Abstract Painting & Drawing Myth Busted

Abstract Painting & Drawing Myth Busted

Some people think that you don’t have to know how to draw to be an abstract painter - of course you do! You should never use abstract painting as an excuse not to learn to draw. I have students who tell me that they can’t draw a stick figure, so instead of learning how to draw, they have decided to take up abstract painting.

Anyone who claims to be an artist should learn how to draw. Drawing is the foundation of all art making. Learning to draw should be the first step anyone takes if they wish to pursue any type of art making. Drawing is the basis of visual communication and existed prior to the development of language.

How can you paint a vase, a flower, a figure, a landscape or anything else if you cannot draw what you are trying to paint? Even if you determine that abstract painting is going to be your thing, why would you not want to learn how to draw shapes on your canvas, or make a value study to do pre-planning for the composition or know how to correctly divide the surface to create an interesting composition?

It should be mandatory that people complete a drawing class prior to ever picking up a paint brush. Painting, whether abstract painting or any other type of painting, cannot be separated from drawing. Drawing is foundational and fundamental, that is why it is the basis for all art making and visual communication.

When thinking about taking up any type of art making, think about this progression of learning:

  1. Begin with drawing classes. Learn how to draw still life compositions and the figure, at minimum. A class in perspective drawing, for drawing buildings, is also very helpful.

  2. Once you feel competent in drawing then move on to a beginning painting class in oil, watercolor or acrylic. Make sure it’s a beginner’s class so that you will learn the fundamental concepts of the medium and how to design a painting composition. At this point, design fundamentals are critical.

  3. Once you feel confident moving forward as a painter, then take some intermediate courses that teach you more in depth lessons about the medium you are working in or the subject matter that you wish to pursue.

  4. Once you feel competent and have a few hundred paintings under your belt, then if you’re interested, sign up for an abstract painting course.

This may be an idealized version of learning art, but at least it provides a framework for moving forward. You’re building solid foundation skills at each step in the progression rather than starting somewhere in the middle without the foundational information.

I hope this information was helpful for you.

If you'd like to learn about abstract painting, then please join me for a painting workshop: (You can view a list of 2019 workshops HERE)

  • April 24-26, 2019 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. For information and registration. FULL-Waiting List

  • May 10-12, 2019 New Braunfels Art Center, New Braunfels, TX. For information and registration Click Here.

  • May 16-18, 2019 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. Mentorship Workshop. For information and registration Click Here.

  • June 12-14, 2019 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. For information and registration Click Here.

  • June 20-22 Floyd Art Center, Floyd, VA. For information and registration Click Here.

  • July 10-12 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. Mentorship Workshop. For information and registration Click Here.

As always, thanks for your support!


P.S. If you you'd like to learn more about Abstract Painting in the comfort of your home or studio, I have a great course called Abstract Painting Academy available for you:

Abstract Painting Academy is the next best thing to a live workshop event. You can find out more by Clicking Here.


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