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Abstract Art at City Lit

Another City Lit course, this time with the artist Kate Hardy, whose work I rather like. How can you teach abstract art? How can you judge what is good and not so good. As I write this in retrospect having completed the course, I am not so sure I am any the wiser unfortunately. This was one of the City Lit courses I found to be overvalued, but there were some interesting "ways in" to creating abstract art which can be used as tools to produce abstract work, but disappointingly neither I nor my classmates produced much of value, in my opinion...

Exercise 1

Part 1

Look at various postcards handed around the group and think about:

What do you think the artists' motivations were for making this?

How does space work in this (if at all) - ie, is there an illusion of space, or depth?

Good artists to look at:

Graham Sutherland

Kate Hardy

Jenny Franklin






Richard Diebenkorn's Ocean Park Series, 1975

How do you define abstraction? What's it mean?

Basically we can have a varying degree of abstraction from reality. You can get the title to signify meaning - eg Klee's Fire in the Evening.

Part 2

The whole class tears out coloured pieces from mags and newspapers, each small group working on a different colour.

Take some old business cards or postcards and choose a colour, then fill with torn bits to make a landscape collage in hues of one colour only.

Think about atmospheric perspective to give a sense of space and depth; how in a landscape the furthest things are more muted and not so vibrant in tone.

One of the most important tips in any art I would say is to make sure there is some CONTRAST.

Here are some of mine:

The next part was to choose one and paint it exactly as you see it from the collage.

I'm not sure I'd want a bright yellowy orange painting on my wall, but you get the jist of the exercise. One way into making an abstract painting.

So I went from this collage:


to this painting. I much prefer the collage! And the lime green with orange is quite yuk!

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