I’ve been playing around with abstraction. What is that really? When I paint, I am starting from somewhere and rarely wind up with something that is fully faithful to the original reference point. Even if I do, it’s an abstraction of sorts; I’m depicting something that’s three-dimensional on a two dimensional plane. It’s a magic trick, a kind of optical illusion.

Keeping that in mind helps me to be looser and freer with what is happening in that picture plane. I don’t take it too seriously. It is a playground of my own making. I can do in it as I wish. I can make it a very convincing space or something more random and imaginary.

Typically, I do start with a photo and a feeling for a place. Maybe there is a memory or mood attached to it. Maybe I’m simply drawn to the beauty of the moment. From there, I break it down into what is the easiest and simplest way for me to paint it. I try to see the large masses and the strong value differences and then I paint those. I’m looking for the big statement. Then I look for the smaller statements and add them if I feel that they will add to the idea that I’m trying to convey. If they don’t, I edit those elements out.

This week, I played with how far I could go in simplifying. What is the real strength of a painting? Is it the details? Do they carry it or is it the underlying structure, the bones that matter? Is it both? At what point is a composition no longer interesting or a “finished” piece? This is the dance!

With Warmest Regards,

Painting Minilessons
with Marla Baggetta

These “mini-lessons” grew out of my blog. I love sharing my experience behind the easel, so these are free. I write a new one every two or three weeks, so please feel free to share with artist friends.

​These lessons are mostly written text with graphics…short but useful tidbits from the foundations of painting that touch on subjects such as aerial perspective, simultaneous contrast or using negative spaces. I guide you through different aspects of painting and art that will get you comfortable with using pastels. You’ll gain confidence to attempt work that you might have otherwise been timid about.

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