Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Realistic Abstracts by Kees van Aalst

9" x 9" (23cm x 23cm) Paperback 160 pages

Published in 2010 by Search Press, with a reprint in 2011, this is a translation of a book originally published in Holland.  The concept is aptly described by the title `Realistic Abstracts'. I take this to mean an abstract painting with small areas of realism. Some months ago I saw something about this book and read the reviews on Amazon. They were generally positive and may have been the first time I heard about Viktoria Prischedko, who is described as one of the contributing artists. The painting on the cover is by Viktoria.

I find this an interesting book and am intrigued by this concept of realism allied to abstraction. Charles Reid talks about small areas of detail coupled with large areas of generality which isn't that different, although the resulting execution by the artists highlighted in the book is. Including the author twelve artists are listed as contributors, although all the text seems to be by Kees van Aalst. This method of painting seems to be very much in vogue on the Continent, indeed they appear to be pioneering it with many exciting artists painting in  a variety of styles roughly linked with the overall concept.

This isn't a book for beginners but something to encourage more experienced painters to `develop your own way of painting in this exciting style'. It is certainly making me think how I can incorporate some of the ideas and concepts into my current way of painting. The book is mainly illustrative although there is fair amount of text. One of the complaints on Amazon reviews was the lack of text but I don't agree with that.

Of the contributing artists the ones that I liked most are Viktoria and Slawa Prischedko , Cao Bei-An , Piet Lap, Xavier Swolfs   and Helen Vriesendorp . Kees van Aalst's website is

The retail price is £12.99 Uk and US $25.95. I bought mine on Amazon, from one of their partners, for just under £11 including carriage. The SAA are selling it (`a best seller') for £9.99 and are currently out of stock. If you are interested in loose and impressionistic painting then it is certainly well worth obtaining.


Anonymous said...


If you enjoy the art of Xavier Swolfs, you might also enjoy William Wray:

--CJGreengrass from WC

Peter Ward said...

Thanks Claude I'll look him up. Of those listed he was marginal and Cao Bei-an and the Prischedko's are the ones I like best.

Yvonne Harry said...

I think I might look into getting a copy of that, it looks really exciting.

Peter Ward said...

I'll bring it down on Thursday Yvonne for you to look at. It is pretty abstract but the idea seems to be you can ally realism to abstraction to whatever degree you wish. It has certainly made me think.