In February I said I would give a month to take a more abstract approach to my art.
After a month I did not stop experimenting with abstract painting. Not after two months but after four months.
Yes, now I am ready to return to plein air painting and still life.
The two things that are unsettling about abstract painting: one, you are never quite sure what you will paint and two, you are never quite sure when you are done. For my largest abstract piece I think I am almost done. Finally. Three months later.
I took several free online courses guiding us to create abstract pieces. Judy Woods, Nicholas Wilton and Louise Fletcher are readily remember-able. For me, a week was long enough for each of the courses.
Engaging in several books on painting abstractly was an interesting journey. My favorite book on abstract landscapes was written by the father-daughter team of Gareth Edwards and Kate Reeve-Edwards. Of course I exhausted myself watching numerous YouTube videos.
Most of the abstract artists I have met virtually would agree that they never really know what they will create and they never really know when they’ll be finished.
Some artists seem methodical about abstraction, and others wildly uninhibited. Admittedly, when I flung paint at a large canvas, it felt like I might be practicing my pickleball smash (although I held a brush not a paddle). However, when the “game” ended I was only mildly impressed with my artistic creation.
Painting abstractly taught me patience — seems there’s no such thing as alla prima painting with abstract painting. There’s no hope of finishing a piece in a day.
Abstract painting taught me to explore, to invent, to improvise. And that approach is what I will take with me as I turn my attention once again to plein air and still life painting.