Friday, June 24, 2016

Abstract Distractions

I was finishing the last of my coffee I had a couple thoughts come to mind I wanted to note for my workshop next week. One was the definition of abstract, the other who knows, gone with the wind...

Since, the second thought is gone at the moment I will focus on the abstract. I used the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, on-line version. Here is what it had to say about abstract.

Full Definition of abstract
1a :  disassociated from any specific instance <an abstract entity>
b :  difficult to understand :  abstruse <abstract problems>
c :  insufficiently factual :  formal <possessed only an abstract right>

2:  expressing a quality apart from an object <the word poem is concrete, poetry is abstract>

3a :  dealing with a subject in its abstract aspects :  theoretical <abstract science>
b :  impersonal, detached <the abstract compassion of a surgeon — Time>

4:  having only intrinsic form with little or no attempt at pictorial representation or narrative content <abstract painting>

This years workshop at Common Ground on the Hill, is dealing with working from abstract and taking it to a realistic finished pastel painting. How do these definitions apply? The way I work and teach is from the point of the nonobjective. A background often develops first without necessarily knowing what the final image will be in the painting. Even when I work with just one color to tone the background, it can become abstract very quickly as I use a kneaded eraser to start pulling the lights to form an image.

The visual arts cross over in many areas, math, music, poetry and science. Abstract art can be difficult to understand, insufficiently factual or expressing a quality apart from an object. To deal with a subject in its abstract aspects, is to break it down into its simplest forms: circle, oval, triangle, square or rectangle. Impersonal, it can be for some people, it does not appeal to everyone.

The last definition, having only intrinsic form with little or no attempt at pictorial representation or narrative content <abstract painting>. There is a difference between abstracting an object and nonobjective painting.

Definition of nonobjective
1:  not objective
2:  representing or intended to represent no natural or actual object, figure, or scene <nonobjective art>

The definitions are close but the abstract does refer to intrinsic form. Nonobjective, Abstracting to Realism is a bit over the top we will just use some of this information as part of the introduction and maybe the Artists Talk. To see how this all comes together I will follow it up with a step by step in a future post.

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