Art, Life & Relationships

Art, like life is all about relationships and choices. You choose your colors, your medium, and the tools and techniques you will use to create your work of art. You may have a very specific concept or no plan at all.  Personally I like to have a very loosely structured concept and color choices.. With an abstract painting I begin the process by laying down paint on the canvas until something strikes me. It could be an interesting shape or the special way the colors have blended together. Gradually I become immersed in the moment and ideas begin flowing. There are so many options to choose from in an abstract painting. I am really enjoying the process.

Then the exhileration begins to wane. I notice that a few areas are not quite working.  Suddenly I am not feeling very good about the direction of my creation. I refer to it as the time in the desert and I am at a loss for ideas. A little bit of doubt creeps in and I am wondering if this painting is going to work out at all. This is the stage where I stop and come back the next day to get a fresh perspective.

With the benefit of a good nights sleep I rise early in the morning eager to make my assessment of the painting. I observe what I like and what I don’t like. One technique that I use a lot is I keep what I do like and cover what I don't like with white paint. In the entrepreneurial world, this is called a pivot. Creating a work of art is like a mini snapshot of life without the personal consequences. 

So, I begin to paint again without the benefit of a clue and suddenly an idea pops in and I am back in business. It is quite a process, but the allure is that I become lost in it. The outside world disappears and it is just me and my creation. The process has a tension and a struggle that most artists experience and I am not always happy with my results. The big reward comes when I finally have a finished painting I am satisfied with. Then I can't wait to do it again.

While there is a great deal of freedom in abstract art, there are some fundamental rules that serve as a foundation to help me create consistent pieces. I have found this to be true in every new endeavor of life that I decide to jump into.  Once I decide to learn a new thing, I inundate myself with information about it. Especially the rules. For me personally rules are not a limitation, but a foundation for freedom. The freedom to have some success so I don’t get discouraged in the learning phase, and the freedom to break the rules I want to break once I have my sea legs.

One of those fundamental rules of a painting is about relationship. Everything in the painting is about the relationship of the colors and shapes. If you make even a small change to a shape, color or specific area of the painting, it changes the relationship of all the other parts. The job of the artist is to decide how to make those relationships complement one another. The beautiful thing about art is, I can control the relationships in my art. I can play around with them until I am satisfied that the whole piece is working together.

Now if I could only paint the world we live in.




Art Sets You Free

I taught myself to paint watching YouTube videos. We were redecorating and I had a set of frames I needed to match the colors of my décor and I have always loved abstract art. I was so amazed that I could create something I liked. I was hooked. I tried every technique on YouTube I could find. Special thanks to all the artists who take the time to share. I am a person who loves to share as well. After 3 months of painting, I decided to have my own dinner/art, and of course wine party. I thought that if I could do it, my friends would want to do it to.

It was my first experience teaching abstract art after 3 months of learning to do it myself. My friends did not turn out to be quite as excited about it as I was, but it was a fun party.


For the next year, I painted obsessively. Trying different materials and techniques. I rented a space at a local shop. I sold a few pieces, but it was a challenge. Having people pass up and critique my creations made me question my ability. After all, I was self-taught and I had only been painting for 6 months. Then 6 months later, I closed the shop space. I continued to paint, but it took a year to gain back my confidence.


I am now at a stage where I have experimented and learned so many techniques, I want to develop my own style and approach to my paintings. It is beginning to emerge, and that is both exciting and challenging. Of course, I want more. I want to dig deeper. I am wonderfully addicted to the creative process.


I have been studying the great artists of history. Reading about their lives, their struggles and how their cutting-edge art birthed new movements in the art world.  I am discovering the great contemporary artists of today. Art that expresses cultural upheaval, trauma and human suffering moves me to think in new ways about the effect that art can have. As an artist, which now I do comfortably refer to myself as, I wonder what I can express through the art I create.


Being a human being, I of course have experienced and survived trauma. I have learned many things about life and I love the fact that learning how to navigate life’s challenges is a never-ending process. I struggle to process all this information like we all do.


So, after all this serious reflection on art, today I wake up and Pinterest has suggested a beautiful abstract piece that takes my breath away. Nothing serious about it, but for me it was just pure beauty. The vibrant colors, the depth, the shapes and they play with each other.


My conclusion for now is that art can be created just for the joy of it or to make a statement. That is the amazing thing about art. It is so free. There are no set rules. We have so many rules in our society, but with art, we can be free.