Cool place to be, just feel boxed in a bit

I think there is good, solid content here, but I seem to not recall much expressive/emotion driven/high energy work.

Is there any more options for expressive art?

I hope that is making sense.

Sonya, I can understand what you are talking about. Particularly with co-vid restrictions, you want to be free and let your art fly even if you can’t! A couple of suggestions - get out your palette knives and do one of the lessons using those instead of brushes, or try alcohol inks. The rush of trying to get your painting in before the alcohol dries uses up a lot of energy, which gets transferred to the painting.

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Thanks for the suggestion. I am a pretty expressive and loose artist. I was really aiming my post to Matt and Ashley–Or maybe sending out a message seeing if anyone else is more expressive??
My post is really about feeling out of place because everything is realistic and tight. I realize artists have their own style, but even the critiques seem to be of all tight/controlled/realistic art.
I am going to post a few more of my abstract and abstract-ish pieces. Just would like to see some style variety…

I think I know what you are referring to with the dynamic that makes things so good and interesting.

I am here from getting addicted to “Getting Sketchy”. Matt is more of a draftsman artist where the lines are supposed to do this so they need to be doing this. In the end, he makes an amazingly good drawing, though realism based, he doesn’t do much purely abstract on his own in lessons/tutorials that I’ve seen.

Ashley is more of an expressionist/feelings artist, give him some paper and some sort of medium/thing he can make marks with and you’ll end up with a very different abstract version of the same subject and the subject can be identified in a strangely wonderfully artful work.

Purely abstract is very difficult to judge, as when people see it, it may mean something different to them or the colors trigger different memories, so it is very hard to critique them was nearly anything form a red field with3 drops of paint randomly splashed on it is considered a painting. How would you critique that?

So the Members Minute and tutorials revolve around references, and different ways of portraying them. If you’ve already got that sort of figured out and want to do something crazy with oil pastels in a 60 second drawing, that is fine. The problem comes up when other people see it and don’t know if they’re trying to see something like a magic eye puzzle or just appreciated it for what it is with nice color balance and composition of nothing in particular. I don’t think there is any way to objectively decide such a painting is good or bad, and art critics also fight over it, like “Starry Night” being the worse attempt Picasso ever made instead of the best (among others), nobody agrees - too much interpretation wiggle room.

I like looking at sort of abstract but am personally not into it unless it is something I did in a certain phase of life and looking at it gives me the feelings and thoughts of that moment back. Other people would look at it and think it’s my test swatch/scratch pad to try out colors before using them for real on a different work.

So, long winded. I perceive Matt as the guy who always read the direction manual front to back before touching any of the actual game system.
Ashley is the one that just dumps everything out on the floor and gets it working somehow. Both end up with a working video game system but the installation of them looks entirely different.

–ETA: I’m more of a “Matt type” draw-er, drafting and getting this right and sticking with one medium when doing a project, things like that. I like pushing into multimedia but the work is usually mostly 1 medium with maybe some gel pen highlights and a little change of color there and little things rather than integrated to the work from the beginning. Trying to learn how to be half as good as Matt while hoping some of Ashley’s care free ways rub off on me.

That other guy,

More Abstract art still can be examined for balance, emphasized textcomposition, color, movement, etc. and the subjective like vs not like doesn’t even have to enter into the discussion.

Just my thoughts, and I am new here and have not looked it it over deeply. I Just did an overview and left out of place.

Thanks for your input and adding to discussion.


Look through he “Member’s Minute” and there are several where Matt critiques purely abstract works. I believe it’s in the title of the video to jump to them, they’re not extremely frequent but not rare, either. I’m also sort of new here and do not know how to search.

Most of us here are new to art and not confident enough to go way off into weeds with energetic art, trying to get the basics down first, as that is the majority of what I work on and look at. There are a couple others here who post their abstract works once every couple months but it isn’t a common topic of conversation, just trying to get feet on the ground before exploring further.

Quick check, here’s looking for “abstract” all over forum and lessons:

This is where I’ve seen several critiqued and reviewed from abstractions of nothing to energetic renderings of other subjects. Only problem is you need to scroll down to load the next set and the little video descriptions you can search for “expression” or “abstract” and jump between the reviews.
Here’s the link to those:

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Thanks. I will look into it more

Hey you two,

I just read your discussion.

I could not have explained it better than you @ThatOtherGuy and hopefully you @sonyanicolesmith27 will throw in your artwork in this community.

Anyhow, there is always a chance to ask Matt and Ashley directly via email, through the members minute or live on YouTube or the live lessons.

Being a beginner myself, I am very and more than happy with what Matt and Ashley are capable of regarding art, teaching art and being always kind and supportive.

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Thanks. I have submitted a piece for critique, but it hasn’t been picked. I am not sure if my piece stays “active” or if I am to resubmit every week? I guess that is a question I should email and ask.

Yes, actually i get it! I love working with colors and paints(watercolors are my favorite!:blue_heart:) and all the freestyle artwork because thats what comes naturally to me and its just so much fun but i definatly appriciate the precission and focus on details that are the main study of this website. I need to discipline myself to try something new and get better at realism and accuracy!:blush: I completely agree though, youre not alone! I would love to see a more relaxed freestyle class of some sort!

Hi !
It is true that VI contains a lot more realistic art than abstract. There are a few members who tend to create more abstract works (I am thinking of JMLD616 and Skeezix for example). I hope you can still get some value out of the Virtual Instructor, but it must be a little frustrating to be one of the few abstract artists in here. Why don’t you start a topic “Strictly Abstract” for sharing your art with like-minded members? Or, perhaps, you could ask Matt if he would consider having a Category for Abstract Lovers?

@sterlingsiam, also @marina and @philismasters have some amazing more freestyle loose artwork. I’m also a big fan of @jmld616!!!:blush:

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@thatguy I feel you in every word you wrote. I am the constant tension between doing it “right” and finding the imagination to do it “my way”, whatever that is.

I am quite new and find that learning technique is my start point and then I look to interpret rather than replicate. (Possibly because I would make a lousy forger)

The nexus point between realism and expressionism with a bit of surreal thrown in.

There’s no reason why we can’t post our abstract work here and discuss it. I can understand why there isn’t more instruction here at VI. Abstract is one of the purest forms of art and as such it probably is difficult to teach. Here at VI they are teaching us how to walk. Abstraction is taking off in a run.

I recently did a series of small abstract paintings as a way to stretch my muscles. I’ll go ahead and post them here.



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Abstract 5 (1/7) love the color bleed at the top
Number 5 is my favorite (abstract–the primary color one)
I love the peachy color of number 2/7 (Abstract 4).
I love the two off cross lines of abstract 2 (4/7)
abstract 6–that wine color created is beautiful
Abstract 7–love the salmon/yellow/blue color of the background

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Thank you very much!