I once thought I was a landscape painter. I'd recreate scenes of the mountains, valleys, and beaches that had emotional significance to me. And for a while, I enjoyed painting these scenes. I love being outside in nature; painting a scenic overlook from a reference photo was even soothing, like being there.
After a while, I felt the insistent urge to do something else. I started by modernizing the landscapes with white, geometric lines. Yes! I've always liked contemporary art the most, so doing this made my landscape paintings seem more edgy and modern. Yet, I felt restless again. Before long, I needed to push it further. I wanted to be more expressive! I took this to mean I needed to abstractify my landscapes in some way.
Lines over Joshua Tree, 2016.
Can you see where this is going? My heart was aching to paint a different way, but my brain kept telling me to stay in my lane.
On the inside, I was always an abstract artist, not a landscape artist. Painting landscapes early on made me love painting, but it wasn't until I started painting abstract paintings that I truly fell in love with my own art.
It took me a long time to admit I was an abstract artist. Not everyone appreciates this type of art, as it doesn't seem to require any real skill to make it. I disagree with this, of course, but I concede that anyone can make art, no matter their skill level.
There is a skill to abstract painting, and it is this:
You must make it with feeling. Make your feelings known with color and expression like a song without sound or a poem without words. If the painting you're gazing at makes you feel something, it does not matter if you can identify the subject matter or scene. In this way, abstract art is raw and unencumbered with the mundane or superficial, and I am completely besotted with it as a unique form of self expression.
Cosmic Box, Kasey Wanford, 2022