I have stood before more than one abstract painting in my life and thought WTF. I rarely get it. And worse, I don't even know what I'm supposed to BE getting. But hey, have you ever tried to create it? It's a lot harder than it looks. And it's almost impossible create the really good stuff; the kind that makes your pulse quicken, your breath weaken and your heart emotional. There's just something about it that stays with you. I'm lucky enough to have a friend who is quite brilliant at doing just this. She recently set me a new painting challenge. And has it ever been challenging!
For two decades I have been painting representational portraits. I usually know exactly where I am going with a painting. I also have a really bad habit of becoming attached to my paintings; probably because I'm often attached to the subject. My friend Cheryl suggested I work on a project called the "Never Ending Painting" as an exercise in letting go. The idea is to start a painting. Every two weeks, alter it so it looks like a completely new painting. Do this 6 times. It was hard. It was hard to fall in love with parts that I had to let go of. It was hard to work on something I presently hated parts of. Mostly, it was exhausting to be in constant dialogue with a piece.
So far I have created the first two paintings in this process. I know they are not very good. But I'm learning to let go of that and to allow myself to be swept up in the process instead.
#1 The "OMG I love it so much, please don't make me paint over it" painting.
#2 The "Ugh, I'm trying too hard and I suck at this!" painting.
This weekend I plan on painting the third layer. I'll keep you posted.