Monday, June 22, 2009

Leaves- an abstract study in gray

No kidding! The starting point for abstract painting can be as diverse as the colors of the rainbow. Here I was, with a copy of a photo of ficus leaves. The thought occured to me that I should create an abstract structure over the print. With a brush loaded with gray paint, I began a series of rectangles, layering one over the other. A complex series of compartments. Obscuring the leaves. Obscuring the facts? Is this what some leaders were doing in a different context? Were multinationals obscuring the figures by a complex device of launching dozens of new subsidiary companies? A compartmentalized web of delusion.

But, to return to the painting "Leaves." I painted, in one of a few occasions a monochrome study. Showing the range of hues from black, to various gradations of gray to white. It's a small study in abstraction.

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" Abstract art is the product of a confused mind"

So said an opinionated, deeply religious aunt of mine. She heard I was painting and wanted to find out what kind of art I was producing. So when I vaguely explained that it was a semi abstract kind of art, This was her retort. Well I was shocked, she hadn't even seen any of my work, so to be described as confused was extreme. I didn't say much after that. She didn't either.

It didn't change my approach to art. Which was largely intuitive and experimental. But her words stuck in my mind decades later. Maybe she was right. It has never been easy to explain or understand. You like it or you don't. It is always useful to try and get at some of the thoughts the artist perused as he worked.

Abstract art is wide ranging in style and content. Some abstract art is totally non-representational. No object is descernible. Other types of abstract art hint at objects, visible things, landscapes.

Modern art got its driving force at the turn of the 20th century. It was a new kind of thinking, it was essentially experimental, always exploring new ways, new thinking, new solutions, defying the traditional techniques. Thus no definition is absolute, except in its diversity. This is where the heated discussions and differences begin. The controversies are exposed, outlandish remarks are made, arbiters of "good taste" reject it outright, weak artist retreat to their studios, the works can gain notoriety, sometimes the artists gain a cult following, the media loves it.

Most people, on viewing modern art will say, "I don't understand this stuff!" But understanding is not what you'll find. Instead, modern art should be regarded in the same way you appreciate instrumental music, flowers, poetry, it's an appeal to the emotions, to the senses. For modern abstract art to be fully appreciated you have to drink it in, absorb it. It's an experiment to be enjoyed, or cautiously accepted or sometimes angrily rejected, as "the product of a confused mind." Such can be the effect on the senses.

What do you think? How do you feel about abstract art?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Intuitive abstract collage art

This abstract collage is an intuitively linked combination of ink drawings, prints, brown wrapping paper, pastel and charcoal lines, on an acrylic painted background. On a bleaky morning, I assembled a number of random samples in a folder, with the thought of creating a collage of these pieces.

Collage was developed by Picasso and his friend Georges Braque to show art in a radically new way. This was an attempt to break the tradition of the paint brush dipped in oil paint, depicting something representational. That was the practice at the turn of the century. At some point, having gained fame as an artist using the classical techniques of that era, Picasso started experimenting and collaborated with his friend Georges.

Picasso, always seeking new ways to express himself, started using bits of newspapers, wallpaper and odds and ends around the studio. The more mundane the better. It was meant to shock the traditionalists. And it worked. There was outright condemnation by the art dealers of that time. Many felt Picasso could have made a comfortable living, rehashing the accepted styles of that era. Thankfully, Picasso rejected the conventional wisdom and created a new form of art. Thus opening the door, giving confidence to many other artists who came after him.

To view more abstract paintings, collages, drawings, digital experiments, and prints visit:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Abstract art-framed

Small abstract paintings when properly framed and matted can have an impact in your home. Here are 4 examples of framed paintings on a yellow wall, showing a variety of colored frames.

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Abstract art-Hierachy 4

This abstract drawing "Hierachy 4" is a rapid pen drawing, of compressed forms in compartments. It could be an aerial view of an archaeological dig, The abstract pen drawings appear to be lowered into another site, pasted on an umber ground. So much can be deciphered from ancient sites.

Other abstract paintings, drawings, collages and art prints can be found at:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Abstract art group

This Abstract painting started as a loose charcoal sketch. Gradually acrylic paint was applied loosely, then the images were subdivided into segments. Figurative abstract heads made an illusionistic visit. Diffused by layers of overpaint. Subtly applied.
These and other works on this blog are small scale abstractions. Small is powerful.

To view this and other abstract contemporary paintings, drawings, mixed media artworks and high quality giclee prints visit

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Abstract art - Global warner

This abstract painting developed from a wandering pen, drawings using colored markers, pen lines and acrylic layers.

As the artwork evolved, increasingly, I was reminded of 'seers', 'prophets' and people who suddenly seemed to get a vision of what would happen soon, in Jamaica. They would preach on the sidewalks in the busiest bus terminals, on the most jam-packed streets, anywhere the message could be heard - "Repent, the end is coming soon." This could go on for hours. Some curious onlookers would stop and stare. Other would hurriedly leave the area. Unless they got too boisterous no one would bother them. Well almost, there were always a few idlers who would mock them. Then the screaming would really begin - 'Repent! Repent or perish in eternal damnation.'

Though abstract in development, this contemporary artwork evoked nostalgic memories of times past.
Additional abstract paintings, drawings, collages and prints can be found at:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Abstract art - Fused

This contemporary abstract collage painting "Fused" was given this title because it represented a fusion of many art forms. "Fused" combined pen and ink drawings, torn magazine pages, pastel drawings, acrylic paint used in an abstract expressionist style.

Sometimes the elements of a collage are scattered around the studio. How are they to be used to form a composition? Should they be a formal design? Or offbeat? Very often I try something off beat. To invent something new. Strong vertical and horizontal forms? To be different, I choose a diagonal angle to the central compartment. The elements too strong? I try to obscure them with paint. Too unstructured? I try borders and compartments. The surface is too flat? I layer other drawings. The surface lacks texture? Brush strokes of white dance across layers of forms and colors.

The end result of this abstract painting are not smooth and refined. But life is never really smooth. To appreciate the necessity of the rough expression helps one compare and appreciate other smooth forms of beauty. Is there ever a greater calm than after the storm?

Contemporary Abstract art incorporates many styles, forms and abstract thought. What's your definition of abstract art?
To see more of my contemporary abstract paintings, drawings, collages and prints visit:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Art Quotes for Today


Painting: The art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic.
Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914),

The Devil's Dictionary
A painting in a museum hears more ridiculous opinions than anything else in the world.

Fellow artists, what do you think?

Abstract art-Enjoined

In this contemporary abstract artwork, I created a pen drawing with a series of fused abstract forms meandering across the page. Working with the larger fused forms in the middle, I created a border of related abstract forms. A print was made, then hand colored with pastel and colored pencils. Though the work is small - 8.5x11 inches the intricate details were quite involved and took a long time to complete. Small works keep the eyes focused, the intensity and concentration, like a laser beam, on a small area at a time. Someone once said "to do a large painting, use a large brush." This has never been easy in the style and build-up method that I use.

Line drawing, for me, lays the foundation for most of my abstract paintings. It represents a skeleton on which to create more three dimensional forms, creating a balanced though informal composition, where color can be used to enhance and highlight certain areas. Colors can be bright and explosive or subdued and introspective. I try to be as original as possible in the start and completion of each work. That's what keeps the interest going. The thought of a new day, a new creative way, to express the thoughts and vision that stimulate the imagination.

Additional contemporary abstract paintings, drawings, mixed media artworks, digital artworks, and abstract collages can be found at

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Abstract art/collage-Emerald

This abstract painting combines pen line drawings, collage elements pasted on surface, wax drippings, acrylic paint in foreground and background. It was an attempt to create and use recycled art and build compartments of color in the foreground elements while using more subdued color and wax drippings in a more abstract manner in the background. This is an example of a contemporary mixed media collage painting.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Watching Damian Hirst

Today I'm watching a few videos on the controversial Damian Hirst. Considered the most popular living artist. Commanding prices in the millions. His diamond-encrusted skull is being sold for $100,000,000.

Quote for the Day:

Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973)
There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Figurative abstract art

Abstracting the abstract. In the line art abstract drawing "Daunting" I tried to abstract the concept further in "Daunting 3". Here I reworked the drawing using digital means. Using a variety of filters to draw, scratch, diffuse, color, and dissolve the image to create something radically new. A dissolving abstract form. Lines and forms still visible but substantially different. Both drawings are shown for comparison. More paintings, drawings, giclee prints are available at

Monday, June 1, 2009

How to explain the power of abstract art

Pablo Picasso in describing his art once said " The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape"...

Abstract art can incorporate all these diverse sources and produce an original artwork that explodes with color, excites the imagination, angers some skeptics, dismissed by traditionalists, but exists for its own sake. Contemporary abstract, modern art can open galaxies of new thought. Be critical of government and their policies, shame institutions that despoil the planet, depict man's brutality to man without representational images. Abstract art can also shock and anger individuals who disagree with the artists methods. Outrage others with their prices- $100,000,000 (diamond encrusted skulls) or bring delight to children. Art, skilfully employed, can soothe tired minds, drive men to war, sometimes a bidding war, across continents.

Do you have any thoughts on the power and potential of abstract art? How it could be used to move humanity to share and end poverty and disease? Have you visited the Rothko Chapel in Houston and felt the power, the silence, the awe? Yet, to reduce it to fundamentals, only paint was used in the most basic and abstract manner. But the calm that is felt is indescribable. Comparable only to Monet's 'Water Lilies' room at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.