I’ve posted a lot of my photos on this blog. I’m comfortable with that because I’m comfortable sharing my journey with others. I’m what you’d call an open book. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve at all times, and I don’t have a problem with creative vulnerability most of the time. Today I’m posting something a little bit different. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it, but I’m going to do it anyway because I feel like sharing the journey!

Here’s my first abstract painting:

abstract painting
Prototype – acrylic on canvas

I’ve always struggled with the idea of control in creative endeavours. Too little control and I feel like I’m not contributing enough to the process; too much control and it tends to stifle all expression and enjoyment.

When I was a teenager, I played around a little with automatic drawing. I liked the idea of losing some control in an effort to free up expression and creativity. I’ve tried to do something similar here.

The piece above is my first completed acrylic abstract painting. I like some of it, and not other parts. It was an exercise in finding a balance of control/non-control. I used a variety of objects to scrape, smudge and stamp the paint onto the canvas. I layered crude beginner’s brush strokes in an effort to lose myself in the creative process enough to feel liberated, but not so diminished in the painting process so as to feel like a third party.

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Smudges & scrapes : a foray into abstract painting
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34 thoughts on “Smudges & scrapes : a foray into abstract painting

  • February 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm
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    The subject of tempering control over expression got me thinking about this interview. I really love what Jack White (famously The White Stripes) has to say about what he took as a life-long lesson in how to approach his creative process. He started out as a young upholstering apprentice. Just have a listen to the few minutes he talks about it.
    http://youtu.be/AJgY9FtDLbs?t=2m11s

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    • February 15, 2015 at 12:48 am
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      Thanks for posting this @maesha-shannon . Jack White raises some interesting points about the role of comfort and money in the creative process, and how it can disrupt the purity of a limits driven system. I think that one of the most vital aspects in artistic endeavour is being able to self-edit and strip back the complexities of a subject to bare essentials. The combination of directed energy and limits seems to produce interesting art. Really excellent topic!

      Reply
  • February 13, 2015 at 1:31 pm
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    I’m a fan of the use of primaries. Do you like Kandinsky? He’s one of my favourites.

    Love this piece. What would you name it?

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  • January 27, 2015 at 6:22 am
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    Wow… I’m speachless. I like abstract paintings. Imagination has no borders… I love to guess what was in your mind when you painted it… πŸ™‚
    How many (more) talents do you have? πŸ™‚

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    • January 27, 2015 at 7:36 am
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      Oh…well…I was trying to keep moving across the canvas and keep up the energy. It looks kind of raw I suppose. Unrefined πŸ™‚

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      • January 27, 2015 at 11:29 am
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        Your moves created a image… I might be the only one who’s seeing it… ’cause we are so different… πŸ™‚
        I see a woman, a mother actually… in the kitchen… preparing some… shortbread for Christmas… Her baby (girl?) is watching her… πŸ™‚ The half-naked trees are to be seen through that window…
        A heart… love? For sure! Peace and love, that’s what your ‘moves’are twlling me. Oh… let’s not forget the cat under the table… hmmm I think it’s a dog… πŸ™‚

        Somebody stop me… πŸ˜‰

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        • January 28, 2015 at 2:23 pm
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          Well, I like your interpretation of it πŸ™‚ You know what? I gave it away to a family friend tonight for her Birthday. She loved it so much that I wanted to give it to her. In fact, she’s wanted it for mnonths and I only just finished it off today. She already has a space for it at their home on the wall and wants another. Not sure how I feel about that, as this is just a personal thing for me!

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          • January 29, 2015 at 5:04 am
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            Me and my imagination :))
            I know the feeling… I think I couldn’t do it without regreting it (a bit).
            She’s lucky to have it on her wall now…
            Take your time with the next one… we are here, waiting πŸ˜‰

          • January 29, 2015 at 5:07 am
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            ahh…too kind πŸ™‚ Well, I have some ideas, but need some stuff from the craft shop first. It will probably take a while, but I might post updates on it.

          • January 29, 2015 at 5:49 am
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            That would be so nice… πŸ™‚

        • January 29, 2015 at 1:26 am
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          After reading this interpretation, I see me and the mess I make in the kitchen when I cook. I love it!

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          • January 29, 2015 at 1:30 am
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            Yes, I hadn’t though ti it like that πŸ™‚ Someone else saw an angel. Now that I’ve given it away to a friend for their wall, I guess I’ll have to paint another one. Thanks for visiting!

  • January 26, 2015 at 10:00 pm
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    I like it. The colours are vibrant. The effect of the little android type man at the front gives a focus and there is enough going on to make you study it.

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    • January 27, 2015 at 2:08 am
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      Thanks Loretta πŸ™‚ I’d not thought of it as an Android symbol, but it does look like one.

      Reply
  • January 26, 2015 at 9:37 pm
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    Well I like it. Some emotion in it, but then I don’t understand abstract art very well.

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    • January 27, 2015 at 2:26 am
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      Thanks Eva. Well, I’m not even sure there’s too much to understand really. This is me just playing around to get a feel for paint, colours and tools. If it appeals on any level, then all is good.

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  • January 26, 2015 at 7:47 pm
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    you’re talented, young man! I’m serious, as I have NO artistic talent… bonne continuation! πŸ™‚
    * * *
    “Le but de l’art, c’est la dΓ©lectation…” – “Art’s purpose is one’s delight…”(Nicolas Poussin)
    https://myvirtualplayground.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/le-but-de-lart-cest-la-delectation-nicolas-poussin/

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    • January 27, 2015 at 2:25 am
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      Thanks Melanie. Honestly, I’m a beginner! I was not even going to post it actually, but the sun was out and decided to get out the camera. I like the quote. Very apt!

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  • January 26, 2015 at 7:36 pm
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    Good for you for putting it out there Steven

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    • January 27, 2015 at 2:27 am
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      haha..yep! Gotta let it go sometimes right?

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  • January 26, 2015 at 5:11 pm
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    Hi Steve. I feel that this painting has lots of energy, which to me is conveyed by both colour and strokes.

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    • January 27, 2015 at 2:30 am
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      Hey, thanks Tim πŸ™‚ Coming from you that means a lot mate. I think I can get lost in the energy required for this, which is a good thing. No matter what the end result, it’s the process I’m really focussed on here. The freeing up. The moment. The oiling of rusty parts. I think it’s a good way to get to grips with something inside, which is always valuable.

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  • January 26, 2015 at 3:51 pm
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    like these bright colours. futural works are keenly awaited πŸ˜‰

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    • January 27, 2015 at 2:32 am
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      Very kind of you, given your talents!! Funnily enough, a family friend took one look at it and told me she really wanted it for her wall. In a moment of joy, I offered it to her. Still not sure what to feel about that actually. It’s not my way really.

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      • January 27, 2015 at 9:35 am
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        when i first started selling my works, it was such a saddening feel to be lost of my paintings. any time i would have loved to buy them back…i thought i gave a part of myself away. by time i started to understand, how great it is to share my emotions, my awareness, quasi being a part of whole. but these aren’t my thoughts while painting, in that world i’m doing it just for myself.

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        • February 10, 2015 at 5:28 am
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          I can understand, even though this is the only painting I’ve done and given away! I think it’s always wisest to do these things for ourselves first and foremost.

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          • February 10, 2015 at 6:42 am
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            i have made my experience painting per order, too. those works made my inspiration to suffer hard. at the end the customers were very satisfied, me not. honestly, i have learned my lesson πŸ˜‰

          • February 10, 2015 at 7:04 am
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            Did people tell you exactly what they wanted in the painting at those times?

          • February 10, 2015 at 9:10 am
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            mostly they liked my paintings, but wanted to have them in other colours…boaah, hues maybe matching better to their coach πŸ˜‰

          • February 10, 2015 at 9:13 am
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            @sirpamononen Ahh..so they’d choose their own colours? Wow, that could be interesting if they chose odd colour combinations!!

          • February 10, 2015 at 9:16 am
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            *smile*

  • January 26, 2015 at 3:48 pm
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    Thanks for sharing, Steve. I would like to start painting, but so far haven’t found time to do it. Reading your process is a nice inspiration. Helen

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    • January 27, 2015 at 2:34 am
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      Hi Helen! Thank you. I felt exactly the same way before I picked up the brush and scraping tools. Once I’d started it, I had to finish. It was like a commitment. A bit hair raising and draining, but good fun in the end. I’d encourage you to just grab some canvas, some paints and brushes, and just free yourself up. Do it for you!

      Reply

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