I’ve always enjoyed viewing abstract art. I know, though, there are a lot of people who don’t “get it”. My husband is one of them. He can’t grasp the idea of art as an expression of pure feeling. For him, art should look like something.
As I visit different art blogs each morning, I’m amazed by the creative abstractions I see. Colorful images and textures play across the paper, inviting me to see whatever I choose to see. Many are happy images with bright, playful hues. Others are darker, more somber, more thoughtful.
On occasion, I’ve tried to explain to my husband how difficult it can be to create a good piece of abstract art. He still doesn’t “get it”. Oh, but I do. Whenever I put a fresh sheet of watercolor paper on my drawing board and think about creating something abstract, I go as blank as the page. Where does one even begin?
“Paint what you feel.”
That’s what I’ve heard so many artists say. For me, though, those words didn’t explain the magic and mystery that goes into an abstract work of art. I’m only now beginning to find my voice. Even though I might know what I want to say, I’m not yet sure how to say it.
But then, emotions began building up within me last night. I wanted to create something — anything — so I toyed with a few ideas. With my watercolors, I began painting a tree. Tall, majestic, covered with vines of ivy. It was looking good. Until I tried to add leaves.
I’d made another of those mistakes that could have been avoided, you see. I’d mixed enough color to do the ivy growing around the trunk, but not enough for the leaves. Of course, I wanted the leaves to be slightly different in color, so I set about mixing another green.
Each time I use green, I discover again why it has such a bad reputation among artists. I ruined my tree with the awful green I concocted on my palette, and nothing was going to fix it. I tried washing it all off. I tried scrubbing it all off. I knew I was fighting a battle against this demon green.
I didn’t want the paper to go to waste, however. I was using my Arches paper, too costly to just toss in the trash. So, I turned it over, looked at that demon green again, picked up a paintbrush, and let my feelings go.
I was angry with green, frustrated by green, hurt by green. I unleashed the demon on the page and watched him writhe around. I was in control now, and I loved watching the color twist and swirl. I dabbed in a bit of gray like some gaping hole in the ground, opening up, ready to swallow the demon and call him back to the hell from which he had come.
Did I mention that my imagination sometimes gets carried away?
My demon green is now at rest. I’ve made peace with the color — for now. I’ve also discovered the pure joy of expressing what I feel through the power of abstract art.
I’d love to hear what this painting says to you!