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  • Angela Tahara

Abstract or Realistic?!


What kind of artist will I be? That might be obvious, by the looks of my paintings that I am a realistic painter, but truthfully, I aspire to lean towards abstract. Let me explain my process.

When I first started to paint, and I think, many beginner artists are tempted into this, being an abstract artist is very tempting. This decision comes about because your skilled hands do not meet up to the expectations of what is in your head and heart, so the painting (or whatever medium) comes out looking ‘smooshy’. Or, worse yet, you don’t have direction when you start and then the piece goes rapidly elsewhere and sometimes you have happy accidents. So, being an optimist, you push paint around further and declare, “I am an abstract artist.” The problem with this is you are living a lie.

Great abstract artists are, in fact, very talented and disciplined. A good many of them have started out learning about the structures of their subject, like anatomy if human is the interest. They have put in endless hours and canvas after canvas of trial and error, just like any other realistic artist, and maybe even in realistic, in order to become amazing. A great abstract painting needs no explanation to the viewer.

Having put this forward, idealizing oneself as an abstract painter before learning the skills needed to understand your subject, whether it be, a thing, concept, colour, movement, or whatever is an erroneous concept. It is just being lazy. Your momma may tell you that you are wonderful but you should never be satisfied with this process within yourself.

I am certainly not anywhere to the realistic skill level of Mark Hobson or Robert Bateman, but I do find that I am now challenging myself to loosen the lines on purpose. I am at a phase now where I am getting interested experimenting with the lines of conventional human form. It is an intuitive process. I am confident enough in my talent that I am not having happy accidents. Everything I do is intentional and the paintings are not complete until I am internally satisfied.

So, if you are a beginner and are grappling with what kind of artist you are? The answer is simple. Paint what you see and paint it well. Paint because you love it. Soon you will discover what your style is as your work starts to have that special look, unique only to you. Next thing you know, without even thinking much about it, you will evolve in the direction you are meant to be. My best advice, is to always challenge yourself with every painting. Be joyful, be uncomfortable, learn and share.

Happy painting.

Angela Tahara


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