Abstract Art?

I'm often asked if I teach abstract art.

My answer is: "I only teach abstract art!".

All art is abstract. Even 'realistic' painting is an abstraction of reality. 'Abstract Art' is not a great term actually. A better one is "non-representational art".

This is usually the kind of thing people mean when they talk about 'abstract art':

A piece of "non-representational art".

A piece like this doesn't set out to tell an easily recognisable story. A piece like this > > > may < < < contain pleasing rhythms, textures, tones and hues. Or it may not. It's a pretty subjective game, discussing the merits of a piece like this.

Learning to see abstract patterns.
Learning to see abstract patterns.
In this case a Monet's Japanese Bridge 1899, No.2, at the texture mapping stage.

The more 'traditional' art of the impressionists contains all kinds of rhythms, textures, tones and hues, and it's all arranged to tell a story.

My interpretation of a piece of 'representational', or 'programmatic' art by Monet.

There is an obvious story here.

A guy reads a newspaper.

In a garden.

When acquiring skills we are much better off starting off with traditional, representational, programmatic art, and famous art! Then we have a very clear standard and context in which to work. We can easily judge our degree of success.

This is the way musicians have developed skill sets for centuries. They start off learning to tell simple and recognisable stories, like folk tunes. Then they move on to more structured pieces.

In art we are very lucky in that we can dive straight into more sophisticated repertoire pieces, if we have a good lesson plan and a fabulous teacher to guide us!