The Art of Abstract Painting by Rolina van Vliet is an excellent guide for any painter who’s interested in moving in abstract directions.
It’s especially helpful if you’re stuck in realism and want to break out with more juicy, vivid or personal statements.
For me, this book’s interior illustrations are interesting but not inspiring. In fact, I like the cover illustration far better than what’s inside.
However, I rate this book highly because of the information and inspiring text inside.
For example: On Page 36, van Vliet explains how to move from reality to abstraction with your work. Her six suggestions take the artist from gentle, “Leave out details” to extreme, reducing the entire work to a few outlines and shapes, or even composing the work on your own.
Frankly, that’s brilliant. No matter how stuck I am in realism (or Tonalism or Impressionism), this list includes something that will move me out of my painting rut.
Generally, I don’t buy a book like this unless the interior photos are juicy and inspiring. This book is an exception. The illustrations show a wide range of approaches to abstract paintings. While few will be inspired by all of them, you’re likely to find at least one or two (or more) that you’ll look at and say, “Yes! That’s the kind of art I want to create!”
For anyone trying to wrap their brain around what makes abstract paintings abstract — and what makes them work — this book may be all you need to take your art from realism to abstract, almost effortlessly.
The Art of Abstract Painting offers over 160 pages of information, tips and inspiration.
I recommend it if you’ve been working with abstracts and haven’t a clue why they’re working for you (I’ve gone through phases like that) or if you’d like to expand your work into the field of abstracts.