"And though you'll make some pieces you like and others you won't like, the only thing you can do wrong in art is not make art." So says Dean Nimmer in his book Creating Abstract Art: Ideas and Inspirations for Passionate Art-Making (North Light Books, 2014), and I'm taking him at his word.
Nimmer offers 40 exercises and dozens of examples of art and artist's statements to help get one started in the practice of creating abstract art. For example, the first exercise is to simply make eleven dots on a blank sheet of paper and then to connect those dots with lines - straight lines, curved lines, multiple crossing lines - in whichever ways may strike one's fancy. The idea is to let go of the rational, calculating, careful side of creation and to let loose the intuitive, immediate and carefree side. I just finished painting a commissioned portrait - a polar opposite of abstract art - so "letting go" in this way seemed like just what the doctor ordered.
I began the morning sketching eleven dots and lines with paper and pencil and followed that up with two more random drawings - doodles really. Then I stood in front of my easel and put paint to canvas. I had no plan for or any idea of what I was going to end up with, I just started to paint. More than once I was tempted to scrap the whole thing off. But this is much more about the process and not much about the end result.
That result, as you can see, isn't completely non-objective or purely abstract. There's a significant gesture towards 'realism' - perhaps the white vertical shapes are two people and the pink "sky" is lighter than the dark reds and browns of the "ground". Maybe there's a volcano and a giant moon.
I'm looking forward to the rest of the lessons in this book. I'll share more of the work I make from them and whether you and I like the pieces or not, at least they won't be wrong.