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An Analysis of the Elements that Make the Best Abstract Acrylic Paintings in India

An Analysis of the Elements that Make the Best Abstract Acrylic Paintings in India

Abstract paintings are paintings that do not have any recognizable forms in them. Abstract art emerged in the 19th century due to the aspirations of the artists to create works that were not dependent on any visual references in reality. The name of this genre was chosen to mark the desire of first painters to free their works from the restrictions of reality. A majority of the twentieth century’s most iconic and famous works were created by artists who sought and found new ways of producing art. Art during this time embodied the numerous changes that occurred in the society. Artists used abstract art to symbolically present subjects and concepts like depression, war and food shortage. Abstract art opposed traditional representational art as the artists believed in a reality that was beyond what could be seen with the eyes. Artists of this movement aimed to create work that bore no resemblance with the real world. This style represents the artist’s thoughts and emotions when creating the artwork. Abstract art can lead to intense emotional responses from the viewers. Modern abstract art during this period explored the thoughts and emotions that arise from being human.

What makes for an excellent abstract painting?

There is something that “best” abstract paintings have in common- they all have honesty and earnest determination. Good abstract art is trying to say or do something. There is an intent working behind the scenes that the artist employs to reach the viewers. Abstract art that has gone through a creative process will have an undertone of abstraction. It’s like having the plot of a story or a book. The characters undergo changes and with every new twist there is a development in the characters and the plot. Similarly, the elements and forms in abstract art go through changes with the changing thought process of the artists and they produce a series of works. So, the process is an important factor when deciding if a work is good or not.

Elements that make the best abstract acrylic paintings in India

Colors -

Colour is the aspect of any object that may be described in terms of hue, lightness and saturation. It is the property that an object has of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way it reflects or emits light.

Texture -

Texture is the surface quality of a work of art. In nature we find innumerous textures. Some we can feel with our bare skin, others we can only see. (visual texture on apple skin) Texture is distinguished by its perceived visual and physical qualities. Use of texture along with other elements of design can convey messages and emotions.

Contrast -

In abstract art, artists use a number of contrasts to create interest in the work. Sometimes these contrasts are of size, scale, colour or other physical properties. Sometimes contrasting ideas are kept side by side to create something unique.

Values -

On the grayscale, you will notice the color gray with white and black at each opposite end. These are the different gradations from darkest to lightest or lightest to darkest. Value is also affected when a color has been mixed with white which is called a “tint”, and black which is called a “shade”. On the grayscale, the lightest, or whitest, tints are termed “high-key” color ranges and the darkest, or black, are termed “low-key” color ranges. The grays in between are termed “mid-range” or “middle-key”.

line -

The Visual Element of Line is the understructure of all drawing. It is the first and most malleable of the visual elements. Line in an artwork can be used in many different ways. It can be used to suggest shape, pattern, form, structure, growth, depth, distance, rhythm, movement and a range of emotions. Curved lines suggest comfort and ease. Horizontal lines suggest distance and calm. Vertical lines suggest height and strength. Jagged and spiky lines suggest turmoil and anxiety. The way an artist draws a line can project different expressive qualities: Freehand lines can express the personal energy and mood of the artist. Mechanical lines can express a rigid control. Continuous lines can lead the eye in certain directions. Broken lines can express the evanescent or the fragile, unstable. Thick lines can express strength. Thin lines can express delicacy

Shape -

Understanding that shape is an element of art and how it works together with the other art principles provides a broader contextual framework around what it is. However, let us look more closely at the question of what shape in art is, which includes the main types of shapes to be aware of too. Shape in art can be better comprehended when compared with its counterpart, which is form, one of the other art elements. Shape is based on two dimensions, namely, it has width and length. Form is three-dimensional, namely, it has a width, length, and height. Shapes are flat in appearance due to their two-dimensionality, and they are usually described as “enclosed” lines. For example, a square is made of four lines and a circle is an enclosed curved line, and so forth. There are also a variety of shapes that can become forms if they are created as three-dimensional, which can be done by adding other art elements like color or value to create shading or tones to give the idea of three-dimensions. The more common shapes include circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles, which are shapes we all know and see daily. When these shapes are created as three-dimensional, they will become spheres, cubes, cuboids, or cones.

Composition -

The term composition means "putting together". It can be thought of as the organisation of the elements of art according to the principles of art. Composition can apply to any work of art, from music through writing and into photography, that is arranged using conscious thought. In the visual arts, composition is often used interchangeably with various terms such as design, form, visual ordering, or formal structure, depending on the context.

Subject matter -

With abstract art, your subject matter is what you see. This includes the shapes, colors, lines, and other elements. Abstract art is meant to be subjective, which leaves the space for interpretation. One has to do more of one's soul searching to determine the subject matter of abstract art than one might with something more clear cut, like a portrait.

Mediums used for painting -

If history links acrylics and abstraction, there are also countless astounding examples of abstract works in other mediums. From the richness of oils to the fluidity of watercolour to the sensual colour of pastels, abstract art can emphasize every medium’s best characteristics.

Frequently asked questions about abstract art

What elements are used in abstract art?

There are certain key elements that make an abstract painting the amazing form that it is. Abstract art should definitely have these elements-

  • Colors
  • Texture
  • Contrast
  • Values
  • Line
  • Shape
  • Composition
  • Subject matter
  • Medium of painting

What are 3 characteristics of abstract art?

“Abstraction allows man to see with his mind what he cannot see physically with his eyes… ” — Arshile Gorky Some of the characteristics of abstract art are:-
1. Subjective reality- Abstract art depicts subjective reality of the artist like ideas, imagination and emotions.
2. Free expression- Abstract art very often breaks the rules of its time. Artists achieve unconstrained freedom of expression by breaking the rules and stretching their imagination further..
3. Minimalism- The concept of minimalism is to strip everything down to its essential quality and achieve simplicity. Minimalism is art that reduces elements such as form and colour to their most basic form. MInimalism is often used as an element of commercial interior decoration. Minimalism in art is always abstract. However, abstract art isn’t always minimalist. Abstract art can be exceptionally complex and is far more divergent than minimalism.

Abstract Figurative paintings

Figurative art gained a bit of a different meaning around the time Abstract art became more prominent as an international style.

In this sense, it distinguishes works of art that are completely abstract, for example, the abstract Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) (1950) by Jackson Pollock, from artworks that are more representational, such as Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) by Pablo Picasso.

Picasso’s painting represents more of reality as we can see the shapes of figures and understand the subject matter, however, Pollock’s painting does not represent any shape or form we can understand and connect to reality.

These points pose the following questions. 

  1. Is all representational art Figurative art?
  2. Is Figurative art also Realism? 
  3. Can an abstract work, like the above-mentioned Pollock, still “represent” an idea or emotion even if it is not in the likeness of a real figure or object that we can recognize as such, in which case would this be a type of figurative abstract art?

Abstract art seemingly gives Figurative art its definition and vice versa.

For a better understanding of Figurative art, it has been suggested to think of it in terms of a spectrum where “pure abstraction” is at one end and “ultra-realism” is at the other end. As we move along this spectrum abstract becomes more figurative, in other words, it develops into forms we know, understand and recognize.

Abstract Landscape Paintings

Abstract landscape paintings are both abstracts and landscapes. This method of painting involves a lot of creative expression either by modifying scenery that exists in real life or by creating an imagined setting. Abstraction in landscapes can be done without any symbolic significance. It can depict an idea and express the artists’ inner emotions and feelings. Abstract landscape paintings are done deliberately different from what exists in real life and thus are very interesting for both the artist and viewer.
The artist takes the freedom to use an unrealistic color palette, exaggerate forms that express anything they are feeling. Abstract landscape paintings can offer the viewer another way of seeing the natural environment that allows them to go deeper into understanding an emotion- something that the artist felt while painting the abstract landscape. Some artists abstract the landscape by breaking it down into simple colors and shapes. This minimalist approach gives greater yield to expression of the emotions. An example of this can be Jehangir Sabawala, Richard Diebenkorn amongst others.
Artist Prashant Prabhu from India has his own visual language which he calls ‘minimalist realism’ as he walks a fine line between minimalist abstraction on one side and realism of landscape on the other. His dreamy mystical views are based on his experiences from travels all around. Prashant Prabhu paints large bold works in a limited colour palette that changes for every work. Even though he is proficient in architectural and urban views, painting mystical expansive scenic landscapes comes easily to him. His colours are vibrant and few. His mountains and river valleys are as spiritual as his temples and monasteries. He leaves large parts of his paper untouched which makes his bold washes stand out in his paintings. Even though his paintings are imaginary they are rooted in the real world of ours.

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