Subtitled “100 contemporary paintings and their secrets revealed”, this isn’t so much a how-to as a why-to and therefore a welcome development in the growing literature on abstract painting.
Sue St John has assembled an impressive collection of works and artists, each of whom explains for themselves the processes behind their work. These can be methods, inspirations, philosophies or, indeed, anything else that might be relevant. Most don’t attempt to explain the work illustrated – and certainly not in any detail. Abstraction is as much a state of mind as a technical process and what the viewer sees is just as valid as what the artist saw, although a successful work should provide at least a small window into its creator’s mind, or state of mind.
If you’re looking for a manual on how to paint abstracts, this isn’t it. However, if you’re looking for an insight into the creative process, you’ve found it.