Abstract art is a kind of art that uses a visual language or form, color, and line to create a composition. It doesn't relate to anything external or try to "look like" something. Instead, the color and form are the subject. Abstract is also generally classified to be figurative abstractions and paintings which represent things that aren't visual, such as emotion, sound, or spiritual experience.
What makes good abstract art? When it comes to abstract, you can't just get a pencil and make a wild scribble and be done with it. You have to put some feeling in it. Have a little fun with paints, crayons, markers, or even a pencil. Try to make something interesting, or fun to look at. Be proud with what you make. Also, make something you’d like.
Figurative Abstractions One kind of abstract art you can make is figurative abstractions. Figurative abstractions are abstractions or simplifications of reality, where detail is eliminated from recognizable objects leaving only the essence or some degree of recognizable form.
Abstract Expressionism There is also abstract expressionism. This kind of abstract art started in 1946. Expressionism abstract paintings include dripping, dropping, smearing, spattering, and even throwing paint onto a canvas. Expressionism abstract got its name because it is seen as combining emotional intensity and self-expression.
Renata Bernal One abstract artist is Renata Bernal. She was born in Munich, Germany in 1937. Renata came to America at the age of 13. As a child, she attended the Cooper Union Art School in New York City and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute, and with a Masters in Art Education from Brown University.
Working at the Art Institute As a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, Renata studied etching, worked with ink drawings, woodcuts, and with oil paints which she was drawn to, because of the beautifully bright color. In late 1960's Renata Bernal began working with acrylic airbrush on canvas. The airbrush allowed her to produce, with acrylic paint, the same feeling she experienced with oil paints. Over the following decades, this was her primary medium that she used for her large abstract pieces, although she still continued to create ink drawings in the 1990's and make portraits with pastel and charcoal in the 1970's and 1980's.
A Great Artist Retired Renata Bernal uses geometric shapes and patterns with lines which show a bold and finely-tuned sense of color, line, and form. She does well whether she uses primary colors, pastel shades, or the different shades of one color. Many of her paintings have been in only a few select locations because of their large size. Some of the places she has exhibited includes New York City, San Francisco, Rhode Island, and in many other cities in upstate New York. Now, Renata Bernal is currently retired in upstate New York, where she continues to enjoy and practice painting her artwork, writing poetry, and participating in her local church.
This was made with the acrylic airbrush. Untitled
Wild Blue Fantasyscape This was made with oil paint.
Small Landscape This was made with oil paints too.
Willem de Kooning Another abstract artist would be Willem de Kooning. Willem was born in 1904 and grew up in Holland. He lived with his mother after his parents divorced. At the age of 12 Willem dropped out of school. He wanted to earn enough money to get away from home because his mother Cornelia de Kooning was pretty harsh to him. She would slap and kick to teach him.
A Hard Worker So, during the day, Willem painted hand-lettered signs and decorated store windows. Though at night, he dreamed of cowboys, movie stars, and the exciting life he had heard about in America. He had already started planning his escape from home. Willem planned to earn his living in America with many different skills: carpentry, lettering, and furniture repair. Soon, Willem's employers noticed that he was not only a hard worker, but also very talented. They encouraged him to attend art school. So, for 8 years Willem worked and studied at the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts. Now, Willem was more determined to get to America so he could experiment with fresh ideas about color and form in art.
Getting to America A few years later after Willem graduated from the Art Academy, he met some sailors in the bar his Mom owned. The sailors found out that Willem wanted a job on one of their ships. The sailors found him a job in the engine room on a freighter ship sailing to America. When the boat docked in Virginia on August 1926, Willem jumped off. After landing in Virginia, Willem boarded other ships and managed to sail all the way to Hoboken, New Jersey. He wanted to earn enough money to move into an apartment in New York. In 1927, Willem got the chance to. When Willem arrived at his destination, he was 23 years old. In New York, Willem made plenty of friends.
Introduced to Art How did Willem get introduced to art? Well, that started one day when he found a small, hungry black and white kitten. Willem decided to take it home. A few days later the kitten climbed onto his fire escape and jumped into the apartment upstairs. The men who shared that apartment were a filmmaker and a poet. Once the men returned the kitten, Willem was taken by his new friends, to meet art critics, painters, writers, ballet dancers, and filmmakers all over the city. So, that's when Willem de Kooning began to paint pictures, but he was never happy with his colors and shapes. So, for each painting Willem created, he would just abandon them and sign them later. But he knew that somehow, he would later find ways to make them better.
Learning from Others Willem de Kooning decided to learn from other painters. There were three painters he learned from: Arshile Gorky, Stuart Davis, and John Graham. They would take Willem to museums, show him their work, and teach him what they had learned. Later, Willem's teachers became famous artists. As Willem got better and better at his painting, he worked in a program designed by President Franklin Roosevelt called, the Works Progress Administration. In this program, Willem would paint paintings for offices and public buildings. After a little of that he never went back to house painting again. Willem also painted scenery for ballets, portraits of important New Yorkers, repainted areas that had faded in homes, and murals for wealthy homeowners.
Willem’s Artwork As Willem worked, in his spare time he would still try to fix up his other paintings. Every day he would wipe off his old paintings and make new ones. People in New York soon were talking about how Willem and his new friends painted. They talked about how they didn't paint anything that looked realistic. They would just paint abstract expressionism with just colors and shapes. Willem's work soon showed more of his feelings and energy than his friends’ artwork, and his paintings weren't always completely abstract. Sometimes in his paintings, you can make out recognizable objects and people. Willem also added plenty of action. There wouldn't be any part of the canvas that was empty.
Elaine and Willem As Willem started getting well-known, visitors would come and watch Willem paint. One of the visitors was a young art student named Elaine Fried. Elaine and Willem would talk a lot about how and why artists painted. They would argue and laugh about the discussions. In 1943, they married. Willem worked hard and became famous, but as this happened, he and Elaine drifted in and out of each others’ lives. Sometimes they were a happy couple, but other times they argued. A lot of times they would live apart. Eventually, Elaine lived separately from Willem de Kooning.
An American Citizen Soon, Willem was living with a young woman named Joan Ward. In 1956, Joan had a baby girl named Lisbeth. But most of the time she was called Lisa for short. One day when Willem came back to his studio, he found Lisa's baby hand prints all over one of the paintings he had started. At first Willem was angry, but then after looking it over, he started liking it. That painting was called, Lisbeth's Painting. On March 13, 1962, Willem became an American citizen. To have a fresh start, Willem de Kooning, Joan Ward, and Lisa moved close to the beach. In their beach home, Willem continued to make money for his artwork. Willem hired assistants to help him move and store his paintings. Willem's artwork started to sell for more and more money. Soon Willem created new abstracts with more bright colors and busier, more nervous brush strokes than ever before!
Back with Elaine By 1979, Willem was drinking too much alcohol at age 75 and was not taking good care of himself. He had moved away from his family and was living alone. Now he hardly would paint at all. This is when his wife Elaine decided to move back with him and help him stop drinking. That made a big difference. In no time, Willem was back painting again. Being back with Elaine after 27 years of living apart felt good. Elaine and Willem walked along the beach together ate good meals, and neither of them drank. They also owned a cat named Mr. Mongo. For nearly 10 years, Willem continued to work even though he had the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a disease that destroys the memory of the brain while weakening it. Most people would say that he as too sick to lift a finger and that his helpers were probably making the paintings for him. When a news reporter visited his house he found out that Willem was still the artist painting the amazing artwork.
Every Stroke is Your Last… In 1989, Elaine, who was a heavy smoker, died of lung cancer. By then, Willem's memory loss was so bad that he wasn't sure what happened to Elaine. Willem just stopped painting and was cared by Lisa and a team of nurses and doctors. As Willem's latest paintings were being looked over by critics, Willem was home in bed. Just a few weeks before Willem's 93rd birthday it was March 13, 1997, and Willem died, but he was always remembered. “Every stroke is last…” he always said.
Resources (continued): http:// www.ionone.com/pntkostyal.htm http://abstract.chrisspagani.com/index-old.html q= Willem+de+Kooning&form = QBIL&qs = n&sk =&sc=8-15 http:// www.siwikultur.de/pmc/bilder/kooning.jpg http:// home.arcor.de/starluver/manics/tme/interiors.htm http:// www.kunsthandelmeijer.nl/local/pag/abstr/kooning.html http://www.parisparis.com/artparis/down/porte/images/dekooning2.jpg http://www.askart.com/AskART/photos/CNY20061115_3442/29.jpg http://www.martinries.com/images/LightInAugust1946.jpg Willem de Kooning, The Life of and Artist by Louise Hawes