Smiling like Sunshine: Exploring Realism vs Abstraction

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Exploring Realism vs Abstraction

As you know we like to explore art here so last month when we were reading The Art Book for Children (Phaidon) with Defne (5 yo) , we came across Gerhard Richter's paintings. He is an important artist as he produced both realistic and abstract paintings thus undermining the belief that an artist should maintain a single style.

Gerhard Richter,Betty,1988

This painting is almost like a photo and it blows my mind. When I pointed out to Defne that this is not a photo, but a painting she was also impressed.
On the opposite page, there is an abstract painting of Gerhard Richter:

Gerhard Richter,Abstract Painting, 1993

Then we talked about realism and abstraction. I tried to explain her that when artists take their inspiration from daily life and draw about "real things" it is called realism. When they choose not to show people, animals or other things as they appear in the real world, it is called "abstraction." I told her that abstract pictures are not painted to look like something specific.

Defne wanted to paint this painting herself. To make these, "exploring art" projects a little special, I try to give her some special materials.

So I gave her a small canvas and acrylic paints and she got on painting. Every now and then she kept saying she wanted to add "her own things". At first I tried to keep her on track trying to persuade her to try to paint like Richter but then I decided I should let her however she wants to paint. As we all know, it is the process that matters.
When she was finished,she said she wanted to add some white lines. I suppose she was inspired by the British flag :) Because of the Jubilee and then the Olympics, there have been lots of flags around :)



She enjoyed painting with acrylic paintings and mixing the colours. Also, painting on canvas was new for her.

I am linking up to Red Ted Art's Kids Get Arty where you can find more artful inspiration.