Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Abstract Portrait: More Than One Way To Skin A Cat, Part 1

 One of the fascinating things about abstract art is that for the most part it was a creation of the 20th Century. Oh, there was Edvard Munch's "The Scream." in 1889,  and we can only surmise what Van Gogh may have done. By the time of his death his paintings were getting looser and increasingly abstract. Picasso was in his "Blue Period" but still recognizable and Braque led the charge and the floodgates were open by the time of the Armory Show of 1913. Critics screamed yet oddly, the collectors and the public were supportive. Maybe, this new century needed a fresh start.

Original Distorted Image
If you haven't tried a portrait abstract, I discovered it isn't easy. I am anal, detail oriented, attempt to be literal and have a hard time making that distorted leap. A good friend sent me a series of images, amazing distorted images that he hoped would finally set me free. I looked at them, had a good laugh but then after looking again decided there was one I really liked.

It had possibilities. Suddenly in minds eye I saw all kinds of shapes and colors, something that I had never done before.

Grabbing a square canvas with a deep frame all around, this is how I started my portrait.

I sketched the rough outline of the face and then selected a variety of colors that were used to completely surround the face. These will be the core colors...or at least that was the original intent. Will it work? Can I successfully incorporate these colors with subtle variations to create a new, abstract portrait? That remains to be seen. However, one of the beauties of acrylics is
that one color doesn't work? In 30 minutes, or
less, I can try another. In fact I feel that this might be very successful as a heavily textured Rouault.

I had already decided to use a thick black border around the face. If all went well, this could create a striking three dimensional portrait. While we may never know who the original was, it is a means for me to free myself hopefully for now and for the future.

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Thank you for reading.

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