4/14/10

DIY: Abstract art therapy


Half of my comments on other people's blogs are probably something like "I love that abstract art!" about a beautiful painting in a room.  Okay, small exaggeration, but quite true. Why am I drawn to abstract art? I just love it. Since I've been experimenting with making some of my own art, it was inevitable that I tried abstract art.
 
It started with this framed art board I picked up at a thrift shop.  It had amazing bumpy texture, which I loved.  When I painted it with gloss white house paint it was even cooler.  Just that by itself was cool.  I was tempted to leave it that way, but in my house most of my walls are white and textured - not enough contrast.

So it sat around white for awhile, until one Saturday I suddenly had enough inspiration to tackle it.

There were two colors in my mind: a golden, deep yellow and a lilac-y pink-purple.  I could see two of them, in a sort of modern, super simple graphic way, playing out against each other.


So at first I conceived this idea of two large circles,each only partway in the picture, leaving an expanse of curvy white in between.  I painted this, felt relatively pleased with myself as if I was done and left it for a few hours.

But when I saw it again, I felt it needed a bit more.  I decided a swath of smoky-blue green right through the white would add more kick.  So there I was, painting again.  But when I was done, it still wasn't right.  In fact, it was even more wrong.



I started to feel frustrated and began to enter my "It couldn't be any worse so I might as well do whatever I feel and see how it turns out" phase.

I began painting lilac splotches, like fat abstract roses over the other colors.  Interesting.

Then I started in with the yellow, playing with the idea of bunches of yellow wildflowers, receding in a field as yellow splotches of paint on canvas.

It was definitely looking interesting, but I still wasn't sure.  I let it be and came back for awhile, only to feel an overwhelming sense of it's ugliness and a childlike poutiness at my own inability.


At this point I make a side note, observing myself, gently laughing at myself, and telling myself to grow up.  Why is it that I think I should "be good" at art? The last time I spent much time on art was art class in high school. And while I loved it, I was no wunderkind. Heck, I never got into this in the first place thinking I was going to become an artist.  I just wanted to make some of my own art for my walls.  So a) I need to give myself a break.  And b) If I actually want to be good at art, I need to realize there's lots of work behind that.  And c) maybe I need to just be willing to plop down the cash for artwork I love.

So now we enter the last phase of the painting.  After deciding it was "ugly", I decided to try using white paint, thinned with water, as an uneven wash over the top, blending some of the colors together in spots, creating a more soft, flowy abstraction.

It instantly seemed much better to me, and I even felt a little thrill of "I like it" at times. It's now hanging on my art wall adding some modern shazam to cross stitch and butterflies and silhouettes and antlers.


I still look at it and wonder.  Is it hideous? Is it ridiculous? Why is it that looking at someone else's eruption of abstract doodles, I find it unerringly beautiful, while looking at my own, I question it's merit?  I can't see it for what it is.  All I see is my own insecurity.

But I'm going to live with it awhile and see if I can get more perspective and objectivity.  And yes, I'm going to try messing around with art again - fascinated that it conjures up my fear of trying something and looking ridiculous and that the very act of doing it causes me to defy that fear and hopefully, hopefully, grow on the inside.

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