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Seeing Where the Road Goes

February 9, 2014

On the Road 2

Trust that little voice in your head that says

‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if…’; And then do it. – Duane Michals

The most exciting thing for me about making abstract art is anticipating what happens next. It’s a little like following an unfamiliar road with lots of twists and turns. I may start with an idea or theme in mind, but rarely does the result turn out to be anything I’d first imagined. Many times I’m surprised by something even more interesting than the original inspiration. The important thing is to start and just see where it goes.

The fun of it all is playing with paper, paint, canvas, and marking tools, and saying “This might be interesting” or “What if I moved this over there?” Sometimes I will lay down a stroke or a line, then cover it up again or wipe part of it away. But a ghost of it might still be there, subtly influencing what comes next.

There is no right or wrong. After all, if the whole thing is deemed a failure in the end, I can learn from it and move on. But if I feel it’s been a success, that’s always a good day.

Echoes 22 Wiping Squiggles

The painting shown here is buried under many more coats of paint by now. In fact, I think I want to go find it in my studio and see whatever happened to it.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2014 10:30 am

    Always look forward to your Blogs, Martha. They have always and still are an inspiration to me. This is so true about our art – direction or no direction and then the road becomes it’s own. When you find the piece let us know.

  2. February 9, 2014 10:38 am

    So beautifully said Martha, and an inspiration for all of us!

  3. joarty1 permalink
    February 9, 2014 1:47 pm

    I think you read my mind. Abstract art is actually more challenging than ‘look and put’. Although you can play for ages…when it comes to the final tweaking you really need to put your thinking cap on to make it work.

  4. February 9, 2014 4:00 pm

    You know I love the freedom of spirit you create with! I’ve got to ask, if you went looking for this particular canvas, would you recognise it, even with subsequent layers? Does it retain a certain something that helps you identify each one?

    • February 9, 2014 5:39 pm

      This one might be pretty obvious with that big area of texture down one side. Going right now to look for it! Thanks for your encouragement. Some days you are what keeps me going.

  5. February 9, 2014 7:06 pm

    I also save failed watercolor paintings or practice sheets to use as “starts” or backgrounds, so you don’t h ave the dreaded white paper. Stencil Girl has a new book out and she used the Mr. Clean magic eraser in a way I hadn’t thought of before. She painted an area with acrylic paint, then put a stencil over and used a dampened piece of magic eraser to remove some of the paint where the stencil was, like a reverse way of painting. It doesn’t say, but i believe the paint was dry before using the sponge. Be sure to use the basic Mr Clean, not the extra strength.

  6. Barbara permalink
    February 10, 2014 4:00 am

    I have been on an “absent List” from working with abstract painting. Last night I set up a canvas and decided enough time had been wasted not creating these past few months, so it was time to go for it again.
    I spread, mixed, even attacked the canvas like a wild woman only to find some interesting results I will further dabble with.
    Self expression in this way brings a light at the end of a long, dark tunnel that sometime holds capture our mind and spirit.
    Abstract in my humble opinion is an excellent way to let go and grow. Take a chance. Find out who you really are.
    Abstracts have a way of speaking the truth. Each with a message of it’s own, besides being one of a kind, just as each of us are ass we travel along the road of life!


    • February 10, 2014 6:40 am

      Barbara, I so agree. I think we learn a lot about ourselves a we make art. In addition, it provides a meditative space where growth can happen.

      • Barbara permalink
        February 10, 2014 6:50 am

        Thank you Martha. I will soon be 80 years old. The time is now to rediscover what once was lost within as well as around me. I find abstract art has a way of healing while exploring our true self.

      • February 10, 2014 3:01 pm

        Bravo for you, Barbara! Some of my best artist friends are 80 plus years old! Artists never retire — we just keep growing!

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