Sunday, July 16, 2017

Abstract Painting, by Jane Davies

Having taken several workshops with Jane Davies, both in person and on-line, I was excited to get my hands on her newly-published book, Abstract Painting: The Elements of Visual Language. It's available from Amazon.

The objective of the book is to help readers to see our own work, to get past the experience of making the piece and to get to the point where we can objectively see the piece on its own terms. Seeing the piece helps us make decisions about how to move the piece forward.

Davies also discusses the elements of composition: line, shape, mass, pattern, texture, depth and colour. Rather than presenting the rules of composition, Davies prefers to explore the mechanics of composition.  She discounts the pursuit of balance and unity in favour of energy and interest.

Davies encourages the use of contrast in all things to add visual excitement. She suggests an exercise in making various lines, all different (direct and hesitant, drizzled and dotted, scribbled and streaked, thin and thick, wet and smudgy). By expanding one's arsenal of line, one can create more contrast of line. Similar exercises are proposed to explore contrast in shape and pattern.

Suggested exercises in colour support the use of dark, light and greyed colours, of opaque and translucent pigments, of analogous and complementary colour schemes. I found many of the activities in the book familiar, as they were introduced to me as a student in Davies' on-line classes.

I would recommend the book to anyone looking to advance their work in abstract imagery. With over 200 colour images, it's a volume that I will refer to often.


Linda B. said...

Really appreciate this review Heather, I've been anticipating publication for a while.

There aren't many teachers that transcend materials/technique but Jane seems to be one of them.

Susan said...

Had been considering this book and on reading your review, ordered it. I love Jane's videos on YouTube.

Dianne Robinson said...

I hope you'll bring it with you next week! Thanks for the review.