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Abstract expressionism is the name given to the art movement that occurred shortly after World War II. First developed in New York in the 1940s, abstract expressionism quickly became popular. In fact, it was one of the first American art movements to have an influence elsewhere in the world and it helped to place to New York City at the centre of the western art scene.
Artwork by Stephen Conroy
Abstract expressionist artists were originally based mainly in New York City, though over time this form of art has found a home in many other cities around the world.
Ideas Behind Abstract Expressionism
The term ‘abstract expressionism’ refers to the artists’ aim, which is to express a feeling or emotion through artwork. This grew from an idea that was originally surrealist in nature, which argued that art should come from the unconscious mind of inner thoughts and feelings rather than merely focusing on objects and people. This has led to abstract expressionist artwork generally being conceptual, unique and based upon a notion rather than specific objects.
Artwork by Carolynne Coulson
Abstract expressionism can be split into two main groups, action painters and colour field painters. Though there are differences between specific abstract expressionist artists themselves, these painting groups do have key elements in common which can be seen from piece to piece. Abstract expressionist action painters are known to use spontaneous motions, sweeping gestures and large brushes to create their art pieces. Some even choose to throw paint at a canvas or pour paint directly from the paint can. Action painters tend to lean towards painting with impulse in order to express an emotion. Colour field painters use large areas of one colour to convey their message and rather than sporadically using paints they make their choices carefully, basing them upon the feeling they want to create for the viewer.
Famous Abstract Expressionist Artists
There are a lot of different abstract expressionist artists and many have achieved international recognition for their work. Jackson Pollock is one of the most well-known abstract expressionists and he famously painted with a canvas on the floor, pouring paint and trailing a brush wherever he was emotionally drawn too. This resulted in some truly exceptional pieces of artworks, many of which are recognisable today even to those with very little interest in the art world.
Willem de Kooning is another artist who is often linked to the abstract expressionist art movement. Kooning, like Pollock, has received international acclaim for his work and his pieces are still considered some of the best of the twentieth century.
Investing in art is a very personal decision and one that calls for serious consideration in a number of areas. Some people choose to invest in art as they have a genuine interest in a specific artist and others choose to invest because they’re looking to make a profit.
Whatever your reasoning for building a collection, it’s important that you don’t rush in and invest in the first piece you come across. Though art investments may seem simple, it’s not always a straightforward case of buying artwork and selling it at a later date for a profit, there’s actually a lot to think about. Here are our top tips:
Consider the Artist’s Other Artworks
As with all types of investment, not all pieces of art are good investments. Take the time to research the artist, their life and the artwork itself to get a good idea of whether or not it is likely to gain in value or depreciate over time. It’s also helpful to find out how the artist’s other works have performed as investments, as this can be a good indication of how well future investments could do.
Consider if Investing is Right for You
Regardless of whether you’re a keen art investor or you’re just now getting involved in the art world, it’s important to take the time to think about the investment you’re planning to make. It’s very easy to get caught up in the hype of an art piece, so consider whether it’s the right decision for you. Is it the right time for you to invest? Is this a good investment or are you just a fan of the artwork? Often it’s beneficial to take some time to think.
Consider Your Budget
It’s very easy to get swept away when investing in art, but it’s important to consider your budget. Investing in art can be expensive - especially if you’re buying high end pieces or those by a well-known artist - and it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. Ensure a piece of art is within your budget and you feel it’s a good investment in the long run.
Consider If It’s a Piece of Art You Like
Though liking a piece of art isn’t a requirement for investing successfully, it does make the entire process more enjoyable. Some art investors choose to invest based on profit alone and therefore whether or not they like an artist’s work doesn’t need to be considered. However, if you’re investing with the hope of displaying the art in your home then try to choose pieces you’re a fan of.
Sometimes the best way to really immerse yourself in art is to sit down and enjoy an art documentary. Art documentaries come in a number of different forms; some follow the artist at work and others focus on the impact their work had on the art world. There are a lot of different art documentaries available and it’s safe to say almost all art-related topics have been covered, so it’s not always easy to choose what to watch.
The following five art films are some of the best and they should be on everyone’s ‘must-watch art documentaries’ list. Take a look:
Art Bastard is a great art documentary for anyone who is interested in caricatures, cartoon art and street art. It tells the story of painter Robert Cenedella - who took inspiration and motivation from caricaturist George Grosz - on his quest to conquer the New York street scene. Art Bastard explores the successes, failures and problems a painter faces when they struggle to find a mainstream audience for their unique work.
Painters Painting: The New York Art Scene
Filmed in 1973, Painters Painting is a classic art documentary which has truly stood the test of time. Painters Painting explores the New York art scene from 1940 - 1970, focusing on creative critical mass. It includes interviews with those who shaped the New York art scene, as well as leading critics and museum directors.
In 2012 artist Michael Heizer installed a 340 tonne boulder outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; it has been on display ever since. Levitated Mass explores how Heizer came up with the idea, as well as delving into the logistics of creating such an unusual, expensive and large art display. Viewers will see that though it may initially seem simple, the entire project was impeccably planned from start to finish.
Gerhard Richter: Painting
Gerhard Richter is one of the world’s bestselling painters and this documentary follows his creative process. It includes footage of him at work and interviews with Richter himself, as well as discussions with his critics and fans.
Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present
This documentary is a little different to some of the other must-watch art documentaries, but it’s a great choice for those who favour performance art. Marina Abramovic is a well-known performance artists and this film follows her as she prepares for an exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. It raises the question of whether Abramovic changed the way art is defined.
Artists are always looking for people and places to inspire them and help them create beautiful artwork. Depending on the type of artist you are and the type of work you like to create, you may be inspired by all kinds of different things. One thing that most artists have in common is that they usually draw their inspiration from the world around them, whether that be natural scenery or society and personal interaction. If you’re in an artistic rut then check out this list of beautiful places around the UK that are sure to help get your creative juices flowing.
The Scottish Highlands are full of beautiful locations with awe-inspiring landscapes and idyllic natural scenery. Fort William is a perfect example of the beauty that Scotland holds and the way in which bustling town life fits into the natural scenery to create a hub of artistic inspiration. Take a trip to the west of the Scottish Highlands and you’ll find yourself in a paradise surrounded by vast mountain ranges, bustling high streets, a lively harbour and beautiful open lochs. The area around Fort Williams is a treasure trove of inspiration for anyone looking to create their next masterpiece.
The vast rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales have inspired painters for years thanks to the gorgeous views that stretch on for miles. Set off on a trek to the top of a hill, find a perfect spot, get out your canvas and start painting as you look out over the green valleys. The fields and hedges create a patchwork blanket of different colours and textures that are perfect if you’re looking to capture the beauty of the British countryside.
Take a trip to Northern Ireland and you’ll find one of the most beautiful works of nature in the world. The Giants Causeway attracts millions of travellers and tourists every year thanks to its naturally occurring honeycomb rockery. The geometric shapes of the rocks make this landmark a perfect place if you’re looking to create a unique piece of art.
The open plains of the New Forest are like something out of a western, with long stretching fields full of shrubbery and teeming with wild horses. Not only are the rolling hills and open plains perfect for a landscape painting, the forests and woods are full of natural beauty. From gorgeous wild flowers and plant life to an abundance of animals, the New Forest is a hotspot for artists.
Sometimes there’s nothing better than staring at a classic painting to appreciate the amazing skill of the artist and the way they created such a beautifully intricate illustration. There’s a pretty big divide in the art world between fans of traditional realism and contemporary-style abstract paintings, and this blog is perfect for fans of classic art styles. If you own a more traditional home or you’re looking to redecorate with a luxurious and more classical style then you’re sure to find something that catches your eye in this beautiful selection of artwork.
A Winters Sunrise
Artist: Elizabeth Williams
If you’re looking for something truly traditional in style then this beautiful landscape painting by our long-time artist Elizabeth Williams would make an amazing addition to your collection. The intricate detailing and subtle use of colour creates a beautifully accurate illustration of a snowy winter forest. The warm orange cuts through cold of the white snow and creates a sense of hope as the winter sun rises to cast shadows along the ground. The great thing about this painting from Elizabeth is that it’s already framed, which means you won’t have to spend time or money trying to find one.
Artist: Angela Walker
Angela’s incredible use of detail has resulted in a life painting that is both beautiful and technically stunning. This depiction of a beautiful Lusitano horse would look perfect on the wall of a classical gallery room, hallway or living room. Argento means silver in Portuguese, which is the colour of this powerful and rare breed of horse. A classic technique and use of acrylic paints are what helped to craft this masterpiece. The finish of this painting has been done with a UV-resistant satin varnish which reduces the fading of colour and helps to protect the painting from air-born pollutants. Angela Walker loves to escape into her art and use her process to get some peace and quiet. Her dedication to such detailed pieces like this is why she is one of our top artists.
Venice. Grand Canal. Gondolier.
Artist: Olga Koval
Bring the bustling town of Venice into your living room this summer with this amazing depiction of the Grand Canal. The beautiful architecture in the City of Venice has inspired many artists throughout history and this contribution by Olga is nothing less of amazing. The painting has been created using traditional oil paints and a linen canvas. The vibrant colour and textured detail used in the piece makes it a perfect collection to any classical home, whether you want to frame it or leave in unframed.
There are many artists out there who were lucky enough to have been blessed with multiple talents. The world of creative arts is teeming with different practices and disciplines that are all closely intertwined, which means that once you enter that world you are often exposed to more than one of these practices. The beauty of creating art is that anyone can do it, whether it's professionally or as a hobby. Some celebrities and famous faces have hidden talents that are not often known to the public or their fans. From actors to musicians, the collection of secret celebrity artists is full of A-listers. Here are a few examples of recognisable stars that like to put paint on canvas and pen to paper in their spare time.
Most people will know this famous actor from his appearances in numerous blockbuster hits. From a quirky pirate to a murderous barber, Johnny Depp has portrayed some of the most iconic characters in the history of cinema. The world-renowned actor is also a musician, a restaurateur and a talented painter. Amongst other things he likes to paint portraits of his famous friends including singers like Bob Dylan and Keith Richards. There is talk of him putting his collection up for sale so perhaps you’ll get lucky in the future and get your hands on one of these rare pieces.
The former member of the fabulous four has been generating artistic material for decades and became well known in the artistic community for his hosting of an exhibit at The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. The famous musician specialises in abstract illustrations that are a representation of his views on life and culture. He has described his creative process as a respite from the world in which he sculpts and shapes the paint into extensions of his creativity.
It may come as a surprise to find out that the former President of the United States is also an avid painter. He has been creating art since he left the White House and in recent years has taken the art world by surprise with the release of his book ‘Portraits of Courage’, in which he depicts a number of soldiers and military veterans.
This cool-talking actor is best known for his portrayal of super spy James Bond, but he also has an alter ego who loves to paint. Brosnan was a student of art when he was a teenager and learned to master his craft at the Saint Martin’s School of Art. His use of bright colours and abstract imagery has resulted in some very popular pieces of art.
The great thing about abstract art is its ability to engage people’s imagination by conjuring up thoughts and feelings. Although fans of classical art may prefer realistic portraits and paintings, a vibrant abstract piece can serve as a beautiful centrepiece for a home. The summer is here and has brought with it an array of bright natural colours, from the green of the grass to the warm orange of the sunlight. In this blog we’re focusing on the theme of blue abstract work, which is the perfect combination for a summery piece. If you’re looking for a new addition to your collection then one of these amazing works from our brilliant team of artists would fit in perfectly.
Artist: Sharon Deegan
This beautifully textured piece by Sharon Deegan is a perfect example of how abstract paintings can generate feelings and emotions. The cooling mixture of blues and whites creates a sense of refreshment. The deep texture and sharp mixture of colour generates images of powerful waves and cool ocean breezes. Sharon is known for her amazing abstract illustrations of seascapes and ocean waves. The professional painter lives by the River Thames in West London and often draws inspiration from the sea and how it can be both powerful and peaceful. This painting was created using acrylic on a deep box canvas and has been finished off with 2 layers of gloss varnish.
Tiffany at Midnight
Artist: Susan Wooler
The intricate fluid detail of this piece is what immediately stands out. The natural motion of the modern fluid acrylics used in this painting has created a truly unique effect that will have you staring for hours into the deep, rich colours. The dark blues mixed with lighter shades helps to create a cool, calming effect that will fit perfectly into your collection. The long-time painter Susan has crafted her skills over a number of years by painting all sorts of subject matter in a variety of styles. If you like the look of this gorgeous piece then be sure to check out her other works.
Glass Lake I
Artist: Victoria Stothard
The striking contrast of blues in this piece by Victoria Stothard has resulted a truly unique and though-provoking illustration. The deep cold blue veins that run through centre conjure up images of cracked ice and give you shivers as you stare into it. The unique techniques adopted by Victoria include the use of oil, acrylic, airbrushing, metallic enamel work and applique. The intricate texture in the piece is evidence of her deep artistic knowledge. Glass Lake I would be a perfect addition to your collection if you’re looking to redecorate this summer and add a cool dash of colour to your home.
Since the invention of the first camera over 150 years ago there has been one major question at the forefront of artistic debate, whether or not photography is actually a form of art. While those behind the camera would argue that there are a series of artistic techniques used to create meaningful photography, traditionalists in the world of art often disregard photography due its lack of intricate technique.
For the first century of its life the camera was seen by many artists as simply a way to capture events, without being able to represent any deeper meaning than surface-level imagery. These days the world of photography has taken huge leaps forward and photographers have gained a lot more recognition for the artistic merit of their works. But the question still remains, is photography an art form?
Art can be defined as the use of imagination and creativity to produce something that is emotionally powerful or thought provoking. The issue is that this description of art is subject to personal interpretation. Not every person would look at the same painting, sculpture or photograph and feel the same thing, but you can’t deny that photography has the ability to invoke emotions and opinions.
By Photographer Robert Jackson
The inclusion of technical skill and ability in the definition of art is where a lot of the debate comes from. Many traditional artists say that the intricate techniques used by painters and sculptors require a lot more time and dedication to perfect than photography, which is a fair statement. But that’s not to say photography doesn’t take time to perfect because just as an amateur painter couldn’t produce a piece as technically advanced as a professional, neither could a photographer. This shows that however different and arguably less difficult photography is, it still requires skill and creativity to produce great photographs.
By Photographer David Baker
Despite the wildly opposing views held throughout the world of art, there’s one thing that most artists would agree on which is the fact that art should be expressive. Art should be an extension of your thoughts and your views on the world, which is something that can be seen in all forms of creativity from drawing to photography. It’s usually the process and technique that causes the most debate, not the end result. It’s important to remember that art is subjective and as much as particular piece may not be to your taste, if it means something to someone, then its art.
By photographer Mark Edwards