The Big Event

Remember last summer? Remember the abstract expression prompts I started following from Artist magazine? Here’s another of the acrylic abstracts that resulted from that project. It’s titled The Big Event because that was the topic for the prompt.

Special K

Abstract art, as you know if you’ve read much of this blog, is an art genre that has always puzzled me. Working on this painting left me even more bewildered. I suppose I tend to over-think things, especially where abstract art is concerned. I should probably just say, “Well, it is what it is,” and let it go at that.

The prompt was to choose an event, a person, or a scene and convey its meaning through design elements. I chose “The Big Backyard” — a special exhibition at Powell Gardens. We had recently attended the event with two grandsons.

But how to represent the event using only design elements? The object was to avoid representational  art forms, and for me, that was more than a challenge. I had no idea how to do it.

I started with blue for the bright blue skies. Oops! Was I being representational? I added yellow to represent sunlight and warmth — it was a very hot day. Again, I stopped, wondering if I were being symbolic or representational, and did it really matter? Like I said, I think too much about things like this.

One of the main attractions at The Big Backyard exhibit was a huge Adirondack chair. The idea of the exhibit was showing ordinary backyard objects in a much-larger-than-life size. There were giant bugs, a giant checkerboard laid out on the ground, a giant watering can, and much more.

To give you an idea of the size, here’s a photo of my large husband in the chair. Oh, by the way, just ignore the sticker on his forehead. The grandsons thought that would be fun.

Big Backyard Chair

Now, look again at my painting, and you’ll probably recognize the chair. Mine’s yellow instead of pink, and I no sooner drew the basic lines when I stopped myself once again.

I was being representational. I was drawing a chair, not using design elements. In my head, the lines between the two got very blurred, and again, I have to look back now and ask “What does it matter?” I used a prompt; I completed an abstract painting.

What’s funny, though, is that once I’d finished the painting I saw something entirely different in it. If you look at the two bold strokes that form the chair, you’ll notice that I took a toothpick and scratched in lines — being representational again — to show the wood slats of the chair. As I stepped back after completing the painting, all I could see when I looked at it was a ruler. I imagined books. A school desk. Instead of being a playful backyard scene, my painting seemed more like going back to school.

Oh, well. That’s the thing about abstract art. It can be a lot of different things. And later, when I turned the picture sideways, all I could see was the letter K — K for Kraus, maybe. After a while I started referring to the picture as Special K.

There’s not really anything special about the painting, but it was fun to do even though it drove me bonkers trying to differentiate between design elements, symbolism, and representational art.

I’d like to think that maybe this painting embodies all three of those concepts, but there I go thinking again. Yep. I think too much.

What do YOU think?



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