Abstract CollageWell, this was an unexpected surprise! When I started my fifty projects I wrote a big list of crafts and skills that I thought I'd like to try. There was no mention of abstract painting. 

Where the idea came from I'm not sure. It happened when I was doing my previous project on colour theory. That was very practical - learning by doing - but it was a bit tedious: painting colour swatches, cutting them out and sticking them in charts. All interesting in theory, but I needed something to keep me motivated.

This is how I think it went: I do have a book called Realistic Abstract which I really enjoy. I think I bought it for myself online and so I was getting recommendations for other abstract painting books. Part way through my colour project I came across Jane Davies' book, 'Abstract Painting: The Elements of Visual Language' and of course looked her up on Instagram and youTube. When I found out that her book had some practical exercises to work through I decided to give it a go. 

What I needed was a way in. The Realistic Abstract book, although it contains some lovely images, only has a bit of information and I always felt it was for a more experienced artist. I thought I should be better at painting or drawing before trying to abstract the idea. What Jane Davies gave me was a way to start.

For example, the first chapter is about Elements and you have a go at making lines and then shapes and then patterns and before you know it, you have a library of elements to reference when you are doing a painting. More than that, having experienced those lines and shapes you work out which ones you like and you look at a painting and think... maybe that wispy line would work here, or maybe I need a block of colour on the right...  

 
 

Making an actual picture was another matter though. I really struggled. You might think that an abstract painting just appears if you throw some paint around - well, no, that's just how you make a mess. Over the next few weeks I persevered, working my way through the exercises until I realised that it's a combination of shape, colour, texture, composition... just like you'd need for any good painting or image. You can't just use shapes if you don't pull it together with a strong combination of colours and a good composition.

 

I could've finished this project after working through the Jane Davies book but I was still enjoying the whole process. Whilst watching Jane's videos on youTube, I came across Louise Fletcher. Louise runs a free, 8 day painting course called Find Your Joy Taster Course and, as luck would have it, it started in a few weeks.

If you're at all interested in making pictures of any kind I would recommend you take in some of Louise's content - not just videos, but she also has a fascinating podcast called 'Art Juice' with Alice Sheridan. Louise is great at helping people make art - any art, their art. I thoroughly enjoyed the free 'Find your Joy' taster. I have to thank Louise and her team for such valuable content. I won’t be continuing on to the full course because being an abstract artist was never even in my mind until last week! I will definitely be painting more though and I have no doubt that the full course will be fantastic, based on what I’ve seen so far.

 
 

So, out of the blue, abstract art has become something that I do. If I have a day at the weekend I'll get my paints out and mess around a bit. If I've learned anything from Louise, it's not to rush things. The temptation is to go out and get some canvas and try and make something to sell. As I've only been painting for a few months I really don't have the experience to do that at the moment - but it'll come if I just keep trying. And whilst I try to end my projects with a finished piece of work, this one will be ongoing and I'm excited to see what happens.

 

Information : :

Book: 'Abstract Painting: The Elements of Visual Language' by Janes Davies

Or take a look at Jane's website here...

 

Information about Louise Fletcher, her work and her courses on her website...

Art Juice podcast

Or search for her on YouTube where you can see demonstrations of techniques as well as recordings of ArtJuice as webcasts.