Abstraction in All Representational Art

I’ve heard it said that all repretational art has abstraction within --it this piece is a great example of that idea


I started this little abstraction the week I returned from South America in early January. But it stalled. In my last post about studying Wolf Kahn’s pastels and his ideas of magenta and orange; it help me recognize a solution so that I could complete this little 5x7 landscape on home-made ground.

Learning From My Prior Attempt

I used magenta here, where in my last attempt to explore magenta, orange and blue in a landscape, the magenta disappeared almost entirely. It is in almost all parts of the painting above. It is the center of interest and comes forward in the lit bush of this scene. It is also under the sky and in the water and reflections of light. Magenta is the color that connects the other saturation of orange, thalo-green, and blues together.


How Texture Can Create More Layers

This is a closeup of the finished work. It shows the extreme textures of brushed on clear gesso in multiple layers using a course 99-cent hardware throw-away brush. There are terrific hills and ridges that allow me to use my soft pastels in two ways. 1) if I push hard and move back and forth, they fill the texture much as they would like a paint brush or by using sanded paper. 2) Most important to me, by varying the pressure, I can, like oil painting, scumble in colors. I am able to let other color layers show through. I've done pieces that have 11 different hues under the top hue, each showing through in little low points of the texture -- almost like pointillism but with a randomness that creates the interest I seek in the painted surface.


Above is where this stalled start of a landscape started from a plein air notan sketch that was done on an artist's friends farm near Peru, IN. As you can see I was well into the concept of using the magenta and orange palette but couldn’t finish because I hadn't yet read how Kahn used the colors. I think this shows well how my experiments with the previous series I blogged about benefits me. My willingness to experiment at the expense of success paid off but at the time of the unsuccessful painting in that series -- my efforts there eventually paid off here.

What I learned

  • Experiment, experiment and then experiment some more

  • Not everything must be for sale, experimentation leads to something unique that is for sale

  • Integration of the colors, hues, selected helps hold areas together more than their segregation


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Avon Waters
Modern Artist