Since I am pretty much a plein air painter, but painting outside in Southern California is not OK for a few weeks, I am taking a class from an abstract artist, Kathleen Scoggin. The focus is on the elements and principles of design.
When I am out painting, I usually look for a composition with shape and contrast. I start with the dominant part and build the painting around it, while doing my best to be true to the scene.
In this class we are thinking about visual concepts and building up a painting with these in mind. We start without an image, make some random marks, and then think about how all the parts interact with each other. This is a very different approach and pretty hard for me. This is my sixth abstract piece this week and the first that I actually like.