The Border of Abstraction – Where is it?

i have followed the career of Andrew Piedilato for several years. today i’m going to discuss a few of his paintings, and talk about his development over that time period.

this kind of analysis is what we often do in our Focus On Abstraction weekly seminars. Check us out! well worth the small monthly subscription fee.

i have found work by Piedilato that pre-dates the years i will talk about today, but i’m not covering that early work here. but i will say that it is very much in line with the developments he has pursued since then.

this kind of analysis is what we often do in our Focus On Abstraction weekly seminars. Check us out! well worth the small monthly subscription fee.

i have found work by Piedilato that pre-dates the years i will talk about today, but i’m not covering that early work here. but i will say that it is very much in line with the developments he has pursued since then.

the earliest two works are from 2010. the piece, “Hummingbird” depicts in somewhat realistic terms a sinking boat. the horizon of the purple sky is uneven, making the viewer feel the waves of the water. the water itself, painted with varying levels of transparency over a dark background, gives a great feeling of depth and distance. the bottom of the painting, this overlay is slightly translucent, but as that paint migrates up the canvas, it becomes more and more opaque, which an additional depth element. the “subject” is simple to understand. a sinking boat. with shattered pieces floating here and there. but the strikingly great thing is the red bow/prow, rising up just above the horizon, and touching the violet sky. topped by a worn yellow pirate ship bowsprit: a nostalgic? threatening? reference, but either way, adding a bit more emotional depth.

the second painting from 2010 is “Ice Boat II”. here the color palette goes sweet, with the exception of the mustard yellow, with an even more sour subject. another shipwreck, with fragmented broken planks creating a carefully carefree geometric abstraction all on its own. a seemingly chaotic scene, with icebergs in the background, against a romantic peach sky. these discordant relationships – both compositionally, and emotionally, do the reverse of what a Fragonard (of a similar palette) does. here we have chaos and death in (ironic) decorator hues. we sense a deeper message. something that is hard to convey with a completely abstract painting. although a few painters (notably DeKooning) managed to do it. anguish. sorrow. an indifferent universe.

i will be critiquing two more Piedilato paintings in my Focus on Abstraction workshop – exclusively available on artistvenu. so sign up for my workshops (Abstraction Academy), participate in elevated discussions about abstract artwork, as well as your own work, in a safe artist-supportive and artist-supported environment.

hard edge, easy to like?

hard edge abstract painting is not a genre that everyone likes. but then again, people who like hard edge abstraction are less inclined to like abstraction that is “soft” (Mark Tobey, Richard Pousette-Dart, Morris Louis, etc), or somewhat referential (Richard Diebenkorn, Joan Mitchell, Ben Nicholson, etc). hard edge abstraction removes for the most part any indication of brushwork, and usually any reference to recognizable images. what it does provide is a varied experiences: strong composition (Ellsworth Kelley), hit-you-in-the-gut color (Peter Halley), extremely subtle color (late Ad Reinhardt), ascetic discipline (Bridget Riley)… and more. here are a few samples from a few of the hard edge abstractionists that i love!

materialCollage with Jay Zerbe

This is an online video lesson course in using various materials to create physical collages. The basic tools used are scissors and staples. Jay uses his own materials (torn-up paintings on paper, bits of drawings, and pieces of his own printed material. He shows how he constructs his collages, and relates how he is making his aesthetic decisions.

Hairy Who? he’s back!

when i finished my daily eCollage today, it took me back to the days (late 1960’s) when my work was very much influenced by the chicago Hairy Who? artist group. they were later renamed the Chicago Imagists. the original group consisted of Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Jim Falconer, Suellen Rocca and Karl Wirsum. to that group were added as imagists: Roger Brown, Ed Paschke, Christina Ramberg, Philip Hanson, Barbara Rossi, Ed Flood, Irving Petlin, Sarah Canright, Richard Wetzel, Ray Yoshida, Errol Ortiz, Ronald Markman and Lynn Duenow.

ronald markman was my advisor in graduate school at IU/Bloomington, but well before that i was an Imagist. it suited my angst.

i veered away increasingly to abstraction during the 1980’s, and am now what i call an abstract painter with real world references.

but today, my old Hairy Who? self reappeared. much more abstract, but nevertheless…

must be the zeitgeist.

eCollage And Beyond

This is an online screenshare course in using Photoshop to create “collages” in the digital realm. A variety of approaches and techniques are discussed in depth. Currently there are 8 lessons published, with more in the pipeline.

A Daily Art Practice

When I was a kid, the mantra to “eat an apple a day, keep the doctor away” I must have heard hundreds of times! And I believed it!

As silly as that might seem now, it did make some sense nutritionally. After all, apples are a healthy and tasty snack! (Especially with a bit of peanut butter applied to each slice, or a bit of cheddar cheese!)

These days my mantra is, no matter what mood I’m in, making some art helps me to feel better. Even if it is just making a few quick sketches in my Moleskin notebook. I take the easy route and use some easily transportable tools. I keep the notebook and the drawing tools in a zip lock bag. A grab and go solution, for a few pleasurable minutes, or an hour, sitting outside, looking at plants, and doing loose drawings.

Later I scan those drawings, or capture them with my phone, to use in my computer-based eCollages.

My favorite tools are: Pentel Graphgear 1000 Drafting Pencil, Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen, Copic Gasenfude Brush Tip Pen, and the Pentel Art Brush Pen. No need to carry a bottle of ink around – it’s already inside the pen!

A little art every day helps keep the loneliness away!