At first, I was very tense and unhappy while working on Abstract One. While I do appreciate some abstract work that other artists create, I stubbornly hold on to the fact that I only want to do work that is naturalistic, and I am drawn to the more classical styles of art. Last semester I struggled through two separate classes with discussions on the guidelines of abstract art (yes, they have them) and fought to create work that I didn’t want to instantly ball up and throw in the trash. I told myself I just needed to make it through the semester and then I would be able to move on to what I prefer to create.
Now, I am surprised to admit that I miss a few things about those classes! I am currently doing Life Drawing and Master Copy painting, plus trying to squeeze in Daily Paintings of still life at home, doing studies of hands and feet in my daily journal, and many gesture and contour drawings for training the eye. This is a lot of work (I love it, but it’s still work!), and the blessing and curse of doing realistic work is that I can see easily where I need improvement–and it’s clear I have so much to learn. This can get frustrating, and the only way to improve is to keep on drawing; but progress is slow! What I miss in those abstract classes was that I was forced to experiment with different mediums, and slowly I began to think about and appreciate art in a different way. It is very hard for me to relax and allow a project to develop without a clear plan…but after a while of working on the abstract (above) in class, I found myself in the “zone,” not caring about how it was going, just scribbling and pushing color around, until another student came over and commented on how much she liked it! I looked up in surprise, and although I was still confused as to why it got great compliments from my teacher as well, I thought: I guess it’s not that bad! I kinda like it! Either way, I have to admit it was fun to do, as soon as I just relaxed and abandoned expectations of perfection.
I don’t know what my “style” as an artist is yet, all I know is the type of art I most appreciate and what I gravitate towards creating myself. I have always loved drawing and painting people, and I feel it’s safe to say I will continue to pursue painting in a realistic style. But I don’t want to box myself in yet…so I have decided to begin to do mixed media art in a journal to give myself the freedom to experiment, make mistakes and discover different ways to create. It’s unlikely I’ll ever become an abstract artist (I joke with my teachers that I might, because I fought it so hard), but I do hope to learn to allow myself to relax and stop being such a perfectionist…because the pressure of that can sometimes overwhelm me to the point of wanting to give up. That I just can’t do! I think playing with styles, textures and colors, like my Morning Coffee, may help me have a little fun, even if I don’t love the results…yet. Who knows what I’ll discover?