Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Abstract art, non-figurative art, nonobjective art, and nonrepresentational art are loosely related terms. They are similar, but perhaps not of identical meaning.
Abstraction indicates a departure from reality in depiction of imagery in art. This departure from accurate representation can be slight, partial, or complete. Abstraction exists along a continuum. Even art that aims for verisimilitude of the highest degree can be said to be abstract, at least theoretically, since perfect representation is likely to be exceedingly elusive.
Abstract art can be a painting or sculpture (including assemblage) that does not depict a person, place or thing in the natural world- even in an extremely distorted or exaggerated way. Therefore, the subject of the work is based on what you see color, shapes, and brushstrokes, size, and scale and, in some cases, the process. Abstract art began in 1911 with such works as Picture with a Circle by the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky. Kandinsky believed that colors provoke emotions. Red was lively and confident, green was peaceful with inner strength, blue was deep and supernatural, yellow could be warm, exciting, disturbing or totally bonkers and white seemed silent but full of possibilities.
In abstract art, the artist uses a visual language of shapes, forms, lines and colors to interpret a subject-matter, without necessarily providing the viewer with a recognizable visual reference point. This contrasts dramatically with more traditional forms of art which set out to achieve a literal and more representational interpretation of a subject communicating a reality to the viewer.
Abstract art engages and challenges the intellect but it also engages and challenges the emotions and to fully appreciate it the viewer has to let go of a need to understand what the artist is trying to say and instead tune into their own feeling response to the piece. All aspects of life lend themselves to interpretation through abstract art – beliefs, fears, passions, a response to music or to nature, scientific and mathematical complexity, to name but a few, can all be used as subject matter and expressed freely and uniquely. The abstract artist communicates with us in a way that allows us to find our own personal response to the work.
Whether the value of your painting is monetary or sentimental, be sure to protect and preserve it properly. Watercolor paintings are extremely delicate and certain steps must be taken to keep them in good condition.
Preserving a watercolor painting involves using a spray fixative to seal in the colors that protects the surface. Always apply a normal drawing fixative or special watercolor fixative to your finished painting. Don't expose the painting to direct sunlight; otherwise the colors will quickly fade. Also do not hang finished paintings in areas where there is a fluctuation of temperatures and humidity. Be aware of prolonged exposure to bright lights of any kind. Keep your painting away from dampness which can cause mold and may change the coloring.
When framing a watercolor painting wax a sheet of brown paper of the same size as the painting and put it at the back of the painting in the frame. The brown paper will protect the painting from contact with a wall that may be damp.
Important tips for preservation of watercolor paintings:
Frame your painting as soon as possible to protect it from dirt, dust and handling.
Frame your painting under ultraviolet (UV)-protective glass to protect it from fading.
Seal the back of the picture frame with paper to keep dust and insects out.
Hang your painting away from direct sunlight.
While storing framed works, cover them with cloth and lay pictures face down. To store an unframed work, sandwich it between layers of acid-free tissue in a dry place. Rolling or folding it could cause paint loss.
Damage to paintings and art paper from any of the above environmental hazards is usually not reversible and cannot be repaired. Be careful and always treat your paintings with caution and care. It doesn't necessarily take museum-quality conditions to keep art sound. With proper handling and care, watercolors can survive decades or even centuries.
Charcoal, produced from charred wood, is one of the oldest drawing materials in human culture. It produces a soft, dark black line that is prized by artists for its sensitivity and fluidity. Historically, painters used charcoal to create quick sketches and preliminary drawings.
Charcoal is an extremely versatile medium for sketching. Once applied to paper or vellum, this material's versatility starts to shine due to its ability to depict rich blacks, along with subtle tonal values. Usually practice with charcoal starts with figure or portrait drawing. However, the medium is not limited by genre. Most charcoal drawing materials come in packs of square or round sticks which have soft, bunt ends, which is used for shading, filling, or even fine lines.
However, charcoal must be carefully preserved. The softness and lightness that make it desirable as a drawing material also cause it to flake and smudge unless it is carefully handled and safely stored.
Valuable tips for up-keeping of charcoal drawings
Spray your charcoal drawing with a fixative. This creates a thin coating over the charcoal that will prevent it from smudging. Only do this to new drawings. Older ones already will have been fixed so they might get damaged by the spray.
Avoid touching the surface of the charcoal drawing. The paper may become discolored by oils from your fingertips. Mounting the drawing in a frame can protect it from touch.
Protect your drawing with a folder if it is not on display. Acid-free alkaline folders are best. Do not use plastic folders as static charge can be harmful to the charcoal.
Store your drawing flat in a dark, cool and moderately dry location. Too much light, especially direct sunlight can cause fading, and moisture can cause the paper to curl.
Apply fix to the work upon completion. Unfixed charcoal sketches are extremely vulnerable and at risk to smudges, dirtying, and other surface damage. Motion can dislodge charcoal, which can destroy hours of hard shading work. Fingerprints are easily noticeable and can occur quickly.
When applying the fix, be sure to spray in quick, short, bursts. This will give the work multiple, small coats, rather than one large coat. A large coat of fixture can seep into the paper and saturate the charcoal. This causes the charcoal to fade into the paper and can reduce luster and shine in the work. If the fix causes any damage to the work then make corrections, using the type of charcoal that you used originally, over top of the layer of fix. The fix will act as glue to the charcoal, holding down any loose amounts.
Proper maintenance and protective care will help ensure that an oil painting’s beauty and quality remains intact for years. Preserving an oil painting is neither difficult nor time-consuming; a few simple steps and precautions are fundamental in preserving the painting in beautiful condition for a long time.
Golden Tips for preserving Oil Paintings
Avoid Excessive Light or Darkness
Very high light levels can cause the darkening or fading of an oil painting. To avoid damage caused by light, don't expose paintings to direct sunlight. In addition, commercial lights should not be positioned too close to the painting. Also, oil paintings should not be stored in the dark for long periods of time. Storing a painting in the dark can cause the oil painting to become darker over time.
Extreme changes in humidity and temperature can make the canvas and wood stretchers supporting the painting expand or contract. Canvas and wood stretchers can absorb moisture, which may cause them to expand on humid days and shrink on dry days. Oil paint can crack and flake off as a result of the expansion and contraction of the canvas and wood stretchers.
Handle Oil Paintings Carefully
When transporting an oil painting; hold the painting on both sides. Avoid grasping a painting from the top of the frame, and don't hold it by the hanging wire. Always wash your hands before handling an oil painting as fluid from your hands can damage the surface.
Keep Dirt Off
Dirt can attract mold, pollutants and moisture to the surface of a painting. These elements can considerably damage the artwork. Therefore, paintings shouldn't be hung near fireplaces or very close to candles.
Clean Oil Paintings Carefully
You can keep your paintings clean by lightly wiping the surface with a soft, clean micro fiber cloth or an anti-static cloth. Both of these cloths act like magnets that lift loose dust off the painting while avoiding scratches to the painting or varnished surface. Cotton swabs that have been dampened with distilled water can be lightly dabbed on the surface to remove surface dirt that can't be removed by wiping.
Before hanging the oil painting, coat the surface with a layer of varnish to preserve it. But this should be done only after the painting has thoroughly dried or you can take help of some knowledgeable conservator. From time to time check the wire to make sure that it is in good working condition. If required, change the wire.