A little Fun

P. Barrie

Well-known member
Today I decided to make a small change to one of my landscape paintings. I squeezed out small globs of Ultramarine, Cad Lemon, Cad Orange, white, and greenish umber onto a 5-1/2” x 8-1/2” piece of paper. After making the change, I started drawing with the globs of color. Without really thinking about anything I played with color and shapes, rotating the paper around as I worked?
I realize now that in my last attempts at non-representational painting, I was trying to come up with something...o_O This is what I came up with today. I feel some success with coming up with nothing in mind.

At the end of the day abstracted spontaneity can yield terrific results. A million viewers can see a million different things in it and that’s great.
Nufocus, thanks, I guess that’s an allure of non-representation art. I think this image is more non-representational as I was not consciously thinking of anything to abstract, unless in this case the circular forms are considered an object of abstraction. I’m not real clear on distinctions...if there are any. Seems there are differing definitions and areas of thought on these distinctions. Picasso once said there is no abstraction in art, Jackson pollack seemed to start with abstraction, then later fumbled around (mostly drunk) with non-representational drippings.
If you zoom in on a Monet, it is a plethora of (abstract?) brushmarks.
I really don’t know much about this...I very well could be all wet here.:whistle:
Last edited:
This is a nice piece, it has a cool feeling of ice cream cones. That's me though. I like it. You should keep playing around in this genre. :)
Thanks Arty. if you are seeing something (representational) then does this become an abstraction? To the viewer I guess...

I would like for any of you viewers who “see” something, to say so. It seems if you want to make a picture non-representational, you might have to do more than not consciously think about drawing something, but rather make a conscious effort to not to.
Fish eyes! I see fish eyes! And a smiling yellow fish. I like it.
I don't feel like it's up to you if others see things in the clouds. It's still nonrepresentational IMO. You are making abstract gestures and the viewers might interpret it in different way depending on how they see art in general sometimes, or shapes (what have you). I've purchased abstract pieces because they have reminded me of boats on the sea, Snoopy, and other various things, but I knew the artist didn't intend that. I still also see an abstract composition, and can see a painting in more than one way. That's just me. ;)
ntl, Iain, thanks for your interpretations.
Arty, I’m in agreement with you. If the viewer interprets something representational it shouldn’t effect the artist’s intention to be non-representational. Since I wasn’t thinking of anything figurative, then this probably should be non- representational rather than abstract. Some famous artist said something like “ I make paintings, let someone else decide if it’s art.”
Correction on Picasso quote: “There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality. ”
I am saying this ditty I made is Non-representational because I was making no reference to or thinking about anything visible from reality (the real world) whatever that is....
The distinctions or differences between Abstract and Non-representational are what I am discussing here. Does anybody have any thoughts, opinions, beliefs about the definitions and usage of these terms and how they do or do not apply to artwork. Where does abstraction start and where does non-representational begin?

An explanation from the Saylor Academy

Painting, sculpture, and other art forms can be divided into the categories of representational(sometimes also called figurative art, although it doesn't always contain figures), abstract, and nonrepresentational (or non-objective) art. Representational art describes artworks – particularly paintings and sculptures – that are clearly derived from real object sources, and therefore are by definition representing something with strong visual references to the real world. Most, but not all, abstract art is based on imagery from the real world. The most "extreme" form of abstract art is not connected to the visible world and is known as nonrepresentational.
  • Representational art or figurative art represents objects or events in the real world, usually looking easily recognizable. For example, a painting of a cat looks very much like a cat – it's quite obvious what the artist is depicting.
  • Romanticism, Impressionism, and Expressionism contributed to the emergence of abstract art in the nineteenth century as artists became less interested in depicting things exactly like they really exist. Abstract art exists on a continuum, from somewhat representational work, to work that is so far removed from its actual real-world appearance that it is almost impossible to easily discern what is being represented. Abstract art is always connected to something visual from the real world.
  • Work that does not depict anything from the real world (figures, landscapes, animals, etc.) is called nonrepresentational. Nonrepresentational art may simply depict shapes, colors, lines, etc., but may also express things that are not visible – emotions or feelings for example.
Another explanation from VanGoghAlive

Nonrepresentational Art vs. Abstraction​

The words nonrepresentational art and abstract art are often used to refer to the same style of painting. However, when an artist works in abstraction, they are distorting the view of a known thing, person, or place. For example, a landscape can easily be abstracted and Picasso often abstracted people.

Nonrepresentational art does not begin with a "thing" or a subject from which a distinctive abstract view is formed. Instead, it is "nothing" but what the artist intended it to be and what the viewer interprets it as. It could be splashes of paint as we see in Jackson Pollock's work. It may also be the color-blocked squares that are frequent in Mark Rothko's paintings.
Last edited:
I like the more simpler explanation from the latter, "VanGoghAlive," and would probably agree. Not to throw another coal onto the fire, but when does nonrepresentational art start to become "decorative," and not exactly a purely nonrepresentational artwork? I think all three terms can blur the lines, like anything, but if we are speaking about defining basic terms, I would agree with these differences--just like how abstract and expressionism can blur together as well.

I don't know if abstract always has to be connected to something visual from the real world. The first definition is a little too stiff for me. That is just my opinion. We're talking art here, so much objectivity needs to be taken into account and why it is always a debate--there is not a set-in-stone right or wrong. Lines always blur. But I do think we need to start somewhere (some foundation) for which to create a trajectory.
Very close to my heart this chat about what the 'lookers' see and what the
thinkers 'look' to see.

As you know, I can't paint for toffee and have learned that maybe one in a hundred
of my paintsquirts and fingerdances might actually capture a motion, a moment, or
something with emotion......it takes talent to paint abstract.
Arty, yeah the first explanation is somewhat rigid or too definitive. And what exactly is something visible from “the real world”? Who’s reality? What about artists who strive to depict music through imagery? I don’t think that would be non-representational
I was thinking a lot about this painting as an example, if you don't mind me hijacking your thread. I think it blurs the lines between abstract expressionism and nonrepresentational, though, there are some representational gestures in it--enough to make it an "impure" nonrepresentational piece. However, I wouldn't know what to call it.