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The Art of Abstract Painting: A Guide to Creativity and Free Expression Paperback – November 1, 2009


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The Art of Abstract Painting: A Guide to Creativity and Free Expression + Abstracts: 50 Inspirational Projects + Painting Abstracts: Ideas, Projects and Techniques
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Editorial Reviews

Review

I am a big fan of Rolina van Vliet's work and her books. This book is very similar to the one published by Search Press in 2008, but I do feel it is worth buying both. The book concentrates on creativity and self-expression and features many beautiful works of art by Rolina. It explains abstract painting methods in detail and will enable you to produce your own paintings. Short study exercises and professional tips provide a short-cut to creativity.-KarenPlatt.co.uk Rolina van Vliet has produced an excellent book on how to analyse the abstract method and ways to produce lively and effective abstract art. Many people feel that abstract art is simply unstructured and free flowing but Rolina shows that in fact there are some very in depth thought processes in its creation. Rolina begins by welcoming the reader to a world of free expression and says that by following this route ones artistic expressions will be given the scope they need to create spontaneous lively works that emanate from within oneself. This book has developed to show the artist how to familiarise themselves with abstract painting an easy to understand way and that will subsequently point the way to the great adventure of creating one's own expressive, original and creative works. Rolina describes this book as being an answer to some of the students questions such as what is abstract ?A" where do I begin ?A" The text in her book gives information about the background, goal and procedure of the abstract method, and how to use these to develop the focus of your own talents in these areas. These are accompanied by illustrations that clarify the content of the methods described. The text next to the illustrations gives extra information such as technique, composition and construction of the works. These help put into context the application of methods to the individual artworks. There are useful study exercises and tips for the student to work from to help focus on the bringing out the creativity from within. In most art books there are step by step demonstrations but in abstract art the focus is on bringing out the artwork form within the individual. Rolina's study tips help one begin the journey towards achieving this goal. The study tips are arranged as assignments but deliberately not in the form of step by step examples. Rolina says this type of procedure is a direct opposition of the abstract method, and that focus is own one's own efforts and talent and that the student must avoid copying to any extent at all. The illustrations accompanying the assignments are there purely to give impetus to one's own artistic aspirations. Rolina shows the student via this book how to practise artistic and expressive skills, something essential to the art of abstract painting. The emphasis is on bringing out expression from within oneself. When one paints reality the external information is there as a guide, whereas abstract comes completely from within oneself and we need to learn methods to make the appropriate choices of shape, colour, texture and composition. As there is a lack of external guidance we need to learn how to make these choices in order to form a pleasing artwork. The study tips are directed at helping us to achieve this, and to learn to direct our creative thinking into an artwork with focus, direction and restraint. This book is full of beautiful illustrations and excellent tips to enable us to compose thought provoking and evocative abstract paintings. It shows how we can use a variety of media in our journey and how to give rein, direction and control to our free thinking. It's a fascinating book for everybody, whether they are just starting in abstract, artists wishing to obtain more freedom in their works or simply people interested in learning more about abstract art. A fabulous and unusual treat.-JeannieZelos.com This is Rolina Van Vliet's second book and pretty much picks up where Painting Abstracts left off. The subtitle, A Guide to Creativity and Free Expression slightly begs a question, but emphasises that this is very much a series about the creative aspects of abstract painting rather than the practical matter of getting paint onto paper or canvas. This, it seems to me, is a very reasonable approach and it's unlikely that you're going to tackle the non-representational route if you're not reasonably comfortable with your materials. Indeed, it's probably not to be recommended at all. The matter of begging the question is simply, can you teach creativity? On balance, I'd have to give that a qualified yes. Abstraction is very much about ways of seeing and it's really not unreasonable to say that you can introduce the ideas of a different vision just as you can explain that, in a straightforward landscape, you need to decide which elements of the picture you're going to concentrate on, which are going to be just suggested and which you'll probably leave out altogether. In a word: composition. All painting could be said to be chiefly about shapes, colour and balance and the basic principle of abstraction is that this is all you give yourself to work with: the normal points of relativity, the recognisable forms, are removed so that the viewer can only work with what you give them. As such, they have to find your point of view and abandon their own and it's this, as much as anything else, that makes abstract art difficultA" and frequently uncomfortable. Working backwards from a wide variety of finished paintings, Rolina takes you through the techniques that are available, from visual cues to colour, texture and composition, giving a very practical approach to what is, well, an abstract subject.-Artbookreview.net Abstract painting is unlike any other kind, and needs a special approach. The subtitle of this primer is "A Guide To Creativity and Free Expression" and aims to get to the root of why you have chosen abstract over figurative painting, and what you want to get out of it. As someone who enjoys fabric painting I was interested in a book like this, which offers the scope to escape, through decorating my cloth with more abstract designs. This is not a book on fabric painting I hasten to add, but there is no reason why the ideas in here cannot be used in other media. It gets you thinking about what you want to achieve, and starts off by getting the reader to ask themselves various questions, a method that many books on other painting styles might do well to also start with! This is a book about searching for freedom, and encourages the reader to play with styles and techniques, continually asking yourself questions about what your painting represents and means to you. What do other people get out of looking at your work or other abstract paintings? What do certain shapes and forms imply? As with any other style of painting you need to learn something of color theory, also texture, balance, use of space, etc. To facilitate all this there are a number of exercises to try out, and all in all, I found it a stimulating way of working that was likely to come up with some pleasing work. If you are an artist of any level wanting to try out abstract painting this is a good place to start.-Myshelf.com This new guide bypasses step-by-step instructions, concentrating rather on the creative and aesthetic aspects of abstract painting. However, it's much more than just a catalogue of concepts and ideas and there are plenty of practical tips that will help you turn what you see in your mind's eye into a finished painting.-The Artist

About the Author

Rolina van Vliet is a painter and a teacher of abstract art at a variety of centers for artistic training. She regularly exhibits her work, which varies from abstract expressionism to lyrical abstract painting, and is the author of "Painting Abstracts."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 124 pages
  • Publisher: Search Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844484270
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844484270
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 0.5 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Hubies Brother on December 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A disappointment. Unlike her earlier book on abstract painting, this one dwells little, if at all, on the practical aspects of making a painting. Indeed, early in the book Ms. van Vliet says there are no how-to-do-it instructions because abstract art comes from within, and we must not be constrained. I don't know about the rest of the world, but I read these painting guides to learn how to paint. The author seems to have discounted her readers' motivation in buying her book. Instead of instruction, she gives us endless convoluted riffs about the more spiritual and philosophical aspects of abstract art. Many of the photographs of paintings are badly done: fuzzy or out of focus. And many of her works she chose for the book are hardly exhibition quality; a few are just plain awful. I know it's difficult to talk about technique in abstract art because there are essentially no rules: anything goes. But let me at least understand how YOU do it, Ms. van Vliet -- then I'll go on to chart my own path. I'm giving this book two stars because there a few worthwhile nuggets, though they are few and far between.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By truthseeker on January 31, 2010
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This is a well-written treatise on the validity, elements and process of abstract painting, but the style of the paintings within is a bit dated and unappealing, and even annoying. I do like the daily exercises, which I do with Caran d'Ache watercolor sticks in a watercolor sketchbook, but again, I do not like the images, which are all too much the same with what I consider little, if any, originality in composition or color. Just make a few scribbles on a piece of paper, and color them and this is what you get in the book. However, once I do the exercises, which do stimulate my own originality, I can then choose to do a painting on canvas of them, and in that regard, the book has been an impetus to my own work. The text is thoughtful and interesting and provides a sound basis for any abstractionist's artist statement. The merits of the book are in the text, not the images, which are redundant and boring.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By T. Carling on August 31, 2009
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If you like her last book, you'll like this one, too. It's pretty much the same material. And like the last one, I think this one's also handy to have around to dip into when times are dull. It's full of projects, so it's good for getting the juices flowing. Definitely belongs on an ideas shelf.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dan Dippery on December 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Ms. van Vliet puts you through your paces in a slow, very-deliberate fashion and takes you into many realms of abstract art.
This is a great "idea" text...and her directions are simple to follow. I include it among a select few books that I consider primers in moving into abstraction. Great images.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Smith on June 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
I found this book helpful, good ideas and doesn't waste a lot of time on all the same old introductory information. Certainly my favorite abstract idea generator book yet. The paintings have a depth and richness. Will certainly come back to this one as a resource and reference.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. rood on February 12, 2010
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This book, & Rolina van Vliet"s other publication, "Painting Abstracts", is loaded with information & exercises to spark new ideas & hone the artist's skills. Both books are written in a very down to earth, 'reader friendly' style, as if you were in the midst of a terrific workshop!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By foiegrina on January 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
Rolina Van vilet has done an amzing job in putting into words the process of learning to paint. She has managed to consisely list in great clarity all the points that can lead you into a route, passage or process. Every sentence needs to be digested in a good way which can give you clarity to what it means and how to get there. Do not speed read this book. My second read was phenomenal. I discovered more insights than the first esp at a time I am very confused about the process of learning painting. I attend classes in 2 studios but Rolina's text gave me more clarity than what my teachers says in class. The book allows me to pause, think and compare information provided, more than just a reference really. Her choice of words are so apt, and since I am one that strives on words for inspiration, there are so many phrases and text that not just make sense but inspires. In describing use of texture, she describes texture can "intensify sensual perception". Just this alone makes me want to create a painting out from those words. I read her book some time ago and felt the need to share with others how good it is and what a difference it will make to your learning curve. BUY AND READ IT!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nad on June 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
Buy this book first and then the other one buy the same author. I did the opposite and the other book is more advance.
These two books are the best in the market to learn to paint abstract.
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