What is it… Abstract Painting

Swedish artist, Klas Sundkvist, creates abstract paintings and tells Garde Magazine about the stories behind his special style. From the perspective of an artist – what abstract paintings really are and what they mean – Klas helps us make sense of it all.

G: Garde Magazine
K: Klas

G: How did you develop your abstract painting style?
K: The challenge in creating a painting is to find the motive. Usually for me the creative process begins with a thought, a feeling, a glimpse or something I read. A visual image is created in my mind and I normally do some sketching before I start to work on the canvas. I work exclusively with oil paint on canvas, which is a material that I find works simultaneously with my temperament. The slow drying process of the paint prevents me from rushing through the process and I have to “rest in the painting” and wait…

Things happen in the creative process, the subject changes over time and the early intentions of how the painting would look like will sometimes come to life. I go from concrete to abstract and from abstract to concrete; this continues for a long time until one day the painting says it’s ready.

G: Are there stories behind your paintings? How are you inspired to paint them?
K: I usually read a lot, wander and think about how the image is constructed. The method doesn’t always work, because it never gets as planned. But the process is still important for me.

My most recent paintings are based on Shakespeare’s sonnets. I read one or more, and sometimes I come across something that attracts my mind and the process begins.

myself with the painting nr 60

G: When would you do representational and abstract paintings?
K: All creativity comes from a need. It does not mean that I do an abstract painting. It can be semi-abstract or figurative. Normally I’ll start painting, depicting, then slowly it’s transformed into an abstract form.

G: Do colours have special meanings to you when you paint?
K: The colour is central to my paintings. It provides a mood and clues to the subject’s meaning.

G: How would you suggest our readers understand abstract paintings?
K: It’s in the eye of the beholder … the meaning of an abstract painting is that it provides no concrete answers, no motive. The answer is formed in the observer and is based on your own imagination and experience.

Abstract painting is like musicians improvising, they are searching for something that cannot be described and suddenly, at best, you can find something.

Abstract painting is a style without the prerequisite solving process, a process of hard work, late nights and oceans of coffee. It is a search outside the figurative into a world of forms and colour.

Klas is going to exhibit in Xiamen, China. Garde Magazine wishes him all the best!

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