Monday, April 13, 2009

Abstract Paintings #15 and #16

After a short break, I returned to my studio and made this next abstract on a larger board:

Abstract Painting #15, acrylics on plywood, 61x40cm.
This is probably the largest abstract I have done to date. Working spontaneously, lifting large amounts of acrylic paint as the colours came to me I laid them on in bold gestural movements, trying all the time not to design it.

Fianally, with the session now at an end and all that squeezed-out paint lying there on my palette crying out to not be left to harden, I finished with this more muted painting to use up all the remains:

Abstract Painting #16. acrylics on cardboard, 29x 38.5cm.

Phew!...another week over and plenty to show for it.

But is any of it any good?


my croft said...

oh good heavens! you've been busy while I've been maundering.

Is any of it any good...?
Hard to say -- since white is my favorite color, I find #16 very engaging and I think I may steal #3 and #6 for Moby Dick panels. They are all interesting (which is not a euphemism for "quick! think of something -- anything -- encouraging to say") for various reasons.

Your discussion of Kline's process is intriguing -- and made me wonder if you want "abstraction" to mean something like "exuberant and unthinking." I'm also impressed in my reading about abstract artists how very much thinking, practice, planning, working and reworking goes into their work. It really isn't just splashing about, they really are after something specific, even if they can't quite articulate it verbally (yes, yes that's why they paint).

Much to take in and think about here. I'll have to come back and look some more.

daviddrawsandpaints said...

Melanie: the words 'abstraction' and 'abstract' get bandied about and often, especially around the time Ab-Ex was in full flight, they seem to be synonymous and interchangeable. In order for me to make some sense of it all I have tried to make a distinction between 'abstraction' meaning: derived from some object or figurative reality; and 'abstract' meaning: purely or "freely" expressed from the subconscious, or 'felt'.
It's a bit of a minefield, but my definitions help me when considering how this type of painting is generated. The problem is...I don't really know! I would really need some practitioners in this dark art to try to verbalise, if they could.

The question "is any of it any good?" is, of course, unfair since it all comes from my subconscious and is therefore , hmm, what can I call it?...ah, yes - brilliant!

You are, of course, in good company with your love of the colour white since this was often dominant in Joan Mitchell's paintings. She said that " had a series of negative meanings which go beyond it's descriptive characteristics: death, hospitals, terrible nurses, and Moby Dick"! I trust you use it more positively :o)

my croft said...

Oh -- got it. Now I see the distinction you're making between abstract and abstraction. I've been away from the discussion for too long.

White also has a lot of positive descriptive characteristics -- pure, clean, open, bridal, cool, hot (white hot), Moby Dick! ;-)

Maybe a more fair question (more fair than "is it any good?") is does it express something -- and in this regard I think emphatically yes. I find several of the pieces moving the way that certain pieces of music are moving. Probably the more accomplished among your fans will be able to articulate this more clearly than I can.
(the wv, after all, is obscaliz)

daviddrawsandpaints said...

I've always felt that, apart from some of the more obvious "larks ascending" and "Cuckoos", music is 'pure' abstract and wouldn't it be nice to do the same visually with painting. I know many artists have made their own attempts at this - Paul Klee for example, and Mary Ann Wakeley - and it is something that fascinates me and which I will continue to try my hand at.
Good to have you back talking and commenting again Melanie :o)

Melinda said...

Perambulating on over here, I see that you are building an evocative, energetic and highly abstracted foundation.

I hope you are allotting many gold stars for your excellent work.

Are you painting to music? I do see a Joan Mitchell influence in these. Franz Kline had very strong graphics as I see in your work, too. So, whether you like "the mess" or like the "spontaneous" Franz Kline-like approach, your work is quite strong and worthy of recognition.

My personal opinion is that we will always imbue the space with somewhat iconic representations--just because we are human. And, that's a good thing...What do you think?

Brian McGurgan said...

I'm quietly enjoying watching your progress, David, and have been checking in from time to time without leaving comments in the past couple of months. I like how you've responded to your more graphical works from early April with some loose, gestural painting. Like many, I suppose, I have a tendency to seek out representational form even in the most abstract of art and can't help but try to find a sense of fore, middle, and background space in paintings where probably this wasn't the intent. Although Hofmann didn't get you all fired up I see some nice push-pull dynamics happening here with your warmer, brighter colors against cooler blues and whites. This contributes to that sense of depth and space I see in some of these paintings, whether that was what you had in mind or not.

It's interesting to me that while music is purely abstract (particularly instrumental music), it has that dimension of time that allows a narrative to be presented whereas in painting the total effect is more immediate. We talk about "leading the eye" and so on, but the effect of this on the viewer is often subconcious and happens so quickly that a singular impression is all we're usually capable of in an individual painting (as opposed to a narrative that can be all drawn out and take you up and down emotional highs and lows). With pieces like your recent ones, I feel challenged to try to appreciate them in a different way - much like when I listen to modern orchestral or chamber music - in this case, trying to lose my expectations for form and representation (even in a most abstracted sense). Still, I look for a balance of value, sensitivity to color temperature and intensity, texture, etc., and wonder how these qualities factor into your approach if at all in an intentional way since you seek to draw more upon a subconcious response in these paintings. Certainly I see these qualities in your paintings (for example, the warm and cool dynamic I mentioned above) but am curious as to whether you are working towards such aims or allowing it to happen in an almost "accidental" manner
as guided by your subconcious. No need to comment back on all of this, of course - I'm just "processing" this and will continue to watch how you come along. Happy painting, my friend!

daviddrawsandpaints said...

Hello there Melinda! Have I got stuff for you to see!! - but first, let's take it one baby step at a time (the music comes later): Joan Mitchell's paintings are wonderful, full of energy, happy you see something of her in my painting because I do study her. And as for Kline I am just about to post something on him that might interest you (ye are runnin' way ahead o' me - slow doon lassie!). I agree - we do look for something objective in abstracts even when there is no intention. It's natural. But here I am simply trying to unlock non-figurative feelings and emotions through free abstracts painted "purely" from my subconscious. A dangerous activity you might say (given the junk that lies around in my attic) but you have to accept what turns up regardless. The validity, I believe, is in the 60years of life experience and a paintbrush in my hand. This limited project just gives me the opportunity to let loose for a while and see what transpires.

And Brian - thanks for leaving your comments too. If there is spacial dimension in any of these paintings then I must be truthful and say it wasn't intended but I'm glad it is there. I have tried hard not to impose any "design" criteria. These are purely an exercise in "seeing what the paint can do" and allowing freedom of expression to manifest itself. Design intent will not be kept down for long though - I am unable to prevent it - but for the time being I am skipping through the heather with no clothes on! Oops..please delete that image from your head.
Totally unwanted :o{
Interesting comments on music and the dimension of time. In two postings from my next one I will address that very point and hope to entertain you in the process [I have been so busy and away from blogging for so long I have much to catch up on!].
I have enjoyed reading your thoughts and considerations which give me much to ponder but, as you will have read in my response to Melinda, I am indeed seeking to allow it to happen as you say "in an almost "accidental" manner
as guided by your (my) subconcious".
I will post up my next installemt later, but for now I am off to watch a football match, and who cares if the best team wins as long as Glasgow Rangers do!!!
Appreciatively yours,