Creating abstract art is often a misunderstood activity that can often times lead to frustration when realistically minded artists try to create it. Most people unfortunately do not understand what true Abstract art is. Instead, they look only at the technical skill in the application of the material and dismiss the skill that lies in the thinking behind the artwork. You see, abstraction takes on many forms, but all of it includes taking something from reality and changing it in some way. Some artists change the way we see objects so dramatically that it is hard to know what was abstracted. The skill of abstract art lies in the vision of the artist. Many people don’t understand that this is largely the goal of abstract art-to encourage new ways of seeing. Most of the world is programed to evaluate art based on it’s level of realism. Many artists are programmed in the same fashion. So when an scholar of realism decides to branch out into the world of abstraction, frustration often follows. Not because the technical skill is missing, but because the skill of seeing is different and often untrained.
If you are looking to give abstraction a go, but consider yourself a realistic artist, consider taking a closer look at your subject- a lot closer look. Remember, abstraction is about encouraging new ways of seeing. One new way of seeing is by “zooming in” to your subjects. Notice the way the shapes, forms, lines, and colors become simplified and deviate from how we normally view the object. Draw or paint what you see realistically, the result will still translate as abstract. This is a great exercise to create true abstract art for those of us that are skilled in realism, but are abstractly challenged.
Some artists to take a look at for inspiration include Georgia O’Keefe and Richard Diebenkorn.