Guest blog by Jacinta Payne
MAKING ABSTRACT PAINTINGS MAY BE MORE INVOLVED THAN YOU THINK
I learnt traditional art from my Dad from a young age. As a kid and a teen I was always painting and drawing - landscapes, portraits, patterns, still life.
It is sometimes assumed that abstract artists paint abstracts because they can’t paint or draw figurative work. So instead they just 'throw around some paint and call it art'.
In most cases nothing could be further from the truth. Abstract art takes patience, thought, and a heck of a lot of practice.
For many artists who have gone from traditional art to abstraction or semi-abstraction, it is a massive challenge.
When you have a reference to draw directly from, it’s easy to see if and when you have it “right”. With abstraction or semi-abstraction it can be much more difficult to see where and why it is not working and what needs to be done to fix it.
My art practice has, like many artists', evolved over the years. These days I would describe most of my work as 'semi-abstract', meaning some figurative elements are included, but they are stylised, or impressionistic.
The process for each painting is lengthy and I never know the direction it will take me. I usually start with some kind of plan or idea, but like any good adventure, the plan becomes insignificant when the magic of the spontaneity takes over.
The ground layer forms the basis of the work and I continue to build on it with multiple layers helping to further develop the piece. The ideas continue to evolve with ongoing experimentation. A few repeated marks here, some glazing there, scratching, scribbling, paring back, adding more layers. The essence of the painting emerges.
Using my hands to apply medium plays a big part in my art practice. I will sometimes use my non dominant hand or hold the paintbrush in a different way than is natural to me. To make interesting marks I often use rags, a spray bottle, sandpaper, sticks, corks, handmade brushes and handmade tools.
I usually take a photo at some point to see if it’s working.
“Blur” my eyes to see what’s needed. How’s the balance?
Turn the painting upside down.
Step back. Look from another angle.
Climb on a ladder and look down on it.
Leave it for a few days, weeks or months.
Then, if I dare, go back into it and do some more.
Or be even braver and call it finished.
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