Book Review: Beginner's Guide to Abstract Art
My art was starting to feel stifled by the rules I had placed around it. So I decided to bring some freedom into my creative experimentation with the book “Beginner’s Guide to Abstract Art”. The book is by Laura Reiter, and if you have ever wondered how to make abstract art this is the book for you!
For some reason abstract art has always felt out of reach to me. I have clung to a sort of simplified realism for a really long time. Every time I have tried to paint something abstract I almost always would wind up turning it into something more realistic. Sometimes it is comforting to have a recongnizable image to grasp onto…as if that is the shape of what you are trying to portray. What I’m loving about abstract art is that it leaves more up to interpretation by the viewer. With abstract art, you want to portray a sense of what you were trying to accomplish with the work while at the same time leaving it more open to interpretation. In that way everyone who experiences the work comes away with their own vision of what the piece meant to them.
In the book “Beginner’s Guide to Abstract Art”, the author teaches that there are many levels of abstraction. You can stick closer to the point or veer totally into the realm of color and form, all the while using a source image as inspiration. I’ve only done the first couple of exercises in the book and each time I show up at the paper is like a totally new adventure! I love the author’s teaching style. The book has tons of inspiration images and instead of producing something just like the author, it is totally up to you to go your own way with the exercises. And the examples in the book are just gorgeous! In the beginning of the book the author shows two images and then she created examples that show the different levels of abstraction you can achieve by focusing on different elements of the image and portraying them in different ways. The book is perfect for novice artists and more seasoned artists alike! Anyone who has wanted to try abstract art will find the book to be totally accessible to wherever you are on your creative path.
Sometimes with art you have to be comfortable being a beginner. I know that is true in my own creative journey. Truly with each work a new page is turned, but also when you try a new style of art it is as if the slate is fresh waiting for you to paint a new chapter of your visual story. Abstraction provides a sort of freedom that I have rarely known in my art making. Using the framework of a more freeform abstract image gives the creative mind all sorts of room to dream and play.