Lately I've been preoccupied with questions about subject matter and the degree of abstraction in my work. I've felt a shift in the past year or so, gradual but forceful, away from direct, literal references to nature such as the glimpses of rock, water, foliage and sky that are found in lots of my previous work. More and more of my images now seem to come from some other point of synthesis in my mind, one that draws mainly upon intuition--and from aspects of color, line and texture that exist apart from their descriptive possibilities.
I'm wrestling with the challenge of keeping my work as personal, individual and unique as it has ever been, and at the same time venturing further along the path towards pure abstraction. Which is an approach to painting that seems to have been so well covered before me and around me that I fear I have nothing original to add.
On the other hand, I'm realizing that having lived in, worked from and observed nature for many years, its colors and textures are deeply imprinted in my mind and my manner with paint. So that when I work intuitively, without obvious or conscious reference to nature, I'm also tapping into this deeper level of understanding. Its patterns will continue to be part of my work, even if highly abstracted, as long as I stay tuned into that true part of myself and my experience. It's a comfort to think I have that aesthetic "home," that constant orientation, even if I end up wandering rather far away.
(Thanks to Cheryl and Mark for listening to my ramblings on this topic and for joining in with enthusiasm and wise insights.)