And now what?
How do you begin?
Award-winning American artist Pat Dews suggests that you begin by working from a photo. It could be one of your own photos, or something that you find in a magazine. The idea is to look at the photo through a viewfinder (a piece of cardboard with a hole cut out, perhaps 2" x 2") and to search for a high-contrast, pleasing area. Your subject might be only a small fraction of the photograph, but seen in isolation, that small fragment may have all the elements needed for an interesting composition: a variety of shapes in different sizes, a range of darks and lights, and intriguing negative spaces.
I have registered for a one-week workshop with Pat Dews later this month. As well as an extensive materials list, we have been asked to bring to class two failed paintings, 22 x 30. This is a little problematic for me, as I am not a painter and don't have anything lying around of that size, failed or otherwise.
But I have had a look at some of my photos taken some five years ago and have cropped them severely. I think that these micro-images may provide an interesting starting point for this first foray into abstraction.
Pat relies on photos of natural textures for the "starts" to her sometimes-abstract-sometimes-representational work. She is intrigued by rocks and water. Her final painting often bears little resemblance to the original image, except for the basic organization of shapes.
I like the idea of going out with my camera again, as I used to do years ago, and look for interesting rock formations, tree roots and cracked pavement, to use as inspiration for abstract compositions.