Abstract art consists of imagery that does not depict something from the real world. Abstract oil paintings are full of color, shapes, and designs that do not necessarily look like anything at all. However, abstract paintings can be representative of a real world object, but the object will be distorted in some way. The main point of an abstract oil painting is to use formal quality as a way to override the representational art form. There are many abstract oil paintings that may look like they are quite simple to create. However, there is a lot of work that goes into creating a great abstract oil painting.
Examples of Abstract Oil Paintings
- 'Freedom from a Window' (2008): This abstract oil painting was created by George Karafotlas. With the use of oils, the artist depicts dark colors with the simple shape of a square.
- 'Abstract Composition 05' (2009): Vladimir Titov's 'Abstract Composition 05' offers a blend of dark colors including grey, black, green, and browns. The shapes in the abstract oil painting are stark and contrasting.
- 'Sunset' (2012): This stark oil painting depicts Ioan Popei's version of a beautiful sunset. The dark bottom of the painting bleeds into the bright yellows, oranges, and reds.
- 'Starry Night' (1889): this painting is perhaps one of the most famous abstract oil paintings in the world. Created by artist Vincent Van Gogh during the post-impressionism era, the painting is his interpretation of Saint Remy village. The original can be seen at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
- 'The Kiss' (1907): Created by Gustav Klimt in 1907, 'The Kiss' is considered to be one of the most famous abstract oil paintings to date. The painting depicts a man and a woman seemingly kissing. Klimt uses different patterns and shapes throughout the piece to create a truly wonderful piece of art.
- 'The Dream' (1932): This is one of the most famous cubist paintings created by Pablo Picasso. The painting was sold to a private collector and is part of his/her private art collection. It is said that the painting was created in just one afternoon and is a depiction of Picasso's mistress.
- 'The Scream' (1893): This is perhaps the most famous and most often reproduced and used abstract oil painting ever. The artist, Edvard Munch created the composition between the years 1893 and 1910. There are actually four versions of the composition using paint and pastels.
Oil Painting Explained
Almost every famous or popular painting is an oil painting. Oil paint has been around since the fifth century, as it was used by Chinese and Indian painters to create Buddhist paintings in Afghanistan. However, oil paint didn't become popular until the 15th century, when its fame started to spread west. This is because more and more artists discovered the benefits of using oil paints to create their artwork.
Pigments are used to form multiple colors for the painter, while a water solution helps to spread it. Besides oils, the other common liquid used to carry the color is water, which isn't nearly as versatile as oil paint. In order to spread and apply the colors you will need some kind of liquid substance, if an artist chooses oil painting they will have many dry oil options to choose from. The most popular types of drying oils are poppy seed oil, safflower oil, linseed oil, and walnut oil. Every type of oil is unique, so abstract paintings are often the product of multiple oils.
In recent times, traditional oils have been replaced by water miscible oil paint, as it dries much quicker. Traditional oil paintings would take up to three weeks to dry, whereas the water miscible oil paints will dry anywhere from one to three days. Regardless, oil paint is preferred over water painting due to the fact that oils can be used to create texture effects and different shades of color.
When oil painting first became popular, many artists had to make their own paints by mixing the oil and pigments. Although this provided the artist with more control over the paint color, it also made the process of making art a very difficult process. Painting was usually limited to the studio, as it wasn't realistic for painters to haul pigments and oils around with them. However, this all changed in the early 19th century when artists were able to purchase pre-mixed tubes of oil paints. Giving them the opportunity to paint anywhere they please, paving the way for more creative paintings as artists found inspiration wherever they went.
Oil Painting on a Canvas
The traditional canvas is created from linen and is much more expensive to make than the modern cotton canvas. Since the acid in oil paint can damage a canvas there are a few steps that must be taken before the painter can start creating their abstract art. First they have to apply a type of animal glue to the canvas to prevent the paint from harming the canvas. After that, the artist will begin to add multiple layers of white lead based paint to be used as a primer. They will then apply a few thick layers of acrylic to the canvas. Finally, they will sand down the acrylic layer and begin to paint.
Finally, now that the canvas is set up, the painter can start working on their soon-to-be masterpiece. They will usually create many layers of everything they sketch with the oil paint, and this is what makes oil painting so distinctive. Especially in regards to abstract art, where they will do a good deal of shading and manipulation. When the painting is finished they can begin the drying process. This can take months to dry, depending on what type of oils have been used to create the art. More modern oils can dry much faster and the drying process can be within a week. Regardless, the artist will want to protect his or her painting by applying varnish over it.
Non-naturalistic images such as triangles, circles, and squares possess their own unchanging beauty. Abstract art can be appreciated simply for the uses of color and lines alone. There is no reason for the art to depict a natural scene or object to create something of beauty. Abstract art can be seen as a visual interpretation of a piece of music as music can be appreciated for many reasons and abstract art can be appreciated without having to know what exactly the painting is of.