What is the best abstract painting for a living room? So many people ask me this question, not only from people who have little understanding of art but also from those who like art yet are unsure about abstract painting.
I totally understand the challenges when it comes to appreciating abstract art. I always say that you don’t necessarily have to be an art graduate or experienced in art to simply enjoy it. Art is available for everyone to appreciate and enjoy without any rules, restrictions or limitations.
At the end of the day, the simple purpose of art is to entertain, educate and enjoy.
Whether at home or work, we all like to be surrounded by something that we enjoy and makes us feel comfortable.
A blank wall may seem to be empty and dull but the minute you hang any picture, it transforms the entire atmosphere altogether. Better still, if that picture can add a personal touch that may mean something special to you.
Hanging an abstract painting in a living room may need a slightly different approach from that of a landscape or a figurative painting. For example, a landscape painting may remind you of a pleasant place you visited and enjoyed – it resembles a familiar subject.
With abstract painting, particularly non-representational art, this is entirely different. In this article, I would like to take you through the world of non-representational abstract art. I’m not going to talk about the technicality of the making of abstract paintings or dive deeper into the subject of art.
I have been creating non-representational abstract paintings for many years and I can totally understand the difficulty that so many of us have in appreciating abstract art.
So, I will do my best to approach it from a much simpler point of view to help you appreciate and enjoy the amazing beauty of this seemingly ambiguous art.
Here we go.
Abstract Painting Doesn’t Make Sense
This is probably the most common sentence I hear from many people every time we speak about abstract painting. Many would comment that it’s just random brushstrokes here and there that could have been done by a 5-year old or perhaps by some of the elephants in Thailand. (Yes, they trained some of the elephants in Thailand to paint! It’s amazing. Have a look at this video).
I wrote another article about Abstract Art Makes No Sense which goes a little deeper into the subject and I also titled one of my paintings Makes No Sense. I know how many people feel about abstract art. I felt the same many years ago when I painted landscapes and figurative watercolour paintings. However, later I developed a great fascination with non-representational abstract painting and never looked back.
Abstract painting may not make sense in the familiar way that we have been using to make any sense of anything around us. Since childhood, we are brought up to make sense of everything around us to become familiar. That’s how we learn about the world we live in.
Non-representational painting is not about seeing familiar objects. It is more about understanding your feelings from the evoked emotions as a result of seeing the artwork. It’s that simple.
Seeing develops emotions interpreted by feelings.
There is still one more step when it comes to looking at a non-representational abstract painting and that is, it’s still an unfamiliar object.
But, once you are able to reverse the process and really now focus on your feelings first and then the evoked emotions from what you are seeing. The process becomes something like this:
Feelings are evoked by emotions through seeing.
Music works exactly in the same principle. Instead of using your visual sensory perception, you use your hearing perception. The music you hear would evoke certain emotions that are then interpreted by your feelings.
Hearing develops emotions interpreted by feelings.
Reverse the process of listening to music and it will be similar to viewing a painting.
I hope this explanation will make it a bit clearer to feel abstract art, rather than just seeing it.
I would be happy to discuss it further if you wish. Please drop me an email, it’s that simple.
Does Abstract Art Show Emotion
You might be wondering, how does abstract art show emotion? And does it evoke emotion? The answers to those questions reveal the hidden true beauty of a non-representational abstract painting.
Before we go any further, I would like to highlight that ‘beauty’ in art goes beyond the visual experience of the viewer. Many abstract paintings may not necessarily look beautiful, but they may hold greater emotional power of aesthetic response.
Aesthetic response is our response and perception of emotional reactions, thoughts and feelings. Art is human-made beauty that directly links to its meaningfulness.
We assign a meaningful value to artwork based on several complex elements, such as our opinions, senses, personal desires, instinct, preferences, culture, etc.
Abstract painting may provoke ways of perceiving its elements of colours, shapes and lines aiming to transform it to extract something meaningful to its viewers.
Abstract art uses colours, shapes, lines, texture and composition as its vocabulary to paint a story. A story that could be read and interpreted differently by different people. That interpretation depends highly on the emotional response of the viewer and no two viewers will have the same response.
The emotional response doesn’t happen, in most cases, instantaneously. It needs time. Several studies have been conducted over the years and concluded that the majority of museum visitors spend seconds looking at a piece of artwork before moving to the next one.
Art in general tells us to slow down. Take your time when viewing artworks. Allow yourself and the artwork to connect without any other influence. I avoid reading or finding out any information before I spend a great deal of time viewing artwork.
The whole idea is to see if the artwork itself would pull you into it and also to give yourself a chance to realise and recognise your emotional response.
Look at the colours, the shapes, the lines. Look at the colours connecting, contrasting, cold or warm. Where are the line-markings lead your eyes to? Take a step closer and examine the texture. Does the painting evoke any emotions? How does the artwork make you feel?
How Does Abstract Art Make You Feel
When looking at an abstract painting, forget about everything else around you and just focus on your feelings. This is the ultimate goal of the artists, museums, galleries and anybody and everybody involved in the art world. The feelings that a piece of artwork creates in touching us deep inside. The feelings that we would carry with us long after we have seen the artwork.
We don’t control our feelings, they are all secured in our subconscious, but they can be triggered by our five senses – sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. Abstract paintings use our sight as the vehicle to trigger our feelings.
As you can see, you don’t need to be knowledgeable of the art world to appreciate it. Just let your feelings guide you through. You might like some or might not like any at all. That is fine too and art will always be there when you change your mind.
So, when you choose an abstract painting check your feelings and not necessarily whether it would or wouldn’t fit nicely with your living room décor. But, you might say that most of us buy a painting to fit nicely with the rest of the décor – to fit with the wall colours and the furniture in the room
And that is very true. However, an abstract painting isn’t a piece of décor. If it doesn’t evoke any emotions to make you feel comfortable, that piece of artwork is not for you.
Once you dismiss the idea of linking an abstract painting to a piece of décor, you will be at the very beginning of appreciating abstract paintings and seeking to find your emotional response.
And that would be the best abstract painting for a living room – your living room.
Please feel free to add your comments and if you have any questions about non-representational abstract paintings, please don’t hesitate to drop an email.
I created all the paintings shown in this article.