I often get questions such as, “why abstract art?” Or “have you always been an abstract artist?” And even the occasional statement like, “hmm. I liked your tulips better.”
And that’s okay. I liked painting those tulips. Their colors and shapes gave me great joy. But the process didn’t move me like the abstract process does.
For years I was terrified of abstract painting. I didn’t understand it, didn’t think I had the kind of mind that could, for instance, break down a landscape, or even more challenging, break down an emotion, into abstract shapes, textures and lines. And then, about 2 years ago, I stepped into the world of Cherie Wilson through an online class on the Jeanne Oliver network. My life literally changed.
Watching and listening to Cherie with her soft encouraging voice explaining her process of laying down brush stokes of color and marks with different tools opened me right up. Underlayers of paint and mixed media peaked through, creating a surface that was rich with beauty and meaning. I was hooked.
I love this quote by Pam Caughey, another brilliant abstract artist and teacher. “Abstract art is a process of letting go, meditation, looking inward, making mistakes, taking risks, and not worrying about the end product. Abstraction comes from feeling, not fact.”
For me those feelings try to reconnect the viewer of my paintings to their own memories and emotions. The painting attached to this blog post, Love is the Bridge Between You and Everything, a writing by Rumi, is sparked by the emotions of youth, of first loves. It has hidden words and collage underneath those paint layers. Secrets.
It now has a place in the home of a good friend, who shared those youthful days with me. The painting was one of my first abstracts. I felt so many emotions while painting this: melancholy, sweetness, grief for that lost girl. But I felt.
I don’t miss those tulips at all.