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The evolution of Urban Abstracts 10

Marlene Burns

Blog #9 of 18

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January 21st, 2016 - 03:22 PM

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The evolution of Urban Abstracts 10

Although I mentioned "painting" with slices of photographs, I didn't understand at the time, that that was what I was doing.
In my mind, I was still just enjoying the challenge of grouping images together. Specifically, what I didn't understand was that my process of composing is automatic after nearly 50 years of learning about and using the elements of good design.
Years ago, when I was first introduced, I had to make a conscious effort to run the list through my head and consider each as I painted. I had tools and tricks to help me.
Those are worth mentioning in this blog:
1. Diminishing glass
2. Turning the canvas in all four directions during the painting process.
These helpers insure that you have created the best composition.

The hardest part for me was to eliminate a part of the composition that I loved simply because it didn't work with the rest.
When an abstract is being built, the rule of thumb should be 'if you don't need it, dump it.' Regardless of the aesthetic, if it doesn't function with the other elements, it is working against them.
Think of a choral group. If one beautiful voice stands out and is not blending in with the others, it is not strengthening the whole, but splintering it.

Keeping this in mind, some of my jewels don't make the cut. However, with photograph files, they can be used again and again.

I'd like to close this blog today by impressing upon you the importance of learning the rules of good design and composition.
I cannot tell you how many times I hear artists proudly say that they ignore the rules. In actuality, they haven't bothered to learn them. And what you do not know, you cannot ignore. With this mode of operating, you can produce great work, but they will be happy accidents instead of consistently good work.
Learn the rules to the point that they become second nature and THEN, opt to challenge them.

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Marlene Burns

5 Years Ago

Tucson, AZ

Lisa, thank you for your comments. It is still the toughest thing to do, particularly when painting. In the late 80's I painted my raptor series. It most assuredly, painted decades before its time. I sold none...painted over most of them and cried like a baby as the gesso obliterated each image. So, I guess I set the stage....if you can erase an entire image, surely you can eliminate one piece of a composition!

Lisa Kaiser

5 Years Ago

Kennewick, WA

It's very interesting to read about how you got rid of what you loved most on your composition. I'll have to consider that. As usual, you art and your blog are very interesting. Amazing work and write-up.