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Realistic Abstracts by Kees Van Aalst

As seen in the PAINT Newsletter, our new book review feature sees art expert Henry Malt dip into some of the newest art instruction books to find out what they have to offer the aspiring artist.

Henry has been writing about art books for thirty years, twenty seven of which were spent running the Artists’ Choice book club. In this new feature, he takes an independent look at the latest publications. This time he'll be casting an eye over Realistic Abstracts by Kees Van Aalst.

Abstract painting has a language all of its own and, in its full-on guise, is about re-creating your own emotional response to your subject in the mind of the viewer, but without the obvious points of reference given by simple representation.  In order to do this, you need to be completely at home with perspective, composition and colour as well as your overall painting technique.  However, many artists like the idea of moving away from simply painting a record of what’s in front of them and this is what Kees will show you how to do.

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Blend the realistic and the abstract!

On the face of it, the book’s title is a bit of a contradiction in terms, but just flick through and you can immediately see what the original subjects were.  The style is basically very loose watercolour (and sometimes acrylic and gouache) with some distortions of colour and an emphasis on negative shapes.

If that all sounds complicated, don’t worry because there are plenty of examples, explanations and demonstrations and this is one of the most practical approaches to abstraction I’ve seen.  If you like the idea of abstract painting but have been put off before because you don’t know where to start, this is a good place to do so.

To find out more, or get your copy of Realistic Abstracts now for our special members-only price of £9.99, please click here.

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