I have been complaining for a while that I wish my paintings had more of an abstract quality to them. But it hadn’t occurred to me to, you know, actually work on abstract paintings. I think this is all due to snobbery. As a girl I always wanted to be a “real” artist. Which meant: drawing human figures, painting in oils, painting on canvas, that sort of thing. I always sort of figured abstract painting was easy.
It isn’t easy.
I was going to use these little scraps of paper to do demos for the painting lessons posts. But then I enjoyed doing the first one so much I thought I would just keep playing. I had the idea that it would be fun to try to compose a painting the way you might compose a piece of music. I’m not quite sure what I meant by that. In music you often have the same note in the melody and just the harmony changes and it sounds different. And I thought you could do the same thing with color: keep using one color but place it in different contexts so it looks different. The there is the way musicians will take one theme and transpose it, invert it, change the tempo, bring it back in another key. And I thought you could do the same thing visually. Take a theme like three red dots and make it big, change its color, move them around, flip the composition.
So this is my first attempt: five pieces for english red. I’m not sure what I think about them but they were fun to do.
So far I am really enjoying working with acrylics. They dry super quick so it’s easy to build up a lot of layers. Working in layers makes a lot of sense to me and comes more naturally than pushing around big gobs of oil paint. Plus you get all kinds of cool crazy textures when you mix them with water. Getting to clean up without solvents doesn’t hurt either.