“I’m Starting to Like the Weird Stuff”

I’ve laughingly written many times about my husband’s attitude toward abstract art. He doesn’t like it. He doesn’t “get” it. He doesn’t understand it and, frankly, doesn’t want to. He believes art should look like something, represent something, be recognizable and be at least somewhat realistic. Why anyone would want some weird abstract — that’s his favorite word for abstract art — hanging on their wall is incomprehensible to him.

At least, that’s how it’s always been. But lately, he’s begun to develop not only an awareness of abstract art but a bit of an appreciation for it. Or maybe not totally abstract, but — going back to his favorite word — art that is definitely a bit weird. We’re talking about my art, you see.

He’s retired now, so he’s spending more time downstairs where my art studio is located. He comes strolling through the studio at least once each morning, and I have to say, my studio is truly looking more impressive day by day. There are drawings and paintings everywhere! I have oil paintings on drying racks and on easels. I have lots of watercolors, graphite drawings, and oil pastels sitting along the bookshelves here. The walls are covered with paintings, too, some professionally framed and matted — and with prize ribbons attached — and others are simply tacked up here and there, like the “Happy Chicken” I drew recently. He’s pinned to the bulletin board above my easel, always reminding me to have fun with my art. There’s a few drawings of cupcakes there, too. Maybe you remember them.

Although most of my art is representational, there’s a lot of impressionist art, a lot of loose watercolor art, and a lot of art that’s experimental, highly-stylized, playful, random, or truly abstract. Taken together as a whole, a visit to my studio is a visual feast, if I do say so myself. Not that the work is breath-taking or beautiful. It’s just that it’s all so bright and colorful. It represents such a wide variety of styles. It’s definitely eclectic, and it definitely does include a lot of weird art.

I still consider this mixed media work — Dancing Women — as the strangest piece of art I’ve created. When I did this, I said then that I had no idea what it was all about. I still feel that way when I look at it.

Yet for all its weirdness, it’s one of the first pieces that catches a visitor’s eye whenever anyone comes to the studio. They pick it up, they look at it from different directions, they puzzle over it… and all the while, they actually like it. Maybe it’s just because it’s different.

And then there’s this abstract I created while following a tutorial at Craftsy. I like this, and much to my surprise, my husband also likes this painting now. Maybe it’s the colors or the movement of the lines. I keep it sitting out on the shelf where I can see it.

Some of my weird art is little more than playful scribbles. This piece has no meaning, no purpose, no sort of thought behind it. It’s just inexplicable, so that’s the title I’ve given it.

And maybe you remember my little musical group gathered around a quickly-drawn piano. It was just a figment of my imagination, something I saw in the random splotches of paint on the paper.

Because I have grown so much as an artist over the last two years, and because I’ve tried so many new techniques, I have an entire studio filled with weirdness, but the interesting thing is that it’s a creative weirdness. It’s actually artistic in its own weird way.

I won’t show you much more of my weird art, and that’s partly because the individual pieces do seem weird. Yet when all this weirdness comes together, it expresses something more. It’s one of those instances where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. So, I’ll share just one more and then move on.

This ink drawing, you can probably guess, is from my neurographic drawing project.

Now, it would be one thing for me to happily say “I like the art I’m making.” I should be able to say that, right? But it’s another thing to have other people looking around and commenting — favorably — upon what they see in my studio. That’s a good feeling.

The most surprising thing, though, was one recent morning when my husband stood in awe, looking around and then saying, “You know, I’m even starting to like the weird stuff.” To me, that’s the greatest compliment of all, and it’s an indication to me that there is something artistic in what I’m doing, that I’m developing the ability to create that indefinable something that we call art.

You know what? I’m liking the weird stuff too. I’m liking it a lot. I hope you like it too, because you’ll probably be seeing a lot more weird art in the future.

17 Comments

  1. When I did art school many years ago they defined abstract art as something that was taken from something else. I remember photocopying a pencil case, ripping up the pieces and joining them up to create my ‘abstract’. I think those days are now long gone.

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    1. Did you like the abstract you created? I saw a video presentation about abstract art where the instructor did something similar. He suggested taking photocopies of art we had made, cutting it up, rearranging it and then using that as the basis for an abstract work. I tried it, but I just didn’t “feel” anything in what I was creating. Whatever abstract art is or isn’t… well, if I don’t feel something from it, I don’t care for it. Still, I did think the idea was creative. There are a lot of possibilities there. Maybe I’ll try it again one day. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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  2. My ex husband was like that when i started my art journey back in 2009 ( before our divorce).At first he was just pacifying me, grateful to have something else to buy me other than Yankee Candles…lol..buti started to notice after a while he would go in my studio quietly each morning to see what i had done. He never really talked about it, and my guess is that he didnt quite understand my new little “hobby”.But i appreciated that he was curious anyway:)

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    1. I’m glad my husband is supportive of my art, otherwise there’s no way I would still be on this art journey. It surprised me, honestly. When I first told him I was learning to draw, I really expected him to laugh. But he didn’t. He’s always encouraged me, but he’s just never cared for the “weird stuff” before. Now, though, my studio is so colorful, and even the weird things attract attention, so, yeah, it’s fun that he’s starting to appreciate “art” as being more than my landscape paintings. And BTW, nothing wrong with having lots of Yankee candles!

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  3. My husband sounds like yours. He wants his art to be easily understood. He’s never been one for expressing emotion so I wonder if that’s part of it. However he’s incredibly supportive and my biggest cheerleader. I’m just starting to explore more expressive painting so who knows. Thanks for sharing your experience. And I love your “weird” stuff.

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    1. Yes, it definitely IS fun. I think I appreciate the “weird” art more than my more “normal” landscape paintings. Creativity seems to come through when we use it in “weird” ways.

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      1. LOL… yep. I wear my weirdness with pride. There’s a quote that goes around on the internet that attributed to Dr. Seuss, but whether or not he really said it is unknown. It’s about how we’re all a little bit weird, and then when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we call it love. My husband and I are always laughing about our “compatible weirdness.”

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