learning to "not paint"

You wouldn't believe how hard I find this more abstract method of painting.  I come from a realistic style which has never satisfied me.  Last week I decided, yet again, to stop letting the paint imitate things and just let it be itself.  This is the result...  what you can see trees?? feels like a woodland??  lmao! see I just can't stay away from turning it into something.  There were 5 different incarnations, all looking completely different (sorry no photos were taken) on this one canvas.  Painting out, re-painting, over painting, under painting, high lighting and low lighting, covering it all over and wiping it all off.  Gradually I started to keep bits I liked but the more I kept the more crutial was the next stroke.  The pressure was unbearable so I obliterated it all again.  Only at the final stages after blocking out much of the surround did I allow some realistic elements to finally push through.

One thing that I'm pleased with is that I've enjoyed playing with the paint like I enjoy throwing down fabric compositions and stitching into them.  Maybe I'm getting to explore this medium now rather than trying to reproduce a scene with paint.  One of the most vunerable things I've done in a long time and is very hard to stay true to the puropse and stick with "not painting".

12 comments:

Julie Shackson said...

Well I just love the result of this experiment! Yes it is still a woodland scene, but it's so much more than that. The 'suggestion' in the paint is really intriguing and visually stimulating. Fab!

Helen Suzanne said...

thank you so much Julie

Heather said...

Whatever your techniques or intentions this painting is beautiful. Yes, I can see trees, but they are not wholly realistic. They are, however, mysterious and magical, and I feel I want to become part of the scene and explore those woods.

Cobalt Violet said...

However you there it's gorgeous. I am always just striving to be more loose. this is magical.

magsramsay said...

How courageous of you! I know how hard it is to achieve - I like to take photos along the way to look back and see where it was right, where it was wrong.
Stick with it, you're really getting there!

Helen Suzanne said...

thank you so much for the generous comments :) it really helps having the feed back in this rather scary unknown territory.
x

Jann Gougeon said...

Hello . . I know JUST what you mean. I used to paint faces & figures. I think a good abstract is 1000% harder than realism. There are an infinite number of possibilities. Practice and especially not being hard on yourself and LOTS of looking, I think (it's what I've done), is very helpful.

Your painting is beautiful . . very nuanced and sensitive. :-)

yvette said...

all those explorations and at last let it go makes it so special Helen.
I'm sorry I lost sight of you but forgot to change your blog in my favorits
now you are!

love!

The Happy Apple said...

It's looking fabulous and very atmospheric, and I'm glad you're achieving what you set out to do in such style!

Helen Cowans said...

Love it, yes trees :)

Susan D said...

I find it hard not to be realistic as well. This is beautiful very ethereal

Carol said...

stunning Helen, I like your new direction :)