The Complexities of Painting Abstractly


Though the casual spectator may quip at its seeming simplicity, abstract painting is a complex process that requires an artist to dichotomies parts of themselves in translation of aesthetics, feelings and experiences.

Unlike realism where technique transcends expression, abstract painting allows for an unbridled stream of consciousness. The concept of “abstract” can extend to a swatch of colors placed haphazardly on a canvas to a distortion of everyday objects and occurrences. Its value is found in the journey, rather than the outcome.


“Abstraction invites the mind and the body to take journeys to undisclosed destinations. Colors may spark emotion, shapes may trigger memories, and composition may serve as the setting for an unraveling plot. Sometimes it is more satisfying to share with viewers that which allows them to find relief, pain, joy, even anger—something that lets them know they are alive.”
Fictional Café, 2020

However, depending on the artist’s goal, inherent difficulties arise when painting abstractly. Whether the loose representation of the concrete or the flow of raw emotion, each involves a balance between the inhibited and the uninhibited. The first demands the abandoning of reason while the latter, a deliberate decisiveness which must not interfere with the inherent form of the craft. Both ask the artist to tolerate uncertainty, for unlike a piece rendered from observation, though an idea may exist in the mind’s eye, there is no predetermined stencil on which to base a final form.

Still yet, those that find themselves upswept in painting abstractly may be forced to curb their passion momentarily, allowing hues to solidify so they will not run together in a muddied brown and unique shapes to preserve through overlapping brushstrokes.

Hours may be spent layering, melding, and applying mediums which at any moment could alter the painting and all its meaning. Abstract painting demands the artist at varying times be both in control and free, raw and reserved, and passionate and logical to achieve such wonders of boundless interpretation.

Leave a Reply