Posts tagged abstract art

A common question people ask of artists is “Where do you get your inspiration”?  Moments of inspiration come at various unpredicted moments. I most commonly find insight, answers, and inspiration in the moment of half sleep and half wake in the morning before I even open my eyes.

The above pictures illustrate a moment of inspiration I had.  I was sitting at the dining table with my husband listening to him talk about work when I just couldn’t stop being drawn to this tulip which was hanging onto it’s petals in the last moments of it’s life while the sun illuminated it from within it seemed.  Such a moment of fragility was in front of me. I could have sneezed and it would have dropped it’s petals.

While I mmm-hmmed to my husband still listening if only a little bit, I gently stole away to grab my phone and take a picture.  It was a fleeting moment of delicacy captured just in time. Moments later petals began to drop, the last bits of strength in it’s fibers breaking away.  That was a moment. The next day I painted “Handle with Care”.

Another eloquent life analogy gifted by a flower and observed at just the right moment in time. That’s creative inspiration.

Photo by Alan Cabello on

In in my last post “I don’t have a creative bone in my body”, I talked about how creating abstract art is about being brave and letting your instincts come forth. It requires recognizing when the inner critic is lurking and to shoo him away before he starts interfering with your mojo. And some days he is really, really, really persistent. Here are some of the things I catch my inner critic saying.

You’re not a real artist. Art is a selfish indulgence. Why has it taken you so long to come this far? You can’t draw. Now you’ve ruined it. People will see right through you and know you’re a fraud. Your expressions are trite.Seriously, ouch. This is the part that requires bravery. I like to head him off by inviting him in.

I like to think of creative instincts as important impulses to recognize as they come forth. And yes, you have them (see previous post). Now you might be saying I have no idea what you are talking about or I know exactly what you are talking about. When you recognize the creative impulse it’s important not to think too much. For me, it means taking action in my studio and starting the work. I decide in advance that I will not temper the creative impulses that show up and that I will not take heed of my inner critic. It means making random, impulse driven marks with all kinds of materials. It means trusting what you have learned before this moment to come forth at the right time. YES! This is one place where acting on your impulses without thinking it through is embraced! Your work will reward you for acting on your impulses. But not every time, sorry. An art journal or inexpensive paper is a great place to begin this practice. I use materials that I won’t worry about wasting. The creative instinct is curiosity and experimentation.

In retrospect I can look back at all of the ways I have played it safe artistically. Have you learned to be brave and trust your instincts? Are you playing it safe? Are you somewhere in between?


Staying Focused  Acrylic on Canvas Panel

Maybe you have skimmed the art and formed a first impression. Maybe you have attached some descriptive words to the art.  Attaching words to my art is a challenge for me. Giving the art a title for example, or answering questions about what I was thinking when I was painting can be challenging because the language of visual art is the art.  The viewer’s inquiry is part of the success of the painting.  Representational paintings are objective in nature and replicate something the viewer can readily see and respond “Aha! That looks exactly like an apple!” The artist is translating something they see outwardly on their canvas. Abstract art is made by the artist  looking inward for inspiration and allowing each mark to direct what comes next.  Suddenly there is  something that exists for all to see that did not exist a short while before!  There are principals that hold true for all types of work like form, composition, color, and value.  A basic understanding of these things is necessary to make good art. I use these guidelines to create as well as evaluate the work I make. You can also use these principals in evaluating abstract art if you are not sure what to look for.

What makes great art? There are a lot of opinions on that.  I am constantly in pursuit of creating the always elusive great painting.  I may never paint it.  How depressing is that? The best I can do is take the knowledge and experience that I collect along my artists journey and allow it to intertwine with my art instinct.  Ethereal, I know.

I paint because it allows me to express what is inside and around me in a way that words do not.  I love words! I love to read and truly get excited by others ability to eloquently state the human experience in a way that is instantly relatable. Writing is a creative gift! I paint because I am a visual and tactile person who likes to get her hands dirty and create! I put my hands directly in every painting.  I paint because each painting is an adventure and an exploration. While making things on a daily basis one develops a relationship with the materials and the subtleties of the process. Like a writer, I also strive to create an experience that is relatable. Does viewing a painting elicit an emotion in you?

What is my hope for my painting practice?  To continually learn and express myself visually in a way that (some) people can relate too. I will paint regardless because it gives my life meaning and interest, but it is so gratifying for a person to look at my work and feel something, anything! Aesthetic pleasure, fascination, mystery, disdain, or interest.  Do you want to explore the work further? I consider that a successful painting! I strive to make people look at whats been created and wonder how did she do that? Where does that come from? How do I feel in response to it?

If you connect with my work, visit often, comment, and ask questions. And thank you for being interested enough to read this post!  If you would like to continue this relationship follow me on instagram @byoungquistart and like my FB page byoungquistart.  You can also receive these blog posts directly in your inbox by entering your email below at the bottom of this page. Be assured, I will not abuse the privilege.