My first abstract painting was done several months ago, when I was just getting back into making art (for the first time in a couple decades, basically). And though I enjoyed it, I found myself pleasantly surprised with orders for commissioned artwork that has basically kept me busy ever since. But last weekend, I was struggling to get going on some of the commissioned work I had in front of me, and felt this rebellious urge to just do something, anything that wasn’t what was expected of me.
I don’t want to say that the pet portraits have become boring, because that’s not at all the struggle. But since I just started them a few months ago and they took off so quickly, I just never found time to play or explore on my own. Each portrait has a particular audience willing to pay me, which automatically adds some constraints to the work. Some limitations are good and inspire creativity, but when it’s the same limitations over and over for a few months, that creative spark can go dim. So, I grabbed a smaller canvas I had handy and just decided to see what would happen.
This painting was a bit messy, and I wasn’t careful at all. I needed to let loose, and just work impulsively to push that buildup of creative energy out. It had snowed that morning, a gorgeous fluffy snow that settled on the tree limbs so gracefully, so inspired by that I worked a tree and snow into the initial composition. But I was also using warm colors like red and yellow, unintentionally channeling the Chiefs, which caused some weird dissonance for me – the cool snow and hot colors. I was also painting in bits – a few strokes here and there in between lots of distractions. Bits and pieces got added until I just couldn’t add anymore. And though I didn’t love the end result, my brain felt a lot better. Looking back, I do love the composition of this one; I think it’s the harsh bright colors that make it uncomfortable to look at. And that’s okay, because it was uncomfortably loud in my head that day.
It’s bizarre how “stuck” I can feel creatively, like it’s just gone and I’m empty in that part of my brain or heart or wherever it comes from, but with a little forced effort, I feel liberated again and the positive energy starts to flow. Even after just the one painting, I was able to get rolling again on some doggies in waiting with much better energy. I will say though, that it may have unleashed a flood gate, because all I want to do now are abstracts. The freedom is incredibly therapeutic!