By Nicole Tinkham
When looking at a famous abstract painting do you ever think “I could do that”? If you’re wondering how something so simple can be considered a masterpiece, you’re not alone. Is it really as easy as we think or is there true artistic talent behind these works of art? Believe it or not, there’s science proving that there is in fact a difference between a painting done by a professional and random splatters on a canvas. Before trying to re-create a masterpiece hoping to make millions, pay attention to this blog and see what the experts have to say as well as what to look for in a professionally done piece.
A study done by two psychologists shows that statistically people CAN tell an abstract painting done by a professional artist vs a child, chimp, gorilla, elephant, or monkey. Which is surprising considering those monkeys aren’t half bad 🙂 In the study, 72 undergrads (40 psychology and 32 art majors) were asked to determine which painting (shown side by side) was done by an adult artist. Paintings were grouped together by similar attributes such as color and medium. Non-art majors chose the professional painting 65.5% of the time and art majors chose them 67.5% of the time. Researchers concluded, “ people can recognize that a work is good, but still not like it.”
What to look for in “good” abstract art
Just because this research tells us we can distinguish an abstract painting done by a professional vs a non-artist, that doesn’t mean it’s easier for us pick out certain paintings from others. Here’s how to tell good abstract art from bad.
This refers to the consistency within a painting as well as the consistency of an artist’s portfolio. If a portfolio is all over the place with a few stunning pieces mixed with low quality work, the artist is either still developing or doesn’t quite know what they’re doing. Same goes for within a single painting. The flow must be consistent from one side of the painting to the other with planned and precise strokes.
Colors that don’t mesh well together are a dead giveaway that the artist isn’t a professional unless of course it’s done deliberately in which case it has to be obvious.
Most of the time, good abstract art is compiled of layers. There’s typically and underpainting and these layers often create texture.
All great art has some sort of meaning behind it. Some type of emotion, whether positive or negative gets thrown onto the canvas. There’s thought and planning put into it. You’ll know when an abstract piece is done at random. It lacks personality.
As an artist completes more and more pieces, they grow and learn new techniques, which is evident in their work. In contrast to what you may think about abstract art, the techniques used in this style (by a professional) cannot be easily replicated.
Uncomfortable paint strokes will tell you right away that the artist is an amateur. Experienced artists are confident and produce every mark with intention. Paint splatters may look random but they’re put there for a reason.
There are so many different feelings toward abstract art. There are many people that simply don’t understand it, others that think they can replicate it, and of course the abstract artists themselves who put much more time and thought into it than many non-artists realize. Tell us, what do YOU think? Does this research and qualities of good abstract art change your mind about it?
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