Thoughts on Abstraction

At the risk of putting my foot in my mouth and starting out this blog post sounding like a  hypocrite, I have a confession to make. I used like not like abstract art. I understood it in the sense that I knew the principles and elements of design. But I didn’t appreciate or comprehend how it could be so popular. Insert pin drop here. It seemed too simplistic and too easy. Yikes. I cringe typing that out now.

The more I explored my artist voice in college and expanded my technique and taste, the more I began to understand the importance of abstraction in art. Time and time again it is drilled into your head during studio classes to paint what you see, but not how you see it.

Often times we try to reconcile information visually very quickly and lose important relationships that could be defining elements in the development of a painting. In a sense, almost any act of making or recreating what you see is an abstraction. It is a summary of what you see taken one step away from what is actually there. So, paint what you see –  just not how your brain wants you to see it.

I started exploring more abstract work in 2012 during a watercolor independent study focusing on transience in nature. I chose to paint the sky from my apartment window every day at least 3 different times during the day for half the semester. There was something very freeing about focusing on color, space, and line to convey what I found interesting in the world around me.

Nearly all of my art is inspired by observations of the natural world around me. I’m especially interested right now in how movement and change in the natural world evokes specific moods and emotions. I’ve been exploring this idea recently by using texture, shape, space, and value. These elements create emphasis, contrast, balance, and especially rhythm that (hopefully) evoke an emotional response from the viewer – whether it is just a certain sense of emotion or bringing a specific image or memory to mind.

There is more to come – stay tuned. I just wanted to take the time to share a bit of my heart on the subject and hopefully give a perspective on my most recent work!

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on Abstraction

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