The Muses by H S Campoy: Abstract art – Styles and Techniques

Sometimes, well, I should say, most of the time, people ask me why I chose Abstract as my “language” while painting. I have a simple and a complex answer. The simple one is that I was touched by abstract when I bought a board game called Leilão de Art (Art Auction). Then, later, when I finally created enough courage to experiment on canvas, I found my inner voice through abstract movement. The abstract allows me to use different technics to touch my deepest feelings related to my most cared themes: women’s rights and the environment. Abstract art enables me to interpret these inner explosions of ideas and ideals. It’s liberating.

Let’s talk a little about various styles and techniques of abstract art. The techniques emphasise non-representational forms and ideas rather than depicting recognisable objects or figures. These are some of the methods commonly used in abstract painting:

  • Gestural/Action Painting: This technique uses spontaneous, energetic brushwork or other mark-making tools to create dynamic and expressive gestures on the canvas. Artists like Jackson Pollock are known for this style, where the physical act of painting becomes an integral part of the artwork.
  • Colour Field Painting: This technique focuses on large areas of solid colour that evoke emotional or sensory responses. Artists like Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman often used this technique, creating expansive canvases with flat, overlapping, or gradient fields of colour to create a contemplative experience for the viewer.
  • Collage: Collage combines materials such as paper, fabric, photographs, or found objects onto a two-dimensional surface. Artists like Henri Matisse and Kurt Schwitters utilised this technique to create abstract compositions with contrasting textures, patterns, and colours.
  • Pouring and Dripping: This technique involves running or dripping paint onto the canvas, allowing it to flow and spread freely. Artists like Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis were known for staining the canvas with thinned paint, creating luminous and ethereal effects.
  • Texturing: Artists often experiment with various materials to create texture on the canvas, such as sand, gels, impasto, or other substances. The texture adds depth and visual interest to the artwork, inviting tactile exploration and creating a unique surface quality.
  • Geometric Abstraction: This style focuses on geometric forms, shapes, and patterns. Artists like Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich explored using squares, rectangles, circles, and lines to create harmonious compositions and convey a sense of order and balance.
  • Optical/Op Art: Op art relies on optical illusions and visual effects to create the impression of movement, depth, or vibrations. Artists like Bridget Riley employ precise and repetitive patterns or contrasting colours to create mesmerising visual experiences that challenge perception.
  • Abstract Expressionism: This movement emerged mid-20th century and emphasised the artist’s expression and emotions. It encompasses various techniques mentioned earlier, but the overarching theme is exploring the artist’s inner world and the spontaneity of the creative process.

The techniques above are just a fraction of the possibilities within abstract art. Artists often combine and innovate methods to create their unique visual language, making abstract art a diverse and ever-evolving field. This possibility to innovate and create my own paths and technique made abstract art the medium to express myself.

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