been busy! Thanks for sharing, I think I'm going to buy the book too. I like the idea of simplifying and I'm curious to see how other people do that.

  12. Thanks, Judy. So glad you enjoyed seeing what I've been up to :)
    Its an interesting book - and because no demos, you do have to think about what you're doing. :) xx

  13. Pat nice surprise that my dear,when I saw he was looking a little abstraction confess I was happy.
    The way this, synthesis and use of color to tell their story.
    No doubt that at last you got to see how my mind works when creating my watercolors.
    We have to know all the ways to decide our own.
    I loved everything.
    A big hug

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  15. I like your Easter Island Block Head. Although he sort of reminds me of a robot. Before I even read your comment under your 'dog' painting I saw that dog looking at me and I knew that inner love of yours just came right out.
    I did some learning/experiments with my machine tonight. It was nice to just learn. I learned that from you..that it's ok to just learn!

  16. One would think that abstracts are very easy, but they ain't...we have some good try's here, specially I like number 3 and the last one Nil style. Keep it up Pat. xox

  17. Thank you so much, Nil. You are very encouraging to me *hugs*
    In these steps you can see how my mind works, falters and picks up again :) xx

    Thanks, Anamaria ! I do see the figures in number two - and for sure I could go back in and define them more. At this point, its enough to know I could do it :) xx

    Hey Tonya! I knew you'd see the dog straight off - and it warms my heart to hear that watching my blog has made you realise its ok to learn! xx

    Oh Jane, they aren't easy for sure! Who knew? Probably Nil did :) But I am enjoying the learning and I'm sure I'll eventually get where I want to be :) xx

  18. I just love your abstracts Pat--love being able to "see" things that other's might not see.


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