Geometric Abstraction – part 1

Posted on November 29, 2008

Geometric Abstraction started in the early 20th century with artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Kasimir Malevich. It is an art based on simple geometric forms – an art of pure form with no emotional content from the artist.

My Take
In my course on abstract art at Glassell, one of my assignments is a geometric abstraction. The piece I’m working on was inspired by the light patterns coming through my front door one morning. I was about to rush out the door so I grabbed my camera and took this photo.

I used Illustrator to trace some of the shapes using the pen tool. It reminded me strongly of light streaming in through a stained glass window so I went with that feeling but with a dark purple ground in place of black. Using that purple as my starting point I played around with the light colors. After a few hours of happy color mixing and recording I came up with a diaz. purple, nickel azo gold, pthalo green (blue shade) combination that gave me these fabulously complex colors I used in this color test piece.

The next step was to paint the final canvas with the purple ground. It took me a couple of sessions and several glazes to be happy with the color. This had to be it because there is no going back once the taping starts!

Oh yes. Taping. I hate taping. But at least these are straight lines. My previous taping experience was with curves and did not work out so well. In this painting though I think perfect straight lines are called for. I tried hand painting in the color trials and I could spend as much time tidying up edges as I might spend applying tape.

In fact, the taping turned out to be bigger and scarier in my mind than it was in reality. It took me a total of 7 hours to measure, rule and tape the entire 24″ by 48″ canvas. Thank goodness for the measure tool in Illustrator is all I can say. About 3 hours in I realized what Arielle really meant by a “kick-ass” painting! Here it is after the taping. Once that mammoth task was done I was excited to get moving again. I have sealed the tape in with two coats of matte medium (in the hope that this will stop paint from seeping under the tape) and applied two coats of gesso so my light colors will glow. If I had not used tape painting 2 coats of gesso and then color would have finished off my tiny supply of patience.

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