Abstract Layers

As someone who is really into illustration, I very much struggle with creating abstract art.  That was precisely why I pushed myself to actually do this week’s Life Book lesson, which was taken by Jodi Ohl.  I find that I now enjoy the process of working in an abstract method, of layering and mark-making, of using colour and texture rather than shape and form.  However, because I have no real feel or instinct for it, I never know when I am “done” with a piece.  My impulse is to add some sort of representational element to provide the piece with a focal point but often, when I have done so, I regret it because it doesn’t cohere.  I worked on this piece gradually over the course of three days, adding bits and pieces whenever time was available to do so.  Each time I returned to my art table to work on it, I had a sense that it needed more and had an idea of what to add – some dribble here, a few marks there – but then I reached a point where I didn’t know what to add.  Did that mean it was complete?  Or did it simply mean that my well of inspiration had run dry for this piece?  Or was I just fed up of working on this piece and wanting to move on to something new?  Any or all of the above?  I decided this piece was done.  Maybe I will circle back to it at some point and add something; probably I won’t.

32 - Abstract Layers

13 thoughts on “Abstract Layers

  1. Laura, it’s done and it’s done exceptionally well! I struggle with abstract and layering and all that, too, but you have really created a terrific piece. Inspiration!
    Thanks, too, for the link to Jodi’s site. I like that she does some whimsical work that’s not entirely abstract. I’m eyeing the Zen Houses class, although right now I’m doing Tam LaPorte’s Ever After. At my current rate, the 16 lessons in that will take me about 1 1/2 years to finish.

    • I try not to get caught up in that feeling of being “behind”. I’ve skipped so many lessons this year but I just download the PDF files (I don’t download videos) for the ones I’ve missed so I can return to them at some stage when I maybe have more time.

      • I’ve never worried too much about being behind, I just keep signing up for classes and downloading as you do. (I download the whole thing. Thank goodness for 1TB on Dropbox and a few TB external drives.) I committed to working through Ever After as Tam suggests: do the lesson as the teacher shows and learn what you like and don’t like about techniques and media. The ultimate goal is to help establish a style. It’s tremendously hard for me to follow lessons exactly, but the three lessons I’ve done have yielded great results in learning new techniques. And yet, after painting a London cityscape as a background for Peter Pan and Wendy, I’m thinking a break might be good….. ( :

  2. I like it. I think the vertical lines turn it into a composition rather than patterns on a page. Your eye saw that, I believe. Abstract work is like illustration. Practice gives you more familiarity and confidence. How about 100 small abstracts project. ???

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