That’s the thing about abstract art. It has no discernible subject matter so you become, of necessity, absorbed in pure composition. Frustrating at times but I love that final phase.

I love this comment by a reader of last week’s blog post.  She too is an abstract artist.  Her description of the emotional state that arises when subject matter is not the anchor of a painting is perfect.

She reminds me of the joy in that final phase when just the slightest alteration makes a huge difference.  Bam.  In one stroke everything is in focus.  That’s the high that brings us back for more.

I wonder if those artists who plan with a sketch first and then execute have the same experience?  There must be a point for them too, when they place the final stroke and it’s done.  But they knew it was coming and how it would look.  Feels rather anti-climatic to me.

In my way of painting, I’m led by knowing that I’ll figure it out.  Eventually.

And I know what done feels like.  I guess we paint who we are.

Two other quotes I’ve been pondering this week:

1.  Your genius is just the way everything is met in you.  It’s the innate gift that makes you want to practice something.

This made so much sense to me.  The true gift is not that you work hard at something; it’s that fact that you have the desire to practice, to paint, to ride.  The difference between the higher calling and labor.

2.  The discipline of asking beautiful questions.

small encaustic painting

A Beautiful Question 12″ x 12″ encaustic on panel

A beautiful question shapes a beautiful mind.

The ability to ask beautiful questions often, in very un-beautiful moments, is one of the great disciplines of a human life.

A beautiful question starts to shape your identity as much by asking it as it does by having it answered.  You don’t have to do anything about it.  You just have to keep asking.  Before you know it, you’ll find yourself shaping a different life.

Both quotes by poet and philosopher David Whyte

As this decade comes to a close, I’m going to turn my aspirations for the next decade into beautiful questions.

And I’m going to keep asking them over and over again.  Hope you do too.