I’ve certainly had a great time painting illustrations for my children’s book!
Kandu and Toucans Mix Colors in the Magic Meadow illustration link
Little did I know how absorbed I would become in this project! I hadn’t recently pictured myself doing this instead of “grown-up” painting, but I’m finding it is an invigorating challenge and great joy. I’ve always loved and collected children’s books for their imaginative art and colorful pictures. A few times I’ve created cartoon-like, childlike cards and even some small paper books for special events, but just for one-person viewing. Now my grand wish is to have a book that many will enjoy and will use for family time. So I’m pursuing a new possibility, and it’s FUN!
Do you have a dream of doing something that you’ve not yet made time to venture into? Take that first step, and see where it leads you. You may be surprised and delighted at the sense of fulfillment and joy you feel, even just beginning. A first step, after all, is affirmation to yourself that your dream is worthy of pursuing. It may energize you for the second step and you will realize there IS time in your day to explore the possibilities!
What is Abstract Art Anyway?
Abstract, as opposed to representational or realistic type art, is the most free-form variety of colors, textures, media, shapes, composition! It’s fun to view and even more fun to create! Like any other style of art, your preferences will influence which pieces you call “art” and which you wrinkle your nose at! I’ve wrinkled my nose and furrowed my brow at abstract art that doesn’t strike my fancy. You probably have, too. However, other pieces capture my imagination and draw me into the painting as I feast on the colors and try to guess what the artist was thinking or feeling when he or she created it.
There are oodles of examples of abstract art all around us. Look into the center of a flower. Notice the bands and sweeps of color in the sunset sky. Look into a microscope. Look into a telescope. Abstract art surrounds us whether as tiny as an amoeba or as majestic as the Northern Lights. Get up close and eliminate the bigger picture to find abstract art in a small space by using a one-inch square cut out of paper, a tiny window. Changing shapes of shadows are a great source of abstract inspiration, too.
The fun of painting abstractly is the spontaneity of reacting to the colors and happenings on your watercolor paper, or canvas, without the over-hanging dread of “what if this doesn’t come out looking like a…. (fill in the blank!)” It is totally relaxing because it is done without having to create something in an exacting way. It’s creating with the freedom of enjoying the colors, angles, shapes that appear on the paper or canvas. It can almost take on a life of its own.
Play with it. Have fun! Can you guess what either of these two photos is?
(Find answer, if you’re stumped.)
I remember loving art when I was 3 or 4 years old. Most of us love art at that time. It’s the greatest feeling to ooze tiny fingers around in fingerpaint, roll shapes from a ball of clay, (didn’t you make little worms of clay, too?) How about mixing colors for Easter egg painting? I remember the “magic” of getting into my mother’s make-up and creating a new face of bright red lips and scarlet chubby cheeks. Looking in the mirror, I was sure I was “the fairest in the land” with my newly fashioned face!
When do we lose this natural attraction to creating with colors, textures, and shapes? How many of us experienced some comment about a prized work of art we created at a tender age–a comment that defeated the joy of creativity, and caused us to believe we just didn’t have what it takes to create art!
A wonderful man remembers sitting in his little desk in first grade and diligently coloring a picture of an elephant. He recalls feeling so proud of the wonderful work he was creating, and could hardly wait until his teacher would see it, as she drifted around the class, encouraging and congratulating her young students on their art work. When she came to his desk, he proudly showed her his very best effort. Instead of being congratulated on his colorful rendition, he heard his teacher exclaim, “Patrick, elephants aren’t GREEN!” Woeful Patrick was deflated. As he told me this story he said, “I didn’t know elephants weren’t green. I had never seen an elephant. I was mortified.”
These kinds of stories abound. “You Can Do It! ART” is all about self-expression! Green elephants are wonderful. Who made the rule that elephants can’t be colored or painted any way a person imagines or enjoys them! This is art, not science. Although there is plenty of room for art and science to coexist, they should not be defined by one another!
You may remember an experience like young Patrick’s. If not at age 6, it may have been earlier. It may have been later. It may be an experience that colored (forgive the pun) your impression of art, and tainted your belief in your own creativity. These experiences are often painfully remembered. But the injury does not prove the source of the pain was the “final answer” to whether you are artistic, creative, or anything else.
I hope you love art. If you do not, I hope you will remember the joy you experienced at a time when creating art satisfied you because YOU did it. It was your creation, no one else’s. Explore art afresh with a liberated mind, remembering the excitement and fun you felt before someone rained on your parade! Enjoy the creative experience again. You do not have to impress anyone. Just paint. Be free. Have fun.