Rolina van Vliet has studied at the Academy of Physical Education in Groningen, the teacher training department of Amsterdam College, and the fine arts department at the Free Academy in The Hague. She now teaches at various centres for artistic training, and has developed a new method of painting based on abstract painting. Her work varies from abstract expressionism to lyrical abstract painting, with the emphasis on spontaneity and dynamics, and with a clear preference for total abstraction. She regularly exhibits her work, has written articles for art magazines and runs workshops and courses on abstract art.
This is a nice change of direction in the literature of abstract painting. When it comes to abstracts, it's the ideas behind the work that mainly count and it's difficult to come up with a strictly instructional approach because you're not simply representing a subject but interpreting it and, if you don't have something to say, there's not really any point in even getting started. However, there are various muscles you can develop and working from a set of ideas and exercises based on what other artists have done will help you get the idea of where you're supposed to be going and how you might get there. Rolina has come up with a good range of approaches such as the interplay of lines, monochrome working, even painting from photographs and to music. This latter is something that's cropped up before and is an intriguing idea - you use a favourite piece to put yourself in a specific frame of mind and then simply (well, I say, "simply") transfer that creativity to paper. As well as the projects, Rolina has some useful comments on where you might look for sources of inspiration and, in her conclusion, a list of do's and don'ts that every artist should have taped to their studio wall.-Artbookreview.net Abstract art can be a notoriously difficult genre to teach but experienced tutor Rolina van Vliet begins with a very positive statement of intent in this, her third book on the subject. Posing the question, 'Why paint in the abstract style?', she underlines the benefits of working in this way, from the joy of interpretation to the freedom from rigid techniques. Nevertheless, she still provides a very organised framework for developing your skills - each of the 50 subsequent projects list what materials you need and which skills you can acquire.-Artists & Illustrators This book follows Rolinas two very successful and acclaimed previous books on abstract painting and covers the questions so often asked what shall I paint and How shall I paint it. Until I began painting myself I rarely appreciated abstract art having seen too much of the "throw some paint at a canvas and call it an abstract" type of works. Sadly there's still a lot of that type around but with books such as these by Rolina hopefully people who are interested in art will take time to learn a more disciplined and structured approach. Rolina has developed a theory and background of abstract painting that she has outlined in her previous books and in this one she puts some of those ideas into practice devising exercises to hone the skills learned by the student from them. The first third of the book is full of ideas to make us think about what we want to paint and how to approach it. Rolina explains how to see abstractly - many paintings are actually based around pictorial elements that the artist then looks for the abstract in them - very different to the throw paint and see method that I talked about earlier. Through thinking about external influences we begin to process the ideas for a painting - Rolina gives us some guidelines on how to develop these ideas by way of questioning ourselves, what colour combinations do we want to use, what shapes and lines are we planning, will we add texture, will this be totally abstract or will elements of the original idea be visible. She explains all this is important preparatory work to create a pleasing and successful painting. She covers sources of inspiration, picture elements and colours, and texture and technique - al these are covered in more detail in earlier books but for the purpose of this book a brief overview is given. The projects themselves are broken down into specific elements - study task, materials, picture elements, techniques, and composition. In this way Rolina gives the basics of the project accompanied by an illustration of some she has created using each method and yet the final project will be the students own work. Most of the projects are accompanied by useful study tips that will be helpful when the student branches out entirely on their own work. I really enjoy Rolinas books - they are packed full of helpful and easy to follow ideas. I think anyone new to abstract works will find that they are in fact far more structured than usually believed and whether you are an artist want to learn to create your own abstract works or simply have a love of art and want to learn to appreciate the work involved in abstract paintings this book is a winner.-JeannieZelos.com Have you always wanted to try abstract painting but are not sure where to start? There is surely more to it than just the random application of paint - yes there is, and here is a whole book of ideas for the beginner abstract artist. This is essentially a very hands-on book filled with projects to try an approach which I personally think works very well indeed. At the outset the author explains how abstract art has its roots in the figurative, but ideas are expressed in a freer manner. She discusses concepts, line, color, inspiration and more before the main section of the book, which is where you can find the projects. Most of these involve acrylics rather than any other paint type, which suits the modern style and which are very versatile. Try your hand at playing with lines, mixed media, collage, depicting organic forms, emulating Picasso, using newspaper cuttings and many more. Each study has simple instructions and ideas to try along with an example and the studies number fifty. After these there are a hundred one-line ideas to try, such as creating an image to go with the last book you read, using a paper ball to make textures and making a Matisse-style paper cutout collage. All of these ideas are sure to free up the imagination and produce some vibrant and interesting work, so if you want to have a go at this style of art then this is a good book to start with. You do need some basic art history knowledge first in order to know the work of named artists, but as all these are well known this should not pose a problem for many artists.-Myshelf.com Abstraction is not as often discussed in art guides as figurative painting. Given its subjectivity, abstraction is inherently difficult to teach, but van Vliet ( The Art of Abstract Painting ) commendably spends as much time covering concepts and inspiration as she does technique. The 50 short exercises function well as experimental jumping-off points for readers rather than as finished projects. In these lessons, van Vliet emphasizes process through a wide-ranging, succinct discussion of many different materials. This book will appeal to beginning and intermediate artists who want to try something new.-Library Journal USA