Driven to Abstraction

Everything is Connected
I've been creating representational paintings of the natural world for many years now.  It is what people who know my work have come to expect.  Lately though, my soul has been crying out for a change.  I began to ask myself why I even wanted to be an artist in the first place.  Actually, it wasn't a choice, but that is a different story.  The point is, when I was a child with a crayon in my fist what interested me wasn't detail so much as color.  And pattern.  To this day, when I look out the window what knocks me out is what the world looks like, how the colored shapes look next to each other, how that changes through the day or from a different perspective.  
 It has proven difficult to let go of detail, though.  I notice that other painters can paint a prairie, for instance, as sweeps of color.  Well, that's great, but as a naturalist how can I not tell you which plants are there in those sweeps of color?  
 One approach for me is to zero in on a plant or two, and play with their shapes against each other, perhaps layered in with other things.  
In this painting, for example, I added a San Ildefenso pot.  I just like the shape of it, and I like the idea of pairing a handmade item with natural elements because I want to nudge people into thinking of themselves as a part of nature, not as beings who somehow don't need nature.  The lines you see running through the painting were inspired by something I read.  The author was talking about a net of connectivity between all things.  Of course, naturalists know about this, right down to the mycelium threads that weave plants together.


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I found you! Great to see your work again.
-- Tom Whelan, 7/25/21

 Melissa Blue Fine Art • Illinois
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