An Abstract Art Exercise to Get You Thinking Creatively

Editor’s Note: It’s my pleasure to welcome Dean Nimmer as the featured artist today! Dean is the author of Creating Abstract Art, and he has four new video workshops ready to inspire you. ~Cherie


Creating Abstract Art by Dean Nimmer

Abstract art ideas | Dean Nimmer,

If you’re like most artists, you’d rather be making art than just thinking about it. My goal as an artist and teacher is to get your creative juices flowing and see where your imagination takes you!

To that end, the projects in my latest North Light book, Creating Abstract Art, are designed to get you working on an idea right away without a lot of reading or preplanning. The projects aren’t typical step-by-step instructions that show you a single desired result. Instead, you begin a process and whatever the results are, your interpretation of the subject is always correct. In other words, you can’t fail at any of my projects because there are an almost infinite number of variations you can create in abstract art.

In addition, the projects in my book can be done in any order, from any chapter, without worrying that you’ve skipped ahead or missed something you should know first.

You can be confident that whatever direction you pursue using the projects and ideas in my book you’ll have fun and your pieces will be a unique personal expression from your own creative subconscious. And though you’ll make some compositions you like and others you won’t, the only thing you can do wrong in art–is to not make art at all!

As you’ll see in the clip below from my new ArtistsNetworkTV video, Creating Abstract Art: Six Key Elements of Success, there are lots of ways to break through the dreaded blank canvas and get to creating in a spontaneous and liberating way.

Ice Breakers and Warm-ups: Getting Past Your Blocks

The projects in this section allow you to get going on something without thinking or worrying about what you’re making. Keep in mind that these projects are designed to be fun to do, so don’t be self-conscious about “making Art,” just enjoy the freedom of playing in the sand again!


Connecting Eleven Dots (Why Eleven Dots? Why not?)

This project suggests that you begin your drawing or painting by placing eleven small dots, at random, on a piece of paper and start connecting those dots with lines. Think of the dots as hubs or anchors for the lines to connect to in a variety of ways. You could approach this project as a kind of game to see what different compositions evolve as you explore variations that come with the placement of the dots on the page, their proximity to one another and how your composition develops using different techniques and mediums.

Remember the only rule here is to simply connect eleven dots with lines. Questions such as, how many lines do I make? Are these straight lines, curved lines, broken lines? etc., can be answered in so many ways, and the pleasure of this line game is in discovering new solutions each time. Other than choosing the materials to work with, I don’t recommend thinking about many of your choices before you start working. This project, like many others in Creating Abstract Art, works best when you approach the challenge spontaneously.

Because there are so many possible directions to go with this project, I recommend keeping it simple at first by using only one color or black and white to see how it works. Of course, you can always skip ahead to color or collage variations and then you take it anywhere you want from there. Think of the original lines that you make as part of a skeleton or superstructure that you’ll use to build your composition. There are limitless possibilities for compositions that begin with just eleven dots!


Check out my other quick start projects like Automatic Drawing, Action Painting, Shadow Drawing and others in the first chapter of Creating Abstract Art, and see how easy it is to completely enjoy the process of creating without the usual hang-ups that hold you back! ~Dean

Preview Creating Abstract Art: 9 Unexpected Inspirations below. Watch the full video at ArtistsNetworkTVto learn more about the 11-dot exercise!

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