I have long been in love with particular kinds of abstract paintings. It is an affinity that has not, in the past, set too comfortably with me. Why do I love this type of work so much? I’m not completely able to articulate it, but I’m getting there…new pages are being revealed to me as I dabble with painting abstractions and as I muse about the “why” part of the question. I’m in the process of writing about this, as I’ve recently had some new thoughts that strike me as revelatory. Well, for me at least. Though I enjoy many different kinds of abstract art, the style that is particularly engaging to me is “gestural abstraction” or “action painting”. Jackson Pollack is one of the most noted of this genre along with my very favorite-Joan Mitchell. My mom actually introduced me to her work through a book she had (and which I then just HAD to have a copy of myself). Gaze, gaze, drool, drool, catch your breath, and gaze some more…yum. And this is my reaction to printed versions of her artwork in a small book! I can’t imagine the experience if I were ever to be so fortunate as to see them in person! I was at Border’s last week and came upon quite by accident a book about Cy Twombly…another gestural abstract painter, and I found myself having the same reaction (ooh, aah, breathe Jennifer!) even though his work is not the coloristic feast of Mitchell’s. I also love Bill Scott’s work, an artist who actually studied with Joan Mitchell, and who works on paper as well as canvas. I came home from Border’s just itching to try my hand at this again, as I did a few years ago and enjoy the results hanging all around my home. Here are a few of the small things I tried…in my sketchbook I used watercolor opaquely over top of transparent washes, and then in acrylic on canvas. I would not say that these are anywhere near as successful as the aforementioned artist’s work, but these are very satisfying. Joan’s book opens with a chapter called, “A Rage to Paint”. And though I do not see any anger projecting from her work, I do resonate with the desire that wells up in you to be totally engrossed in putting paint on canvas or paper…to get out in paint and mark making, a passion for color, an emotion of fullness, a “sense” of nature…un-graspable thoughts and feelings that only paint and non-representational imagery can convey. Ooh…I’ve got to write that essay. Too many thoughts flowing in I want to share with you. When I write it, I’ll post it here for you to read. Needless to say, I feel that sometimes my best work is in this realm of abstraction. I do not “show” it often. There are still layers of needing to “be good at” my art that must come off before I can really throw myself into paintings that are presently only painted in my head and heart. It’s a journey..this discovering one’s voice in artistic expression. This one I call “dans le foret”.