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A r t work by Rober ta D yer

abstract painting for today’s contemporary artist BY K ATE ASHTON


ABSTR AC T PAINTING FOR TODAY ’S CONTEMPORARY ARTIST

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CHAPTER ONE: STR ATEGIC PRINCIPLES

Artwork by Kate Ashton

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Table of Contents Hello

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Why Abstract Art

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Chapter 1

Strategic Principles , 12 Activating a Canvas , 14 Rest & Rhy thm, 16 Torso, 18 Principle of Thirds , 20 Warm & Cool, 2 2 Strong Contrast, 24

Chapter 2

Composition, 26 Repeating Pattern, 28 Horizon, 34 Cruciform, 38 Let’s Paint It!, 42 Wallpaper, 4 4 Dramatic Shapes , 4 6 Rectangles , 50 Let’s Paint It!, 5 5

Chapter 3

Spatters & Drips , 58 Spatters , 60 Tools , 60 Drips , 62

Chapter 4

Words & Numbers , 66 Use Your Non-D ominant Hand, 6 8

Chapter 5

Pentimento, 74 Tools , 76


Chapter 6

Luminosity, 80 Let’s Paint It!, 8 3 Tools , 84

Chapter 7

Tex ture, 88 Tex ture Examples , 91

Chapter 8

Palimpsest, 94 Examples , 9 6

Chapter 9

Gestural, 100 Tools , 104

Chapter 10

Mark Making, 108 Mark Making Char t #1, 113 Mark Making Char t #2, 115 Mark Making Char t #3 , 117

Chapter 11

Mixed Media, 118 Examples , 120

Chapter 12

Excavation, 126 Examples , 128

The Studio

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The Artists

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Goodbye

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Index

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ABSTR AC T PAINTING FOR TODAY ’S CONTEMPORARY ARTIST

Gigi Woodward Detail of “Chagall Y’all” 60 x 30 in

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PREFACE: HELLO

Preface:

Hello... I wrote this book for you. If your hands are holding this book, I am holding the thought that you will be inspired by the artwork critiques and your artwork will soar. There are many things I haven’t addressed in this book—because there are a plethora of how-to books and “recipe” books that have been written each author’s reach into the subject matter. This book is meant to inspire. Inspiration is a must for a growing artist. The paintings in this book are from a group of 15 professional artists that I have the privilege to mentor and represent at Ashton Gallery in San Diego. I chose the pieces that illustrate the techniques that I want to share. Each artwork I have chosen has inspired me in relation to the technique that they feature. I have also included some of my own artwork. I am a great lover of abstract art. The quotes are comments I often make in class. If you put this book down and go straight to your studio, inspired to paint, I will be thrilled. Enjoy, Kind thoughts, Kate

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ABSTR AC T PAINTING FOR TODAY ’S CONTEMPORARY ARTIST

Kate Ashton “Behind This Door” 12 x 12 in

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INTRODUC TION: WHY ABSTR AC T ART

Introduction:

Why abstract art? Because we can. Before the camera was invented, artists had to paint portraits and saints and angels because we had no other choice. Times have changed. Now we have cell phones in our pockets with usually thousands of photos— all realism. So this is the time for experimental artists to branch out since the digital camera has made realism ubiquitous. This love of abstract art is not meant to denigrate those marvelous artists who choose to paint realism. We applaud their mastery, but abstract artwork is about mystery not mastery. Abstract artists are always going deeper into mystery. How the work will turn out is often a mystery as well. The abstract artist makes real what exists only in the mind, the heart, the subconscious— the unseen world. Abstractionism brings the unseen into reality.

Abstract art is about mystery, not mastery.

I have the honor of teaching some outstanding artists and owning an art center which includes studios and two galleries. I often hear viewers the same way Picasso responded: “It took me four years to paint like brings a sense of newness and wonder to how they see and understand the world…and so does a good abstract artist. Children don’t have an inner critic; they simply create. The best abstract artists can silence the inner critic and create with abandon and authenticity. Lastly, children are painting a world that is uniquely theirs. If they are angry, they may

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ABSTR AC T PAINTING FOR TODAY ’S CONTEMPORARY ARTIST

simply paint the sun red. They are responding to their inner world; the world they feel and sense rather than see; this is what a strong abstract artist does. I often have artists, who are new to abstract art, believe that all they need to do is slap some paint down and—boom—they will create great art. Not so. Strong abstract art has parameters, they are simply different from realism. A notable abstract artist may be years in the making, and most likely, a lifetime. There is only one question in abstract art: Does it work? Everything else, including the techniques in this book, are guidelines, suggestions, options…possibilities.

There is only one rule in abstract art: Does it work?

I have put this book together to inspire you. It is not an exhaustive work. It is meant to be an introduction to some exciting art with techniques that will spark your creative energy and send you to the easel. There will be guidelines and tools and supplies and techniques, but the magic is surely in you. If you like a piece of art, please read the caption. I will talk about why it is a strong work and what elements make it so.

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INTRODUC TION: WHY ABSTR AC T ART

Kate Ashton “By the Morning Glories” 24 x 24 in

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CHAPTER ONE:

Strategic Principles

Artwork by Kate Ashton

Often students come to a class on abstract art and think that any paint they put on the canvas will be a successful piece. They are usually dumbstruck when the piece doesn’t look “good.” Even though there is great freedom in abstract painting there is also great angst as each artist has a thousand choices to bring chaos to a creative and resonate conclusion.


ABSTR AC T PAINTING FOR TODAY ’S CONTEMPORARY ARTIST

1. Activating Just as writers have “blank page” paralysis...so do painters. The thrill of abstract art is that we can try/do just about anything. The angst of abstract art is that with do you do? How do you start? Abstract art is at its best when the artwork is complex through layering. This layering is referred to as “history” on the canvas. Just as each artist comes to the canvas with a rich history of experience unlike anyone else’s, so each canvas becomes richer with history, mistakes, trials and errors. In reality there are no mistakes using acrylic or oils, we just paint over what doesn’t work or wipe it out. It is a great idea to begin your abstract piece by “activating” the canvas. To activate means to begin with no direction in mind just the joy of putting paint, marks, mixed media or texture on the canvas. This process of activating allows you to be completely free. Make no effort to “create” a work of art. Instead, you are loosening up. Some of this activation will but most will not.

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CHAPTER ONE: STR ATEGIC PRINCIPLES

Kristen Guest “Roll Over Beethoven” 12 x 12 in

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ABSTR AC T PAINTING FOR TODAY ’S CONTEMPORARY ARTIST

2. Rest & Rhythm One of the most basic principles of abstract artwork is rest and rhythm. Rhythm is all the active elements in the piece. Rest is the areas of solid color that allow the eye to rest. This is important because we rarely “stare.” When we talk with another person, we usually look at them and then look away. Our eyes are always on the move seeking variety. Rest and rhythm are principles of life: light and dark, sun and moon, the tide comes in, the tide goes out. We breathe in and we breathe out. This combination of opposites is primal to the human spirit, and essential to abstract art.

RHYTHM

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REST

Be inspired by other artists but don’t compete. Look occasionally to the right or left, but consistently look through the windshield and you’ll find YOUR way.


CHAPTER ONE: STR ATEGIC PRINCIPLES

Roberta Dyer “Shipping Lanes” 30 x 30 in

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3. Torso The torso of the painting is the center portion. It is rarely left vacant because this is where the heartbeat of the piece resides. The torso of the human body houses all the organs that keep us alive. If we lose an arm or a leg, we will live on, but an injury to the torso could prove fatal. When the viewer looks at your art, they are aware on a primal level that what is happening in the torso area is important. When the torso is active, the viewer can readily move through the painting with ease.

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CHAPTER ONE: STR ATEGIC PRINCIPLES

Gigi Woodward Detail of “Those Were the Days” 36 x 48 in

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ABSTR AC T PAINTING FOR TODAY ’S CONTEMPORARY ARTIST

4. Principle of Thirds

LOCATION #1

We rarely see an important, focal element in the dead center of a work of art. Instead, we divide our canvas into thirds as evidenced in the example on the left. When you are beginning and want to place a focal point, the intersections of the thirds are the best locations. Because we are Americans, we read left to right, so viewer looks unless they are directed elsewhere. The other intersections are called “sweet spots” because they anchor the torso.

You cannot beat creativity into a habit; when you are done, all you will have is your empty habit.

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CHAPTER ONE: STR ATEGIC PRINCIPLES

Barbara Inbody “In Gold We Trust” 36 x 36 in

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ABSTR AC T PAINTING FOR TODAY ’S CONTEMPORARY ARTIST

5. Warm & Cool Warm (red, yellow, orange) and cool (green, blue, purple) colors make great foils for each other. Most abstract art uses this simple principle to give the piece vitality. A small side bar; if you mix these colors together; you will end up with a muddy color. But if you place them next to each other, they create exciting “bling.” This principle creates a strong element of contrast...an important component of successful abstract artworks.

WARM WARM

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COOL

COOL


CHAPTER ONE: STR ATEGIC PRINCIPLES

Ann Golumbuk “Ferris Wheel of Life” 53 x 53 in

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ABSTR AC T PAINTING FOR TODAY ’S CONTEMPORARY ARTIST

6. Strong Contrast A balanced piece of art has light tones, mid tones, and dark tones, creating undulating movement in the piece. Intense contrast directs the viewer effortlessly through your piece of artwork. A strong element of contrast is a great way to guide your viewer to your focal point. Also, placing dark colors adjacent to light ones forges an atmosphere of excitement. So don’t be afraid to snuggle darks and lights next to each other to introduce dynamism. Take note to introduce bold color variance if your piece is melting into mid tones.

Fall in love with art and be faithful; no one likes a player. LIGHT

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DARK

MID


CHAPTER ONE: STR ATEGIC PRINCIPLES

Kristen Guest Detail of “Dancing in the Street” 48 x 36 in

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ABSTR AC T PAINTING FOR TODAY ’S CONTEMPORARY ARTIST

Kate Ashton & Susie Zol working on a piece together.

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AN INSIDE LOOK: THE STUDIO

An Inside Look:

The Studio Art on 30th is an art center where artists come to grow...from a beginning artist to a professional artist. It consists of two galleries, two classrooms, and 16 private studios. Artists come from San Diego and surrounding areas—some travel an hour or two to study with experimental, recognized instructors and to be part of a vibrant, close-knit community.

All our art is autobiographical; we always and only paint from who we are.

Art on 30th is at the center of the arts scene in San Diego. It offers regional art shows that are open to anyone living in the area. These juried shows change every 4-5 weeks. Art on 30th also offers a once yearly juried, national show. Artists from all over the country enter hoping to be chosen. If you would like to see Art on 30th up close, please visit our website at arton30th.com. If you would like to stay abreast of what is happening (classes, exhibit openings, calls for art, mentorships, and more) please sign up to receive our monthly emails. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, please stop by and say “hello.” We will make you feel right at home.

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ABSTR AC T PAINTING FOR TODAY ’S CONTEMPORARY ARTIST

An Inside Look:

The Artists The artists featured in this book all paint at Art on 30th, a trending art center in the Arts & Culture district in San Diego. Each artist is part of a Professional Artists Program. Some are new to abstract art and some have been doing abstract art for years. Each one is represented by Ashton Gallery. Some of the artists are making a living at art and all are engaged in marketing and selling their work.

Abstract art does not have a roadmap. Take risks, go on adventures, leave the beaten path.

It has been an honor to support each of these artists in their growth and evolution.

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AN INSIDE LOOK: THE ARTISTS

Field trip with the professional artists.

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ABSTR AC T PAINTING FOR TODAY ’S CONTEMPORARY ARTIST

Goodbye... Thank you for buying this book and following this journey of inspiration. I hope when you put this book down, you are headed to your studio. Be courageous. Be creative...your best is yet to come.

Artwork by Roberta Dyer

Kind thoughts, Kate

If you are called to paint it; do it, no matter what anyone else says. It is YOUR journey.

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INDEX

Index of Featured Art Cover: Kate Ashton, “ Take the Exit,” 12 x 12 in Title Page: Roberta Dyer, “Going Home,” 36 x 48 in Flyleaf Spead: Kate Ashton, “ Magenta Dream,” 36 x 60 in Ch 1: Kate Ashton, “ Dancing At The Circus,” 48 x 48 in Ch 2: Shirin Nikoukari, “ Romeo,” 30 x 24 in Ch 3: Sheila Daube, Detail of “Odyssey,” 48 x 96 in Ch 4: Denise Cerro, “ I Think We’re Not Alone Now,” 24 x 24 in Ch 5: Kate Ashton, “ The Dark Of Summer,” 12 x 12 in Ch 6: Nancy Torns, “At Water ’s Edge,” 24 x 24 in Ch 7: Kate Ashton, “At The River,” 12 x 12 in Ch 8: Yahel Yan, “ Personal Stories Are Complicated,” 24 x 24 in Ch 9: Kristen Guest, Detail of “A Place In The Sun,” 48 x 96 in Ch 10: Ann Golumbuk, “ Summer In Bloom,” 48 x 36 in Ch 11: Gigi Woodward, “Gigi’s Dog,” 36 x 36 in Ch 12: Sheila Daube, “Ozymandias,” 72 x 72 in Goodbye Page: Roberta Dyer, “ Room with a View,” 36 x 24 in

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ABSTR AC T PAINTING FOR TODAY ’S CONTEMPORARY ARTIST

Index A activating 14 Ann Golumbuk 23 , 70, 107, 108 B Barbara Inbody 21, 52, 65 , 92, 93 , 120 C Christine McKee 38 , 62 composition 27-28 cruciform 38 D Denise Cerro 66 , 69 Dewalt Nail Set Pro 76 dominant & non-dominant hand 68 dramatic shapes 46 drips 59, 62 E Escoda #4 or #6 Stubby Brush 104 Escoda #6 Oval Brush 104 excavation 127-128 G gestural 101-102 gestural brushstroke examples 104 gestural tools 104 Gigi Woodward 6 , 19, 39, 40, 41, 118 , 121, 123 glazing tools 84 GOLDEN Satin Glazing Liquid 84

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INDEX

H horizon 34 K Kate Ashton 8 , 11, 12, 29, 32, 35 , 36 , 53 , 54 , 74 , 77, 79, 88 , 96 , 111, 128 , 129 Kemper Spatter Tool 60 Kirby Kendrick 45 , 103 Kristen Guest 15 , 25 , 64 , 78 , 100, 102 L let’s paint it 42- 43 , 55-57, 83 Liquitex Freestyle 6” or 8” Short Handle Brush 104 Liquitex Freestyle Palette Knife 76 Liquitex Freestyle Spatter Brush 60 Lisa Tear 86 , 87 luminosity 81- 82 M Manaz Raiszadeh 30, 6 3 , 72, 73 , 98 mark making 109 -110 mark making examples 113-114 , 117 mark making material list 110 mixed media 119 -120 mixed media material list 120 N Nancy Torns 80, 85 O old toothbrush 60

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ABSTR AC T PAINTING FOR TODAY ’S CONTEMPORARY ARTIST

P palimpsest 95-96 pentimento 75-76 pentimento tools 76 Pnina Gold 4 4 , 50, 51 principle of thirds 20 R rectangles 50 repeating pattern 30 rest & rhy thm 16 Roberta Dyer 17, 97 Royal Sovereign 2. 5� Colour Shaper 84 Royal Sovereign #6 Colour Shaper 76 S Sheila Daube 28 , 34 , 37, 46 , 47, 4 8 , 49, 58 , 7 1, 126 , 130, 131, 132, 133 Shirin Nikoukari 26 , 90 spatters 59 - 60 spatter tools 60 strategic principles 13 strong contrast 24 Susie Zolghadri 106 , 115 , 122, 125 T tex ture 89 -90 tex ture examples 91 the artists 136 the studio 135 torso 18

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INDEX

W wallpaper 4 4 warm & cool 22 words & numbers 67- 68 Y Yahel Yan 31, 94 , 99, 105 Z Zoi + Chloe Bowl Scraper 84

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First Edition Š 2020 Kate Ashton All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventino. Except for legitimate excerpts customary in review or scholarly publications, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or information storage or retrieval systems, without the permission in writing from the publisher. Published in the United States by Art on 30th Design: Kristen Guest & Kate Ashton Proofreader: Sheila Daube & Troy Sage Thomas Photography: Madison Daube & Janyce Erlich-Moss Manufactured in U.S.A. ISBN 979-855789599-6


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Preview of "Abstract Painting: For Today's Contemporary Artist" by Kate Ashton  

If you are seeking inspiration, this is the book to do just that! It demystifies the process of how artists create abstract art. Written by...

Preview of "Abstract Painting: For Today's Contemporary Artist" by Kate Ashton  

If you are seeking inspiration, this is the book to do just that! It demystifies the process of how artists create abstract art. Written by...

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