Those of you who follow me on Facebook may have already seen this, but I thought I’d share it with you here with a bit more explanation.
I often get asked questions like “how do you know when an abstract artwork is finished?” And “isn’t it just random blobs of paint? Anyone could do that”
I can’t speak for all artists, but for me, the process of creating an abstract artwork is usually emotional, part instinct part deliberation, and often complex.
It begins with inspiration. This could be anything from art by another artist, something I’ve seen that day to something I’m feeling or need to express.
Taking my painting “Eleventh Hour” as an example, the inspiration started with me watching the film Pollock about the art and life of Jackson Pollock.
I was also feeling a certain serenity and clarity as I began this, which shows in my initial colour choices.
This was my first layer and clearly (to me anyway) not even close to finished.
The next layer came the next day, and I was seemingly in quite a different mood. At this point though, the artwork seemed to take on a life of its own.
At this midway point I often feel like I have lost control of a piece, as though it is dictating how it looks, and I sometimes even hate it at that stage.
The hate came a bit later in this work, and I couldn’t bring myself to take a photo as it just looked too “wrong”.
But soon enough I had charge of my brush again, was back in control and loving it.
There comes a moment when you know an artwork is finished. It looks finished, it feels finished and it’s just waiting for your signature. It’s just plain obvious when it’s completed, for me. If there is any doubt in my mind, then it’s not done. I know other artists feel differently about that and continue to work on things over and over. Apparently Leonardo Da Vinci worked on the Mona Lisa for his entire life!
But for me, when it’s done, there is no question.
As to the question of random? Not random at all, but sometimes subconscious or instinctive, yes. Could anyone do it? Yes and no.
Yes, I firmly believe everyone has it in them to paint, it’s a learned skill like driving a car or cooking a cake. Some people have particular talents and passions, but anyone can learn.
No, because nobody would produce exactly the same artwork as me or anyone else (even the very best forgeries aren’t identical to the original).
So there you have it. My abstract art goes through a lot of changes and different personalities before it emerges as a fully fledged painting to be hung on the wall.
At some point I’ll share the process of my representational art too, which is completely different!!