WHEN I STARTED IN COLLEGE AS A “SERIOUS” STUDENT OF ART, drawing, painting and sculpting painting were my focus. Indeed, I took life drawing 3 hours daily for four years; thus learning to draw from life. I wanted so badly to draw in a representational way. However, frustration set in as instructors pushed non-objective (abstract) concepts and techniques. I tried my best to get into conceptual art as well as the ethereal in design oriented abstract assignments.
Post college, I was left with ill feelings of emptiness and sense of unfulfillment. I still wanted to paint and draw things as they were, or my interpretation of them. But without the classical skills of painting under my belt I could not reach my objectives. Subsequently, I learned the principles/techniques necessary by studying with masters in the the field, and became a representational artist. What was it that really solidified my acceptance and appreciation for, and ability to utilize my former abstract training?
A wise old master artist once told me,
All painting is abstract, even when attempting to render things exactly as they are. By virtue of the fact that you are placing 3D imagery on a 2D surface is a distortion of reality.
This statement hit me right between the eyes. In effect, we are all “abstract” painters. He was right! Even if I had continued as a classical representational artist or become a photorealist, all are abstracted from reality. This took a great deal of pressure off, giving me the liberty to interpret and paint as I wanted to — tight, loose fanciful, painterly, etc.
Another bonus — my appreciation of non-objective art has heightened as well.
What has been your experience?