Abstract & Colour Techniques In Painting || Claire Harrigan

Coming after Laura Reiter’s excellent introduction to the techniques and working methods of abstract painting, this book takes the study on several further stages.

There is, or has been, a tendency to view the abstract as simply a few daubs that can mean pretty much anything the artist (and that word can become controversial in this context!) says it means. Taken to its extreme this might be true, if the dictionary definition of abstract as the essence of a subject drawn out and abstracted from it is taken to its logical conclusion. However, it is perfectly possible to keep one’s feet fairly firmly planted in reality and to maintain a recognisable representation of a subject while, at the same time, recording only those parts of it that seem most important to the painter.

Done in this way, abstraction becomes about seeing rather than being about technique. Indeed, Claire’s working methods, the way she applies paint and uses colour, are really no different to those of a more conventional style. The book even includes well written and well illustrated sections on structure and composition which have a relevance that go beyond the immediate topic.

All in all, this is a worthy addition to the growing canon of books on non-representational painting. Claire will show you how to see and visualise your subject just as much as how to capture that vision on paper or canvas. And, yes, she does also have a look at works where the original subject as all but been sublimated out of existence.

Batsford 2007


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