The image at the bottom of the page above was worked in charcoal and considered the opposites dense/sparse, more/less, dark/light. The dots have not reproduced too clearly but I was looking at how to move from soft to hard - marks made with charcoal to marks made with graphite. How do you change one mark into another? What spacing do you use? What shape?
Our afternoon exercise was to take a small portion of a painting and explore how it was achieved. What was painted on top of what? How is the paint applied? Look at the sizes of the brushmarks. Look at the consistency of the paint. Was a background applied first? Look at the quality of the edges. I chose a painting by Kandinsky to analyse - Improvisation 14 - and took a small section which did actually have an area resembling a tree. I concerned myself with the application of (in my case) the oil pastels and not in describing a tree.
I'm not sure if I'm explaining myself very well as I seem to be talking more about analysing the marks and how they're put on rather than talking about abstract painting. However the idea of starting with abstract concepts (words) and finding ways of representing them with marks or colours seems a good starting point to me. I hope I can find the time to explore this further.
I don't think I'm going to make a lot of sense tonight as I'm so tired (even after a 2 hour kip this afternoon) so I'm off for a quick reccy of my fave blogs and then bed.