Abstraction, including abstract portraiture, is the artist subjective reaction to the world. It is personal reflection and interpretation of the subject, when the artist achieves a level of expressive and informative depiction of it. Abstract art does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality, but instead use lines, shapes, colors, etc. to achieve its effect.
Example: Picasso's (and influenced by Picasso) Cubism Portraits
Create an abstract portrait of your partner, colored with acrylic paints.
The goal of this assignment is NOT to create a literal depiction of the model (your partner), but rather represent your perception of him/her using the expressive qualities of art elements: lines, shapes, values and colors. It should NOT be realistic, on the contrary, avoid a purely objective or representational approach. Depending on your style, the shapes and color choice, the application of the paint, incorporation of various symbols, patterns, etc., the relationship between your portrait and its model could be fairly abstract
For example, Picasso would distort the human form to the mere play of color and surfaces to achieve his perception of the model: Picasso's cubism portrait
Note: the portrait usually includes head, neck and shoulder, with enough space around and various background techniques. But it is your work, so use your own creative methods.
How to work together:
1. Speak with your partner and mutually describe yourself. The portrait will reflect your partner’s own identity plus your personal viewpoints.
(Because you are not going to be together all the time, send your partner a photo of yourself)
2. Do a brainstorm: use adjectives from your partner’s self-description plus your perception of him/her personality (easygoing, energetic, bold, modest, shy, soft, charming, kind, serious, funny, and many more); choose 5-6 adjectives, then write down what lines, shapes, colors, etc. could be applied to those adjectives.
3. Make several big sketches (roughs) with pencil in your sketchpad
It can be face front view, ¾ or profile, or all together (it is abstract, after all)
4. Choose one, draw it on the Bristol paper, and paint it.
Keep working with your partner, asking for guidance and feedback to the end of the project.
There are different techniques and styles working with abstract art. You can use variety of options, but here are some guideless for this particular assignment:
1. Do not make a very complicated painting with multiple details (we don’t have time for a long project)
2. Let the art elements - different expressions of lines, shapes, colors, etc., guide and help you to by responding to the emotions they bring out in you to depict the personality of your model.
- Lines can have different width (weight), length, direction (horizontal, vertical, diagonal, curving, parallel, radial, zigzag, etc)
- Shapes can be geometric, organic, positive, negative, static (that appear stable and resting), dynamic (that appear to be moving and active).
- Colors have to work well together (apply color theory). Sometimes there can be exceptions when it’s done deliberately, in which case it has to be obvious.
Do not apply many different colors, really think through your color palette. Choose only a few colors to use in your piece and be creative. Mix colors instead of using them straight from the tubes.
- Value contrast and scale are essential for identifying object, it adds boldness and visual interest.
- Texture and pattern: illusion of texture can be created with paint. Pattern is easily created from geometrical or organic shapes, or lines, or dots. Keep your texture consistent. Don’t go overboard and try to do too many different things in one painting.
3. Be confident and produce every mark with intention.
4. Background is a must
5. Keep consistency within a painting
Do not become frustrated if your painting doesn’t come out the way you wanted it right away. You can paint over some parts with white acrylic paint, or just do it again, or try something different. It doesn’t have to (and probably won’t) be perfect the first time around. Pretty soon you will get it. No one said it would be easy, so stop being so hard on yourself!Examples (Pinterest sites have more examples lower):
Read carefully the project text; explore the images of abstract portrait, think about your partner, read her/his introduction on Open Lab, look at the photo, make some thumbnails in your sketchbook (for yourself) … basically, try to come with some ideas.
2. Roughs (OpenLab submission)
- Make several roughs with pencil in your sketchbook, concentrate on lines, shapes and composition.
- Speak with your partner, discussing and choosing one rough
- Redraw a chosen rough into the Bristol pad;
- Paint it Example
- Take a good photo of your work (or scan it)
- Upload your work on the OpenLab (I will put preliminary gradfe there)
- Write one paragraph about the portrait under the work:
How your choice of lines, shapes, colors etc. helped to express your specific interpretation of the personality of your partner? Why did you choose these particular art elements working on the portrait of your partner?
3. Comp (Dropbox submission)
After your peers and my comments (and critiques of technical implementations), improve/redo the portrait, take a good photo (or scan), and submit it into the dropbox for the FINAL grade