Whenever I visit a gallery it tends to be the abstracts that draw my attention. If you had asked me why that was, or what I thought made a good abstract I am not sure I could have told you and maybe it was for this reason that I had toyed with, but not felt confident enough to produce abstract work of my own.
This year I have met two abstract artists here in the Pyrenees Orientales, each of whom has a very different approach and style and recently we have begun to meet and paint together once a month. It is through working with these two women that I have begun to really appreciate the difference between painting for the sake of the paint and painting to make pictures. I have taken my first few steps into this new world of paint. In producing three abstracts of my own I have started to appreciate just how much the abstract relies on the paint and its application. The abstract has to speak for itself, there is no picture telling a story only the paint and its effect on the viewer.
Composition, colour, texture, layering, mark making – each element of the abstract painting is all important if a successful result is to be achieved. I suppose what I was struggling with was the question of how I would know whether I had achieved a successful abstract and only time will tell whether I can answer that for myself. In the meantime, just take a look at the styles of my two friends.
First there is Jennifer Lussman who has been working this way for a long time now. Her strong abstracts resonate and glow, textures are really important and the work very tactile.
Then there is Mary Jose. Mary started out as a watercolour artist and has only made the move to abstraction in the last year, using a pouring technique to create her pieces. She has a wonderful colour sense and builds up thin layers of paint to create her effects, bringing in brush hand knife work in the finishing stages.
Encouraged by these two women I have produced my first two pieces that you can see here and at the top of this blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of paint for the sake of itself as well as using a very limited palette on a black background. I am now proposing to look at ways to simplify my landscapes and my husband has suggested I call the process ‘extraction’ rather than ‘abstraction’ ! I rather like that idea.