Monday, September 13, 2010

Non-Objective vs. Abstract

The term abstract can be misused in art, and sometimes the meaning intended by someone using the term abstract is actually non-objective. Before I can discuss my process in creating non-objective (non-representational ?) artwork I must clear up the abstract thing. Abstract art looks like something, you might have to search for it, but the subject matter is there, and has been abstracted, which is to say somethings have been removed from it. Google "abstract picasso" for images which mostly include abstract art.

Non objective paintings are very enjoyable for me. For example, this peachy painting has a lack of external subject. It does not depict a person, place, or thing in the natural world. It is art, because I say it is. It is not about geometry, no matter if you argue till you are blue in the face, although if you want to believe that, fine with me. It looks different in different light, which I find very endearing, almost like having three or four different paintings at all times. It is very pleasant to have around and I enjoy it hanging above my couch.We frequently pose for photographs in front of this painting because it casts a very friendly light upon our countenance.

I suppose this painting of undersea coral could be considered abstract. It contains my very favorite use of color, orange purple blue and green. The orange doggie painting is also an abstraction of a real dog. Find here for your viewing pleasure a very bad "before" picture of the doggie.

(not to be confused or even compared to the famous Blue Dog which is far superior in every way to my dog.)
I promise, I will take an after picture of the orange doggie and post it here very soon. 
And a suggestion of what he looks like hanging on my wall in a smaller drawing with colored smushy crayon stuff: 

The maroon painting below is about a broken heart, if you believe the poet who wrote a poem after he looked at it. I believe him, and I wasn't really thinking about it at the time, but it makes sense to me now and it did in 2005.  

 Poem inspired by "Maroon with Strings and Flap Attachments"

Hearts don't break. They don't.

Bad analogy for a soft thing like love.

They squish like oranges in a press

and the juice that runs out is sour.

They wad up like the paper that

her goodbye came on.

They dive into a dark hole

like a tiny animal running

from a hunter's boot.

 by Gary C. Wilkens


 I thought, well, now that you mention it, 
I did paint the maroon painting with a broken heart.  
Sometimes that's just unavoidable.

But really, what do you see? These things were painted because I was scared to try and paint an object. When a person has a certain belief about how objects should look, and a lack of confidence about his or her abilities to paint objects the way he or she believes they should appear, it is generally easier to paint in the non-objective fashion. So I concentrated on how very beautiful paint looks when you don't quite mix it all the way. I took great pains to spread it just so. To attach rocks and canvas squares and hunks of chewed up bubble gum, and to paint over and around them in ways that for me were a celebration of what I can do with color.  If I didn't like the way the streaks of white turned out while dragging it through the wet purple and violet, I could easily repaint that area.

This gigantic watercolor by David Hagerbaumer currently dominates my living room, and it isn't even hanging on the wall because I'm scared it will jump off. This is a perfect example of a representational painting. The details are beautiful. I am mostly just sharing this because it is right there, sharing my space, the size of a person.

Footnotes: The maroon painting is about as big as my 9 year old. 

The abstract undersea coral is not very big at all, only about 15" x 24"

I am not sure I have completed the assignment of discussing how I make non-objective paintings. I need to think about it more. And to go back and read the sticky note in my purse with the assignment written on it. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

gesso-ing 20 of the 30 canvi

I lined 20 canvi up on the pushed together desks in my studio.

I used a yogurt cup of white gesso, threw in some pinkish paint, mixed that in well, and began to gesso the first row of canvi. I did not like the uniform pink.

I globbed in some burnt umber which was partially dried out. This resulted in very desirable muted pinkish brown, with darker umber streaks where the partly dried paint smeared on the canvas without mixing thoroughly with the gesso.

I began applying the gesso thickly to some of the canvi

In most cases, I flopped one wet canvas on top of another and rubbed the handle of the paintbrush on the dry back of the top canvas. This created a print. So some of the canvi are very similar to one other canvas in the group. 

I'll post before and after photos soon.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

little canvi

I went to the Dollah Tree and bought 30 little bitty canvi. Yes that has to be the plural for canvas (es) plus, these things don't seem to be made of real canvas, at least nothing I've known. But they will be snazzy for my mass painting project. 2 per week, super duper. Tomorrow I can gesso those puppies between classes and get started playing around with color options. More cuteness:
I'm wondering if the owl makes it to the paintings. I have this thing right now for toadstools, owls, and other cutesy stuff. (Duckies and cardinals? Not so much.)

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Tonight I scanned the parts of my 1940's era magazines that I think will work as collage items for the artwork I would like to create. Here is my favorite. Are they adorable or what? I think I need to make these hats.