Behind-the-scenes: Why I paint abstract vs. realistic
Ok, brace yourself for some serious philosophical thinking today on Art by Megan. Recently, my friend Amy of Little Awkward Studio asked me “Why do you paint abstract oceans instead of "realistic" ones?”. And my little mind was blown. I had never stopped to think about this.
So, let’s think about the style of painting for a bit together, shall we?
One of the most interesting things to me about art, in general, is the style that an artist chooses for their work. Why for example does Basquiat scribble and use what some consider “childish” strokes in his work? Why did Monet use such a unique style that was considered to be “terrible” by critics back before Impressionism began? Why are some artists so free in their large gestures (DeKooning, Jackson Pollock, and Helen Frankenthaler) and others so tight, precise and accurate? (Edward Hopper, DaVinci, Chuck Close...)
- Is it the artist’s personality that makes them paint a certain way?
- Does it have to do with their physical limitations or strengths? (Nope, because look at Chuck Close's work…)
- Does it have to do with skill? (also, no. Picasso is a perfect example of this. He was a boy-genius and could sketch with amazing accuracy. However, he abandoned this to pursue a new form and helped to create the movement known as Cubism.)
Ok, so it must boil down to artistic expression, philosophical thought, or intuition.
Yes. That’s my answer, Amy.
For me, I have always been inspired by the art of the Impressionists. I love chunky colors and texture. I love traveling and seeing old buildings (think Old San Juan, Puerto Rico or Havana, Cuba) and the peeling paint. I am attracted to imperfect and raw. (Thank goodness, because that’s a perfect metaphor for my life, but I digress…)
So, in my art, I paint “imperfectly”. I love playful lines, blobs of paint, brush strokes and texture, texture, texture. Bring on the acrylic lumpiness. I prefer to work on paper and canvas because they lend themselves well to creating texture and you can add on top of existing texture to create even more.
Maybe I paint abstractly because that’s just how my brain works. I like to add, add, add and I love learning about people and their many layers.
There you have it. That’s why.
Oh, and also, a lot of artists get the question of abstract vs. realistic because people want to know if they “can draw”. I can draw, just not realistically. You probably can too, just try it out sometime.