• Carolyn Land

Lets Do An Abstract

“So now the flood gates are open to the delight of pure form, whatever its origin.  Anything goes”.   

Phillip Johnson

Last week I said that one of the easiest ways to understand the art of abstracting, was to take one of your landscape photographs and reduce it to its simplest shapes and change the color.


Then I gave you a list of things, you could do to an object, to make it abstract.  In,“On the Court” below, you can find parts of a pair of sneakers, a net taken apart, a ball, and shoe laces, which are the lines used to hold some of the elements together.

Pastel Painting by FL Artist Carolyn Land

“On the Court “     Pastel and Acrylic


This week, I am giving  you other ideas you can try, if you want to “take a back road”, and do something new. Abstraction can be fun!   Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Paste tissue paper down on your work surface.  Let it dry.  Paint on it. Your realistic painting will have an abstract feel.


Abstract painting by FL artist Carolyn Land

  1. There are also products, you can put on your work surface, to make a textured surface to paint on. They are: Gesso, various gel mediums, fiber paste, modeling paste, crackle paste.

Pastel Paing by FL artist Carolyn Land

“Palm After the Rain”       Pastel on  a Gessoed Surface


  1. You can also put Modeling Paste, and any of the other products I mentioned, on a hard surface, to make a textured work. You can add paint and other things to these when they are dry.

Abstract Paintng by FL artist Carolyn Land

“Falling Waters”  Modeling Paste with Handmade Paper, Thread, and Acrylic Paint 


  1. Collage is another medium which lends itself very well to abstract work. To start, you could use papers from magazines, card stock, decorative papers, photographs, and fabric.


Collage by FL artist Carolyn Land
  1. Using two mediums together will also add an abstract look to your work.  Some options would be: ink and watercolor, crayon and acrylic, watercolor and pastel, collage paper and paint.


Mixed media painting by FL artist Carolyn land

There are some things to remember while “driving off the highway” however. There are many rules in art for: strong composition, using certain colors together, directions for using  products, and processes to follow when using certain supplies to achieve a certain goal.  Some of these, if not followed, will cause a disaster, but other rules can be broken; and you can still have a positive outcome. “Rules are made to be broken”!  BUT, not when they have to do with using a product correctly…read the directions on the label, especially if it is new to you.   🙂

Remember, even when doing abstract, the use of the Elements of of Design and Principle of Design are still important.  Lets call them “Rules of the Road”.  They apply whether you are driving on the highway to a specific place, (realism), or taking the back roads to (abstraction).  Two important ones you should remember are:

  1. You need a strong center of interest.  Pick a “sweet spot” and enhance this area.  Make it just a little more important than other areas.

  1. Value is “King”. Make sure you have 3 good values in your painting: a strong dark, medium, and light.

Most of all, if you want to try something new, have fun with it.  It is the journey, not the finished product that counts; especially when you are learning something new.  Embrace your creative spirit!

“If you make pictures you are bound to be an abstract painter on some level.”    George Green

Next week:  “The Creative Spirit: Its Many Facets”                                                        cALand

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