Abstract expressionist art or action art, is defined by its emphasis on emotional or spontaneous content not based in reality. Abstract expressionist art gained its popularity in the 1950s as a backlash against rampant McCarthyism. Abstract expressionist painting allowed artists to create without fear of being accused of sympathizing with communists. It also furthered the promotion of the belief that the spiritual or unconscious mind could be further explored through the creative process.
When first starting to paint in this style you much first learn as much as you can about the abstract expressionist movement by studying the work of other artists. By understanding the ideology driving the movement, you can better emulate the well-known artists of the time. The beautiful thing about abstract expressionism is that there is no “standard” look or feel. Each artist expresses themselves in their own way. Some popular artists to research include Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, Hans Hoffmann and Helen Frankenthaler.
Next to begin painting you should gather your art materials and prepare your work space. You can use almost anything in abstract expressionist painting. You can try incorporating found objects like bottle caps, string or glass. Application tools can be varied as well. You can use traditional paint brushes but some artists use sticks, string, hair, spoons, knives or other implements to apply pigment.
Next you should plan your image and then start painting. It’s a common misconception that abstract expressionist paintings are totally spontaneous and require no artistic talent. Man abstract expressionist works are very large, making the need for planning out the image beforehand all the more important. When planning the image, determine in advance the materials you’ll use, what the image should convey to the viewer, the color combinations you will be using, the size of the image and what the image will represent to you personally.
Lastly, careful planning is the difference between great art and haphazard work. Don’t underestimate the effect that planning your image will have on your work. And also remember that not everyone will appreciate your art. Don’t be discouraged. Continue to paint for your own enjoyment.