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  • Writer's picturecarolyn land


“As for what I am making now, perhaps it’s art; but it isn’t, it is at least equally interesting to me.”                                                                                                                                                                               George Rickey

I received an email asking how I can move so easily from realism to abstraction. Knowing my subject matter is going to be nature, it is always easy for me to find some small space, within my vision of the natural elements, or a part of a painting I have done, that will motivate me, to do an abstract: the planes on the rocks I just rendered in pastel, the swirls and color patterns in the wet sand, the reflection of sky in the water, or the roots that are entwined around the base of a tree. 

Those little spaces, in the big picture, are fascinating, and are worthy of a closer look.

If you are not working with nature, there are many objects that can motivate you to abstract. I have a list I give my abstract students of things they can do to an object to abstract it: accentuate, alter, condense, cluster, delineate, depart, dissect, embellish, exaggerate, fragment, improvise, intensify, omit, overlap, revise, separate, simplify, transform. If that is not enough you can create textural surfaces, add paper and objects, add symbols, or water down paint and let one shape flow into another.  Use a: sponge, wedge, rag, to paint, stamp it, stencil it, print it.

Mono print by FL artist Carolyn land


I see something that moves me, I want to capture it: the time, place, and feeling. But then, there may be one little detail in the whole, that peeks my interest because of its: texture, color, lines, or shape. One of those elements will make me want to work with it alone, or present the scene from a different perspective.

Basically…I like to play, and there are so many things to play with, when it comes to art supplies and techniques, when doing abstract of non-objective work.  It is all about the journey.

“Art is a habit forming drug.”                                           Marcel Duchamp

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