Embracing the Challenges of Abstract Art
Week 24 of the Mastery Program was a roller coaster of emotion.
I had to tackle the daunting task of painting not one, but two abstract pieces, which is something I find incredibly challenging. While I enjoy creating abstract marks and backgrounds for my women, relying on familiar imagery has always been my comfort zone when it comes to composing a piece with emotional impact. However, this assignment demanded that I work within a specific colour theme, and I chose the contrasting yet harmonious combination of magenta and blue-green.
On the first piece, I attempted to keep the colours relatively light and layered with rich, bright hues over a neutral tan/peach background to rein in my tendency to go overboard with colours. For the second piece, I envisioned a darker and moodier background that would allow me to overlay lighter colours and explore more jewel tones instead of pastels.
The creative process for these paintings spanned two days, and the first day was particularly challenging. Abstract art demands complete presence and focus on what's unfolding on the canvas, but I found my mind cluttered with a million other thoughts. To truly immerse myself in the work.
I had to set all distractions aside on the second day and put my devices on "do not disturb" mode to find a sense of peace and enjoyment in the process.
What added to the pressure was the aspect of critiquing my own work, which Elli, introduced during the week. I have experience with critiques from my four years in art school, but this was a different level altogether. Elli's criteria for evaluation focused on five fields of depth in our abstracts and how they would appeal to viewers at different distances, from three feet, to fifteen feet, and even thirty feet away. It felt like a lot to remember and consider, and it left me feeling overwhelmed and defeated, especially when abstract art isn't my forté to begin with.
However, I soon realised the immense value of Elli's insights. In my art school days, critiques primarily revolved around intellectual and conceptual aspects, but here, the focus was on creating art that would be commercially viable.
This shift in perspective opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities.
While intellectually stimulating art is essential, understanding the marketability of my work is equally crucial if I want to connect with a broader audience.
As the week concluded, I found myself with a wealth of food for thought and a practical checklist to evaluate and improve my art moving forward.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I decided to take it one step at a time, focusing on improving one element while staying true to my creative vision.
Week 24 was a transformative journey that pushed me out of my comfort zone, expanded my understanding of painting, and provided me with valuable tools to grow as an artist. I am excited to embrace the challenges ahead and continue honing my craft with newfound clarity and purpose.