Painting #43

#43 Abstract (Oil in Canvas on Panel, 30 x 32 cm)

Here is my painting #43:

#43 Abstract (Oil in Canvas on Panel, 30 x 32 cm)
#43 Abstract (Oil in Canvas on Panel, 30 x 32 cm)

To be honest, this is a rework of the corpse of my Painting #31 (second take). So strictly speaking, this is take 3. I have always liked this painting, but comparing it side-by-side to some of my favourite abstracts in Pinterest, I could see I was trying too hard – the painting had some good elements but was too busy. So I decided to rework this in the same colour, but more opaque and then just leaving a smaller active area. I think the outcome is an improvement?

This was done almost as an afterthought to my afternoon painting session, after I had added more depth and glazes on my works in progress. I was shocked at how easily the image came out despite a fairly low level of concentration – my son was in the studio, talking incessantly, asking this and that, commenting on which stroke he liked and giving a 13-year old expert opinion for me to digest. Sacred time…

I feel there is a threshold, on the edge of representational and abstract work, and I am teetering on that threshold, lacking the self-confidence to look and say: “Yes, I did that, it is work from my hand, and I approve of it”.

For me, the move away from a strict recipe, a format to follow and a source image to compare to in order to assess: success or failure – that is where my limitation lies. To start with pure abstraction and still retain elements of light and shadow – what a thing to strive for!

I read again this afternoon passages from one of my favourite books, Ernest Becker’s Pullitzer prize winning Denial of Death. Becker talks about our character as a “vital lie” –  a defence we build as children to repress the raw unfiltered flood of life (which includes the fact of death). It feels to me as if moving into abstract painting is to some extent a shedding of my “creative character” to move into unknown territory. This is not a trivial transcendence. As Becker describes it:

…the armor of character was so vital to us that to shed it meant to risk death and madness. It is not hard to reason out: If character is a neurotic defense against despair and you shed that defense, you admit the full flood of despair, the full realization of the true human condition, what men are really afraid of, what they struggle against, and are driven toward and away from.

When I watch those spontaneous, vivacious people on YouTube splashing away to create massive Acrylic abstract paintings within an hour or two, I go green with envy. And yet, part of me embraces the anxiety, the constraints, the hesitancy that makes me what I am. This is my road to walk – may I say “Yes” to it!


Che Fece…Il Gran Refiuto
For some people the day comes
when they have to declare the great Yes
or the great No. It’s clear at once who has the Yes
ready within him; and saying it,
he goes from honor to honor, strong in his conviction.
He who refuses does not repent. Asked again,
he’d still say no. Yet that no—the right no—
drags him down all his life.
C.P. Cafavy, translated by Edmund Keeley
This version copied from

Many thanks for all of you who encourage me with likes and comments, and a special thanks to those who follow my blog. A special thanks also for the insightful comments from some readers to my last post. These require deep thinking, I will reply as soon as I can!

12 thoughts on “Painting #43

  1. Your comments really hit the mark. I’ve always felt that artists have to be willing to stare into the sun and interpret it for those who aren’t able.
    Beautiful painting!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a stunning piece! Love the juxtaposition of light against dark; seems to go with your state of mind described here. I do think you need to embrace the hesitancy, as it’s the way you work and it’s there for a reason. If I were producing work like this, I wouldn’t care how hesitant I was, I’ll tell you that! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Laura. Yes certainly I will embrace the hesitancy, I am taking a few days off to create some mind space, then I will face the wall again! I hope your own efforts are going well and giving you lots of joy.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The idea of bringing light and shadows into abstract….I like that. Honestly, I think you do that already but it sounds like you want more! Good for you. You will figure out how to do that to your liking with time. I personally like your color choices as I have mentioned before that yellows are some of my favorites. To me, your abstracts are abstract, yes, but they also seem to have purpose and what I mean is that I can look at your paintings and see close ups (best way I can describe it) of rock, fabric…things like that…organic? Maybe that is what I see.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks DawnMarie. Yes, I never really try to assign real life objects to my abstract efforts, but interestingly, the mood or atmosphere that emerges while I paint is sort of in line with the things you mention: rock or a cliff. Often I get a feeling of an ancient ruin seen from the sky at first or last light, which brings all sorts of interesting questions to mind. Fantastic how the mind works, isn’t it? Thanks for taking the time and interest to comment. I had a really crazy week and have been away from my blog for few days, but I will go and have a look at what you are up to as soon as I can! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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