Dani Humberstone has already given us a rather excellent introduction to abstract painting in Search Press’s How to Paint series and now she’s pulled off the rather more tricky task of transferring this to the Ready to Paint series with its pre-drawn tracings.
Abstraction is a way of telling your viewer how you feel about your subject rather than simply portraying it realistically. The whole idea is to provoke an emotional response by using colours and shapes that recreate what you saw rather than what the viewer sees. It should, therefore, not be possible to produce a book that essentially allows you to copy another artist’s work – the objection is that you’re reproducing their view, not creating one of your own.
So far, so nitpicking. The thing about abstraction is that it requires a completely different technical approach. Shapes are not necessarily organic and colours don’t always blend into each other; it’s often the stark contrast and the hard, even jarring, edges that make the point. All this is technical stuff and this is what Dani has been teaching in both her books. We already know that the Ready to Paint approach works superbly for other subjects, so it comes as both a shock and yet no surprise that it works for abstracts too.
No, this book won’t tell you about the intellectual approach to abstraction, but it will help you with the methods of getting paint onto paper and, if you’re full of ideas but not sure how to get them down, rush out and buy this now so that it can come to your rescue. It also helps that the paintings featured are genuinely abstract and really rather good. I think Dani has an altogether bigger and more advanced book in her that could be quite exciting.