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My First Lesson in Abstract Art

Updated on January 30, 2014

Art is Everywhere

I've always been fascinated by art-whether it be sculptural, abstract or a simple painting. It comes down to a simple fact. Art simply fascinates me. I see art everywhere-in every book and cranny-and all around me. The beauty of a single perfect rose. The melodic notes of a Mozart sonata. The majestic trees standing tall in a virgin forest. Look up and look down, to the right and left. If you look closely, art is everywhere.

My earliest drawings were done with my grandmother beside me. She was a painter so we used to sit together on the weekends creating art, me sketching away while my mother painted. I've always wanted to paint using other mediums such as acrylics, but it all seemed so complicated. From the plethora of different mediums to the variety of brushes, there were too many things to ponder.

One fine winter day, my wish came true. I finally got a chance to paint.

*All photos taken by myself unless otherwise noted.

What is Abstract Art?

Acrylic
Acrylic

I admit, I don't know much about art and can't tell you what's good and what's not. I only know what I like. It's like my experiences at museums. There are some that literally put me to sleep, while others will excite and entertain me for days. One such experience was my first visit to MOMA in New York, where I went in without expectations. I discovered that art was anything and everything you wanted it to be. Pop art excited me. Installation art intrigued me. Abstract paintings made me think. How could pieces in a museum do this to me? I ended up spending the entire day at MOMA and had the most enjoyable time.

I'm lucky to have a few good friends in the art world and one friend in particular, paints abstract art. The first time I laid my eyes on a few of his artwork, it invoked emotions in me, similar to my first MOMA experience. Browsing through his library of abstract paintings, I was hit by a whirlwind of emotions-anger and despair, sadness and loss, hope and passion. I was at a loss for words but I knew one thing. I was being taken on a journey through something beautiful.

*Photo : Lots of acrylic paint, paint tray, cardboard sheet and a random brush.

Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colours, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential.

— Wassily Kandinsky

Tools and Gifts for the Artist

Journeys To Abstraction: 100 Paintings and Their Secrets Revealed
Journeys To Abstraction: 100 Paintings and Their Secrets Revealed

58 artists take you on a journey through over 100 abstract paintings, sharing their ideas and inspirations along the way. A must-have for any artist interested in the abstract painting process.

 
Royal & Langnickel Acrylic Easel Art Set with Easy to Store Bag
Royal & Langnickel Acrylic Easel Art Set with Easy to Store Bag

This complete acrylic set comes with everything you need including 12 acrylic paint, 4 brushes, palette knife, palette, graphite pencil, an eraser, sharpener, 3 acrylic artist boards, a storage box, apron and storage bag. Makes the perfect gift for a anyone who's interested in creating their own art piece.

 
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint Tube 48-Piece Set
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint Tube 48-Piece Set

My artist friend always tells me how expensive acrylic paint can be and according to him, this set offers one of the best values around. The quality is amazingly high for a value price.

 

My Art Lesson Begins

Art Canvas
Art Canvas

One of my new year's resolutions for this year is to try something new, which gave me the perfect excuse to try my hand at creating a piece of abstract art. Now I've heard that many people, especially beginners like me, cringe in fear at the thought of creating something they may believe that they've created a work of art, only to be criticized by teachers, friends and other artists. But I wasn't going to let any of that nonsense get in the way. I was going to paint my first abstract painting and I was going to have a blast doing it. In all honesty, I couldn't wait to get started!

So I arrived with a bounce in my step and high expectations to the humble atelier of my artist friend, Vinn Wong, who kindly agreed to give me my first lesson. When I entered his room, I was excited to see that the table was already prepared with two small canvases while a shelf next to the table held enough tubes of acrylic paint to color a rainbow unicorn. As I was literally jumping up and down with excitement, my always calm and composed friend made me a cup of chamomile tea to calm me down.

*Photo : A pair of blank canvases with easels.

So How About You?

Have you ever painted abstract art?

See results

The Actual Experience of Creating Abstract

Shinichi painting
Shinichi painting

So the first step was to calm down. Ok-got it. He patiently told me to sit in front of my canvas as he started to explain the process. The instructions were very simple.

1. Use any brushes and colors you want

2.Pour the paint onto the cardboard to mix color or directly onto the canvas

3.Do whatever you want because it's all up to you.

I found myself patiently waiting for him to give me further instructions or perhaps a few warnings on the what to do or not to do-maybe some pointers only a seasoned artist could give me. Instead, I peered over finding Vinn caught up in his own future masterpiece humming to a random song that he probably just made up. That was my cue to get started so that I could finish something resembling art before the nightfall.

Trying to find some inspiration, I gazed out the window, shivering at the sight of the gloomy, winter sky. It was a cold day and, looking up at the grey sky, I thought to myself that it might even snow. It was that exact moment that I found my inspiration.

*Photo : Shinichi focused on creating a masterpiece.

My Art Class Comes to an End

abstract art
abstract art

Feeling inspired, I first painted the entire canvas white, the color of snow, winter and purity. After that first white layer, I found myself drawn to monotone hues if grey, off whites and blacks. I mixed and blended colors to try and create as many variations of these colors, stubbornly staying away from adding anything else. The wind was blowing outside and as I painted and layered, I imagined the cold gusts of wind traveling through the grey concrete jungle of the city.

Halfway through, I felt myself momentarily frustrated as my canvas looked flat, boring and utterly dead. My teacher encouraged me to keep going, saying this happens to everyone. So I kept painting, adding a thin wisp here and a thick blog there, trying to get somewhere, although I wasn't exactly sure where I was going.

After a little over an hour, something told me to stop. I looked at my canvas from all angles and I knew that I had finished. With abstract painting, it's hard to tell where the finish line is, but I instinctively knew that it was done. It wasn't great but I knew I did my best. I had come to the end of my journey.

*Photo : My finished abstract painting.

Vinn Wong's Art

Learn more about Vinn Wong and his artwork.

Abstract Art is like Free Form Dance

My first attempt at painting had been one of the most enjoyable things I've tried in years. I was completely engrossed in the activity that I had completely lost track of time. During this short period, I experienced feelings of excitement, hopelessness, frustration and finally a sense of satisfaction and completion. Creating something abstract was an invigorating experience because it literally forced me to create something out of nothing but a blank canvas. It was like dancing without a routine, with no specific choreography. You simply did and the experience was liberating.

My teacher looked over at my painting and proclaimed it satisfactory. His exact words were ,"It's good. Reminds me of my first attempts at painting", which translates to "it's really not that bad" at least to me. After my lesson, I carefully took my painting home. It is now proudly displayed on the shelf in my living room.

And my journey hasn't really ended because you see, I already have another painting session planned with my art teacher.

*Photo : Vinn Wong's Painting

After Reading This...

Would you be interested in painting something abstract?

See results

What do you think of abstract art? Does it fascinate you like it does for me? Or do you prefer other kinds of art? All comments are welcome and appreciated.

Thanks for Reading About My Experience with Abstract Art.

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    • profile image

      CalobrenaOmai 3 years ago

      Anything art that I can understand is a go for me. I've done a couple of abstract art as part of projects because I had a hard time finding examples to showcase that weren't bound by copyright/trademark clauses. Creating my own examples forced me to break out of my comfort zone to new things. I dabble in abstract and other forms of art from time to time when I can think of something to compile; I like to plan out things before work is started. Awesome lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 3 years ago from UK

      Interesting way to approach abstract art, far too many artists stilll find difficulty with abstratc images

    • Dave Lynch profile image

      David Edward Lynch 3 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      I like abstract art as well as other types of art. Thanks for what you share here.

    • Minoru10 profile image

      Michael Yoshinaka 3 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      I wouldn't mind trying one day. I really like your first abstract painting.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Colin323: I find abstract art to be like that. Most of my family don't see abstract art as "art" and I've always been the one they considered strange. LOL. Thanks so much for your comment and visit.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @TanoCalvenoa: This was my first time to paint as I usually like to draw more. I can't really say whether my art turned out good or not, but I had fun.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @ideadesigns: Thanks so much for visiting my lens.

    • smine27 profile image
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      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @ecogranny: Wow thank you Grace. That's so nice of you to say.

    • smine27 profile image
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      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Coleton LM: I did think it was sort of like poetry when I was painting. I would love to see some of your cartoons.

    • profile image

      Colin323 3 years ago

      The very first print I bought for my bedroom, over 50 years ago, was an abstract painted by - I'm not sure, as it was unsigned. My parents hated it, but I loved the ways the colours fused together. I still have it, and it is as attractive today to me as it was then.

    • chrisilouwho profile image

      chrisilouwho 3 years ago

      I feel inspired to try painting some abstract art. thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 3 years ago

      I love art, although I don't paint very often. I'm mostly a pencil artist. My grandfather has always been an incredible artist with oil paints, and I love to look at the pictures on my walls that were created by him. Painting is a wonderful art form.

    • profile image

      ideadesigns 3 years ago

      I like it. I do like monet, realism and other worship arts. Thanks for sharing your cup of tea!

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh yes, several abstract paintings have held my attention for long periods of time. I appreciate many forms of art, though I am relatively uneducated. One of my favorite college classes was Art History 101. Rapture! I love your first abstract. It invokes many feelings in me. Thank you for sharing your first art lesson with us. I look forward to seeing more.

    • Coleton LM profile image

      Coleton LM 3 years ago

      I'm a pretty awful painter, I lean more towards cartooning, but I've always appreciated Abstract Art. I think it's a lot like free verse poetry in a way, no real boundaries or constraints, just expression. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @RinchenChodron: Aww thanks for the kind words. Cheers!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 3 years ago

      Congrats on your new adventure. I think you are very talented! Enjoy.

    • smine27 profile image
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      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @PeacefulHeather: Aww thank you for the compliment.

    • smine27 profile image
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      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @tonyleather: Oh I sure did!

    • smine27 profile image
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      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @WriterJanis2: Aww thanks Janis. I can't wait to do it again.

    • smine27 profile image
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      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Corrinna-Johnson: Thank you so much.

    • smine27 profile image
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      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Diana Wenzel: Aww thanks so much. I would love to see your sumie art.

    • smine27 profile image
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      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @JessicaLVine LM: I used to love pop art. Now I'm more into abstract art than anything else.

    • VinnWong profile image

      VinnWong 3 years ago

      Painting with you was actually a fresh, artistically intimate and very enjoyable experience for me too Shinichi.

      Working with you had given me an extra dynamic in my work that I never saw in my previous works. I really, really can't wait to paint with you again. It is such a fun and therapeutic experience and seeing you paint something from start to finish really puts a smile on my face.

      I already can't wait to see what you will come up with next. :)

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @VinnWong: Thanks so much Vinn. Can't wait to do it again.

    • PeacefulHeather profile image

      PeacefulHeather 3 years ago

      I love the colors and movement in your first project. Thank you for sharing

    • profile image

      tonyleather 3 years ago

      I bet you had a really great time! I know I would have!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      I love how you described all of the emotions painting aroused in you. I hope you write about your next painting.

    • Corrinna-Johnson profile image

      Corrinna Johnson 3 years ago from BC, Canada

      I love abstract art! What a lovely piece you created!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      As you took me on this artistic journey, I felt your snow, your wind, your emotions. It reminded me of my first Japanese ink painting (Sumi-e) class. Mostly, I had to learn to get outside my head and let the ink, and the brush, and spirit take over. Reading your story here makes me want to get my ink, brushes, and rice paper out for an artistic meditation.

    • JessicaLVine LM profile image

      JessicaLVine LM 3 years ago

      I have always liked abstract art. More than any other kind. :)