Abstract Experiments

Abstract Experiments - student project

I have been wanting to explore abstracts for awhile and Kate Cooke is the perfect Guide into that world for me. I’m able to combine the things that have been exciting me lately: shapes, patterns and mark making…add in mixed media and layering and I’m all in! 

First I got out a bunch of things to experiment with and made a bunch of marks. (Now I have a Mark Making sketchbook which I will use as a library like Kate suggested.) A few examples:

Abstract Experiments - image 1 - student projectAbstract Experiments - image 2 - student projectAbstract Experiments - image 3 - student project

Watercolor experiments:

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Acrylic Experiments:Abstract Experiments - image 6 - student projectthis is where I got caught up in a pattern…for absolutely no reason!

Experiments with all Layers.

Abstract Experiments - image 7 - student projectI’m seeing things I hope to remember when I do the projects…I see I forgot dabbing and smearing with a paper towel…but I did use a toilet paper roll.

Here are the two I did today. I’m not really happy with either, one is too busy and the other I may have chickened out on. I wanted to do so many things but my brain wasn’t fast enough! There were things I liked in my experiments that didn’t transfer over as well as I hoped. Also, I think I’m getting tired of these colors.Abstract Experiments - image 8 - student project


Abstract Experiments - image 9 - student projectI kinda like the flying tomato…

This one I’d like to share where I got stuck and had to sleep on it. The two red pieces at the top looked way cooler before the black ink completely took over the red. But I did like the red squiggles it caused so I can’t be upset with it getting out of my control and creating a happy accident!

Abstract Experiments - image 10 - student project 
After resting my brain and having renewed energy I added and added, trying not to go to far (I didn’t even get to break out the acrylics, the ink and Caran d’ache was enough.) These we’re my choices:

Abstract Experiments - image 11 - student project

Now I think I can move on to the last project and can’t wait for a very different palette. 


Abstract Experiments - image 12 - student projectSo many things were a challenge in this! The huge black shape for the duck kept getting bigger and bigger. The wax underneath really didn’t work for some reason. The black also traveled into some of the red coral. The salt in the red coral created ALOT of texture. The snail kinda had an uncontrolled bleach blob (I was thinking highlight at the time.) The birds went in simply and watery, I kinda like that so I left them alone. (I think using the comb is my favorite tool.) I think it’s better to see the abstract before seeing my inspiration pieces…maybe it’s me but I see them very distinctly and kept trying to adjust it. Thank goodness for Dr. Ph Martin’s Bleed Proof White, it went over the black well and then I was able to put a color on top of it once it dried, like in the ochre line attaching the snail to the bottom of the painting. Loved the color palette! I always like a Black, White, Bright Red and an airy Blue combo but the golden yellow is a great addition.

Abstract Experiments - image 13 - student projectThese are my objects: an iron duck head, a brass snail, a ceramic bird cluster and a piece of red coral.

Kate, thanks so much, this has been a challenging blast! I definitely have a lot of take-aways in my Artsenal now!