Abstract Art Painting Ideas

This abstraction was created from a photograph of a Mr. Lincoln rose growing in the author's front garden.
This abstraction was created from a photograph of a Mr. Lincoln rose growing in the author's front garden. | Source

What’s that supposed to be?

Abstract art is a difficult concept for many people to understand. Some people complain that abstract paintings aren’t realistic. They say they’ve read the placard on the wall next to a painting in a museum, and the subject mentioned in the painting’s title doesn’t appear in the painting. They don’t see the subject of the painting.

The subject mentioned in the painting’s title does appear in the painting, but not in a form that many viewers will recognize. There isn’t any rule or law which states that the subject of a painting must look like the object or scene or person in question.

The colors are there, the lines are there, as are the shapes and often the textures. The emotions the artist felt when viewing or thinking about the subject of the painting are there.

What is abstraction?

Abstraction—to abstract from something—means "to draw away from, to separate."

Let's say I go to my local farmers' market and buy 10 apples. If I separate the 10 from the apples, I have an abstract number, since it no longer means 10 particular objects.

What if I decide to paint a picture of the apples? When I look at them closely, I see that no two are alike. If I leave out any small details when executing my painting, I am abstracting a part of what I’m actually seeing. I’m taking something away from the apples. Even the most realistic painting of my apples will be an abstraction of sorts—it is impossible to paint the picture without leaving out something.

Abstraction goes into the creation of any work of art, whether the artist realizes it or not. The ancient Egyptians drew stick figures on their wall paintings, and the ancient Greeks painted geometric shapes on their pottery.

During the Renaissance, artists began using abstraction in a conscious and controlled way. They found that the shapes of nature were easier for the eye to see if they were broken down into simplified and regular geometric shapes.

The Start of the Abstract Movement

In the beginning of the 20th century, Paul Cézanne and Georges Seurat rediscovered the control of natural shapes, as painted by the Renaissance artists. They concluded that every shape in nature was based upon the sphere, the cone, and the cylinder. It was the work of Cézanne and Seurat that started the abstract movement in modern art.

A brilliant example of this is George Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

Georges Seurat painted "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" during the period 1884 to1886. This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less
Georges Seurat painted "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" during the period 1884 to1886. This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less | Source

How to Create Abstract Art

The easiest way to create abstract art is to start with a photograph. Take a digital photograph of something in nature—flowers, trees, a simple landscape or seascape—and upload it to your computer. Make a copy of the original; you’ll want it for reference purposes.

Using your favorite graphics program, change the image. Distort it, change the colors, change the texture, blur the edges.

Erase some of the picture. Add an image on another layer. Let part of the image show through the erased part of the original layer.

Another way to create abstract art is to use your favorite graphics or paint program. Relax, start applying color, transform the areas of color into shapes. Soon, a painting will emerge.

One of my good friends, Mohan Kumar, who publishes his work on HubPages using the pseudonym Docmo, is a talented artist as well as an excellent writer and photographer. Most of Mohan's Hubs are illustrated with his photographs, photo collages, paintings, and drawings.

Mohan created this painting especially for my article to illustrate how a blank canvas can be transformed into an abstract work of art.

Abstract
Abstract | Source

Art Preference

Do you prefer abstract art or realistic art?

See results without voting

More by this Author


Comments 40 comments

rcrumple profile image

rcrumple 4 years ago from Kentucky

Daisy -

I have to admit, I almost didn't come here. Abstract has never been a favorite of mine, mostly due to the idiots at the galleries acting like they see the world in one line of paint, and feel a five hour dissertation is mandatory. However, you've answered some questions, gave a great explanation, and stirred my interest. If you can do that, you've written a great article. Great Job!


Doc Sonic profile image

Doc Sonic 4 years ago from Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Daisy, This is a nice explanation of abstract art. I like how you explain that every painting, no matter how realistic, is an abstraction. It made me think of Magritte's "This is not a pipe". You always do a great job on your art-related hubs.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Rich (rcrumple),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting.

I stopped going to art galleries a number of years ago. I prefer viewing paintings in museums.

There are a number of very fine artists whose work falls into the broadly-defined abstract genre. I couldn't include examples of their work in my article since they died less than 100 years ago, and their paintings aren't in the public domain.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Glen (Doc Sonic),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting in yet another of my art history / museum Hubs. I appreciate your continued support of my work.

As you might recall, my major in college was Fine Arts, and I'm certified to teach all art subjects in Kindergarten through the 12th grade. One of the first things I learned in my art history classes was that every painting is an abstraction. It isn't an easy concept for some people to grasp. It took me a while to find a way to explain it in my article.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Daisy, I really enjoyed this hub because I learnt so much about abstract art. I studied it briefly at Uni but most of it went over my head. I am not a fan of abstract art but I have often wondered about what makes it abstract and where artists get ideas. In spite of myself, I quite liked a few of the paintings featured in your video.


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

Very interesting hub and good explanation. I like all kinds of art and it's always interesting to see how things are done.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

This was a great education in abstract art. You explained things so well that even I understood. I guess I had an idea but you clarified it for me. Nicely done.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Julie (Jools99),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting. I was glad I could find examples of abstract art on Wikimedia Commons to use in the video. Since artists such as Pablo Picasso have been dead less than 100 years, their work isn't in the public domain and couldn't be used.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Glimmer Twin Fan,

It's nice to "see" you again. I appreciate your viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting. Have you read my article about Impressionism and Expressionism? You might enjoy reading that Hub.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mary (tillsontitan),

Abstraction and abstract art isn't easy to explain to readers who haven't studied the genre in school. I'm glad that I succeeded. Thanks for your comment. I appreciate it


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Very interesting! I like the rose abstraction picture you used to illustrate your hub. Nicely done.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Cyndi (cclitgirl),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting. I've wanted to write an article about abstract art for quite a while, but the fact that most of the work by established artists wasn't in the public domain was holding me back. I searched on "abstract art" in Wikimedia Commons a few days ago and was pleasantly surprised to see that many people, including the families of young children, had uploaded images that I could use.

I'm glad you liked my rose abstraction. It began with a photograph of one of the roses in my front garden. I used a few Photoshop filters to manipulate the image. It's a lot of fun to use Photoshop to create digital paintings.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I've never had a desire to create abstract art, but lately it seems to be everywhere. I might just experiment with some of my photos as you describe. My Woman in Yellow is just begging for this kind of treatment! Thanks!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Lela (Austinstar),

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting. If you create a piece of abstract art, please post another comment.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

In order for art to be comprehensible, both artist and viewer have to be using the same visual language -- which is the case with non-abstract art. Abstract art can be difficult to comprehend unless you understand the language being used by the artist. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Aurelio (alocsin),

Thanks for viewing my video and commenting in my Hub. I appreciate your continued support of both my geography- and art-related articles.

I've been creating artwork...drawings, paintings, or digital art...since I was a year old. When I paint, my work falls into the Abstract Expressionist genre, showing the influence primarily of Paul Cézanne, Robert Motherwell, and Jackson Pollock. I've created and viewed abstract art for so long, in most cases I understand the language being used by the artist.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

Great video and hub. Your rose painting is awesome. After reading your hub, I too want to try my hand at this form of art.


snowdrops profile image

snowdrops 4 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

Amazing hub. the painting is indeed awesome!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Nithya (Vellur),

Thanks for viewing my video and commenting in another of my art-related Hubs. I appreciate your continued support of my work.

If you create an abstract painting, you're welcome to post a copy on my Facebook wall. Lela Cargill (Austinstar) has created two versions of an abstract painting and has posted them on my wall. Please have a look at them when you get a chance.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

snowdrops,

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for viewing my video and commenting in my article. I'm glad you like my digital painting of the rose.


Teresa Coppens profile image

Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Well explained article Daisy. I have a friend who paints using primarily water colors and produces primarily abstract paintings. It is often difficult for the uneducated eye to discern the meaning of such works of art but you have enlightened me with this hub. Great job Daisy.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Teresa,

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting. I'm glad my explanation of abstraction and abstract art was helpful.

One of my readers was so interested in what I wrote, she tried her hand at creating abstract art and posted two examples on my Facebook wall. What a great feeling that was, seeing my suggestions being implemented!


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California

A really astute observation in Doc Sonic's comment, in that;Magritte's "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" relates well to your offerings here. What a whimsical artist indeed.

My favorite string of words in your article has got to be, "There isn’t any rule or law which states that the subject of a painting must look like the object or scene or person in question." This is the perfect explanation for abstract art! As always, another high quality hub!

Nice work!

HubHugs~


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

India (K9keystrokes),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting. I appreciate your continued support of my work.

I'm glad you liked the string of words you quoted in your comment. It's something that floated into my head as I was writing my article. I quickly typed it, so I wouldn't forget it.

René Magritte painted in what is one of my least favorite styles of art. He was a surrealist, not an abstractionist or abstract expressionist.

I understand abstract art quite well, but I've never understood surrealism, which is more of a philosopshical movement than a school of painting. Surrealist paintings feature unexpected placement of objects and the element of surprise. This is very different from abstractionism.

When Magritte wrote "Ceci n'est pas une pipe," he meant that his painting wasn't a pipe, that it was an image of a pipe. This isn't the same as abstractionism.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Great hub post and I learned what abstract art meant, after all these years. Your explanation was really well done. I could visualize the concept to understand the meaning. The video post held some really interesting abstract art.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Dianna (teaches12345),

Thanks for viewing my video and reading my article. I am humbled that a teacher such as yourself should have such very kind words to say about my explanantion of abstract art.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

Lovely hub about abstract art. I loved the selection of art you chose for the video slide show. While more realistic paintings might have wider appeal, I think that abstracts let us focus more on the colors and shapes and bring forth deeper emotional response. Now I want to create an abstract! :) Voted up and Tweeted!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Stephanie,

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, commenting, and tweeting.

You take such wonderful photographs. If you have a graphics program on your computer, I'll bet you could create a beautiful piece of abstract art using one of your photos.

If you do create a piece of abstract art, please post it on my Facebook wall.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

A nice introduction to abstract art, Daisy. I have created soem abstract works both in pastel and digitally. I did a New York skyline where the building shapes were obscured by mist and just the lights from the windows remained. I like the way you've described abstract art and the awesome video. Well done- voted up!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Mohan (Docmo),

Thanks for viewing my video, reading my article, and commenting. As always, I appreciate your continued support of my writing.

Most of the paintings I executed while studying Fine Arts in college were either abstract or abstract expressionistic. I always felt the most like *me* when I painted in these genres.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California

You always make the best videos! Love this! The ending image of the flower (your art) is very beautiful!

HubHugs~


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

India (K9keystrokes),

Thanks for visiting again...viewing my video. reading my article, and adding another comment.

I'm glad you liked the music. It's the a cappella group Straight No Chaser singing "Africa."


carlarmes profile image

carlarmes 4 years ago from Bournemouth, England

Glad to find your hub, I have only recently started studying abstract art seriously, partly by mistake, I was researching something for my business and needed to understand abstract art more deeply for the sake of a client who required feedback on a project, needs must. Anyway i found it therapeutic and am now fixed on the subject as a way of keeping my sanity in a mad bad world.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Carl,

It's nice to "see" you again. Thanks for reading my article, viewing my video, and commenting. No matter the genre or school of art, I think painting is a therapeutic, relaxing exercise.


ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 3 years ago from Chennai, India

A detailed hub with an amazing video, eloquent explaination and beautiful imagery done by you & Mohan. I admire art in any form. Well-done!

P.S. I seek your permission to grant me the honor of linking your hub to my old hub. Thank you

Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up & shared


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Ish (ishwaryaa22),

Thanks for reading my article and posting your comment. I appreciate your very kind words about the art which both Mohan and I created for this Hub. Thanks, too, for sharing my Hub.

Thank you for asking...Please link your Hub to mine, and tell me which Hub it is, so I can reciprocate.


ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 3 years ago from Chennai, India

Thank you so much for letting me link your hub to my hub. I beg your pardon for not mentioning the title of my hub as it is one of my old hubs. This hub is titled 'Hang your own handmade paintings, drawings or collages on your home walls'


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 3 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

Ish (ishwaryaa22),

Thanks for visiting again. Thanks, too, for linking your Hub to my article. I'll be very happy to link to your Hub, too.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Hi Daisy, this is an interesting article describing abstract art. A lot of it is not my cup of tea, but there are a few very good abstract pieces. I love the rose painting at the start of the article.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 2 years ago from Orange County (Southern California) Author

John (Jodah),

Thanks for reading my article and commenting in it. The rose is one of my photographs which I manipulated in Photoshop. I'm glad you like it.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Daisy Mariposa profile image

    Daisy Mariposa743 Followers
    113 Articles

    Daisy Mariposa has a B.A. in Fine Arts from Montclair State University and certification to teach all art subjects in K-12.



    Click to Rate This Article
    working