The Art of Abstract Painting: A Guide to Creativity and Free Expression

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9781844484270: The Art of Abstract Painting: A Guide to Creativity and Free Expression

Filled with inspired instruction, this detailed guide shows how to compose dramatic, beautiful, thought-provoking, and evocative abstract paintings. While focusing on the goal of developing the creativity and self-expression inherent in each individual, the approach is unique in that there are no step-by-step instructions.

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About the Author:

Rolina van Vliet is a painter and a teacher of abstract art at a variety of centers for artistic training. She regularly exhibits her work, which varies from abstract expressionism to lyrical abstract painting, and is the author of "Painting Abstracts."


I am a big fan of Rolina van Vliet's work and her books. This book is very similar to the one published by Search Press in 2008, but I do feel it is worth buying both. The book concentrates on creativity and self-expression and features many beautiful works of art by Rolina. It explains abstract painting methods in detail and will enable you to produce your own paintings. Short study exercises and professional tips provide a short-cut to Rolina van Vliet has produced an excellent book on how to analyse the abstract method and ways to produce lively and effective abstract art. Many people feel that abstract art is simply unstructured and free flowing but Rolina shows that in fact there are some very in depth thought processes in its creation. Rolina begins by welcoming the reader to a world of free expression and says that by following this route ones artistic expressions will be given the scope they need to create spontaneous lively works that emanate from within oneself. This book has developed to show the artist how to familiarise themselves with abstract painting an easy to understand way and that will subsequently point the way to the great adventure of creating one's own expressive, original and creative works. Rolina describes this book as being an answer to some of the students questions such as what is abstract ?A" where do I begin ?A" The text in her book gives information about the background, goal and procedure of the abstract method, and how to use these to develop the focus of your own talents in these areas. These are accompanied by illustrations that clarify the content of the methods described. The text next to the illustrations gives extra information such as technique, composition and construction of the works. These help put into context the application of methods to the individual artworks. There are useful study exercises and tips for the student to work from to help focus on the bringing out the creativity from within. In most art books there are step by step demonstrations but in abstract art the focus is on bringing out the artwork form within the individual. Rolina's study tips help one begin the journey towards achieving this goal. The study tips are arranged as assignments but deliberately not in the form of step by step examples. Rolina says this type of procedure is a direct opposition of the abstract method, and that focus is own one's own efforts and talent and that the student must avoid copying to any extent at all. The illustrations accompanying the assignments are there purely to give impetus to one's own artistic aspirations. Rolina shows the student via this book how to practise artistic and expressive skills, something essential to the art of abstract painting. The emphasis is on bringing out expression from within oneself. When one paints reality the external information is there as a guide, whereas abstract comes completely from within oneself and we need to learn methods to make the appropriate choices of shape, colour, texture and composition. As there is a lack of external guidance we need to learn how to make these choices in order to form a pleasing artwork. The study tips are directed at helping us to achieve this, and to learn to direct our creative thinking into an artwork with focus, direction and restraint. This book is full of beautiful illustrations and excellent tips to enable us to compose thought provoking and evocative abstract paintings. It shows how we can use a variety of media in our journey and how to give rein, direction and control to our free thinking. It's a fascinating book for everybody, whether they are just starting in abstract, artists wishing to obtain more freedom in their works or simply people interested in learning more about abstract art. A fabulous and unusual This is Rolina Van Vliet's second book and pretty much picks up where Painting Abstracts left off. The subtitle, A Guide to Creativity and Free Expression slightly begs a question, but emphasises that this is very much a series about the creative aspects of abstract painting rather than the practical matter of getting paint onto paper or canvas. This, it seems to me, is a very reasonable approach and it's unlikely that you're going to tackle the non-representational route if you're not reasonably comfortable with your materials. Indeed, it's probably not to be recommended at all. The matter of begging the question is simply, can you teach creativity? On balance, I'd have to give that a qualified yes. Abstraction is very much about ways of seeing and it's really not unreasonable to say that you can introduce the ideas of a different vision just as you can explain that, in a straightforward landscape, you need to decide which elements of the picture you're going to concentrate on, which are going to be just suggested and which you'll probably leave out altogether. In a word: composition. All painting could be said to be chiefly about shapes, colour and balance and the basic principle of abstraction is that this is all you give yourself to work with: the normal points of relativity, the recognisable forms, are removed so that the viewer can only work with what you give them. As such, they have to find your point of view and abandon their own and it's this, as much as anything else, that makes abstract art difficultA" and frequently uncomfortable. Working backwards from a wide variety of finished paintings, Rolina takes you through the techniques that are available, from visual cues to colour, texture and composition, giving a very practical approach to what is, well, an abstract Abstract painting is unlike any other kind, and needs a special approach. The subtitle of this primer is "A Guide To Creativity and Free Expression" and aims to get to the root of why you have chosen abstract over figurative painting, and what you want to get out of it. As someone who enjoys fabric painting I was interested in a book like this, which offers the scope to escape, through decorating my cloth with more abstract designs. This is not a book on fabric painting I hasten to add, but there is no reason why the ideas in here cannot be used in other media. It gets you thinking about what you want to achieve, and starts off by getting the reader to ask themselves various questions, a method that many books on other painting styles might do well to also start with! This is a book about searching for freedom, and encourages the reader to play with styles and techniques, continually asking yourself questions about what your painting represents and means to you. What do other people get out of looking at your work or other abstract paintings? What do certain shapes and forms imply? As with any other style of painting you need to learn something of color theory, also texture, balance, use of space, etc. To facilitate all this there are a number of exercises to try out, and all in all, I found it a stimulating way of working that was likely to come up with some pleasing work. If you are an artist of any level wanting to try out abstract painting this is a good place to This new guide bypasses step-by-step instructions, concentrating rather on the creative and aesthetic aspects of abstract painting. However, it's much more than just a catalogue of concepts and ideas and there are plenty of practical tips that will help you turn what you see in your mind's eye into a finished painting.-The Artist

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