In the abstract

Myrna asked in a comment a few weeks ago if I preferred realism to abstraction.

My first thought was “Well, my training was all in realism.”  My second thought was “When I was small, I used to watch my mother sketching, and I always wanted to be able to draw like her.”  And my third thought was that in some ways, what I want from art has changed, and in some ways it has not changed at all.

There are people who make things as a form of self-expression.  For me, it has always been about capturing something real.

Maybe that thing is the structure of the human hand, or maybe it is the way the light looks at four o-clock, or maybe it is the way a rainy afternoon makes me feel.

Recently, I’ve found myself wanting to make things that are more “abstract.”  I’m not quite sure why this is.  Maybe I’m bored with traditional landscapes.  Maybe it comes from looking at garments and thinking about color and proportion.  Maybe I just want to paint something *colorful* for a change.

But I find that abstraction is hard.  When I try to go think of abstract shapes I end up thinking of the things I know.  About shapes from science, or sewing, or places around Cambridge.

I also find that there are some I like more than others.  And that it is hard for me to articulate why some work and some don’t.  With a representational painting I can say well, the perspective is wrong or the color of the sky isn’t quite right.  Here what works or doesn’t is something more…abstract.

Maybe these little paintings are not so much abstractions as distillations.  And the thing I am trying to capture is what makes a visual scene appeal to me.

Or maybe I’m just looking for something I can finish during one of Joey’s naps.