“My five-year-old could do that, and I reckon my dog would do no worse!” How many times have you heard that said about an abstract artwork? Maybe you’ve even said it yourself. Abstract art gets a very bad wrap from a lot of people who don’t understand it, don’t want to understand it and see it as art from people who never learnt to draw or paint properly. The problem is that when people make such remarks, they are forgetting that what they are looking at has already been made, they, their five-year-old and their dog would be merely imitating or copying. Who thought of the idea first?
Our society’s art values are still very much entrenched in realism. If one can’t understand what one is looking at, then it’s dismissed as being ‘valid’ art. Things that are uncomfortable to the eye shouldn’t be taken seriously. Abstract art is a foreign language to most people. learning a second language is usually a challenge, one that most would avoid.
I love abstraction and I’ve been a keen follower since my teenage years. Unlike a lot of artists whose work is spontaneous, mine is planned and ideas are sourced from my environment both natural and man-made, the former being prominent in my latest work.
The Promise of Spring is my latest abstract coloured pencil painting. The idea came from the pattern on a brick and a theme that I recently finished on the Midlands area of Tasmania. There is an influence of the work of the Australian artist Fred Williams, someone whose work I admire a great deal. From a distance this painting may seem devoid of any recognisable forms, but you may notice in the detail below, that there is evidence of vegetation. The Midlands area of Tasmania is more often straw-coloured than not, but when it rains the landscape undergoes a dramatic transformation. This painting depicts the time not long after a recent period of heavy rain.
Is this painting a landscape or an abstract? I’ll let you decide.