Abstract Painting - Contrast is King

Abstract Painting - Contrast is King

In abstract painting (and all other painting) contrast is king. Contrast gives your work more interest. I've said this before: without contrast, your work is boring, and boredom leads to sleep. Contrast leads to interest, and interest leads to engagement by the viewer.

Contrast can take many forms: big vs. small; thick vs. thin; light vs. dark; intense vs. dull; color contrast; value contrast; edge contrast; size contrast; shape contrast. Contrast helps your work be more powerful, more visually appealing and helps it to pop off the wall.

Whenever I go to the opening of an art show, I begin my viewing from the entry. I survey the exhibit then, rather than following the herd to the first painting, I go toward the one that has the most presence - the piece that pops off the wall with contrast. I realize that the artist who created the piece has a firm grasp of using contrast to make the painting pop. For me, it makes the painting so much more interesting because the artist is playing opposites against each other.

I see too many paintings where all the shapes are the same size, the colors are close in value, the edge conditions are all the same and there is no center of interest, no sense of dominance or hierarchy to let me know what is most important. Paintings like these provide me with no way to engage with them, no way to find interest in them. So, subsequently I walk past them to the paintings that I can engage with and find interest in.

If you want your paintings to be more engaging and pop off the wall, utilize contrast in your work. Remember, Contrast is King.

If you'd like to learn how to paint with more contrast, then please join me for a painting workshop: (You can view a list of 2018 workshops HERE)

  • June 25-27 Associated Artists of Southport, Southport, NC. To register contact Nancy Schulte: nancyschulte@me.com.
  • July 13-14 Art Alliance of Greensboro, Greensboro, NC. To register contact Liz Busch: artalliancegso@gmail.com.
  • July 27-29 Western Colorado Center for the Arts, Grand Junction, CO. To register contact Haley Van Camp: hvancamp@gjartcenter.org.
  • August 8-10 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. For information and registration Click Here.
  • August 23-25 Franciscan Life Process Center, Lowell, MI. For more information and registration Click Here.

As always, thanks so much for your support!


P.S. If you you'd like to learn how to create more contrast in your work, Design Fundamentals for the Artist is my online course:

Design Fundamentals for the Artist will provide you with a firm foundation on which to build all of your art making activities. For Information Click Here.

Price Reduced $50 through June!