Monday, 27 June 2016

Driven to abstraction...

non-representational abstract+mood painting+abstract art+Nicola McLean
'Mood #1' - acrylic on canvas 50.5cm x 40.5cm x 1.5cm

Have you ever heard of Schrödinger's cat? The link can explain it better than I can but the idea was that a (theoretical)cat was put in a box with poison being released at random and according to quantum mechanics because we can't see into the box to determine if the cat is alive or dead then the cat is both alive and dead at the same time (which obviously isn't possible and was what Schrödinger was trying to show with his theoretical cat experiment).  


non-representational abstract+mood painting+abstract art+Nicola McLean


Well, at the moment, thanks to Brexit (the outcome of which you'll know about unless you've been living under a rock for the last few days!) I find myself in a similar position to the cat only rather than being simultaneously alive and dead, thanks to the fact that I have dual nationality (both Irish and British) I find that I am currently simultaneously a citizen of the EU and not a citizen of the EU. A rather bizarre situation. 

non-representational abstract+mood painting+abstract art+Nicola McLean
detail shot

Anyway, I wouldn't mention the whole debacle of a referendum in my art blog were it not for the fact that it sort of triggered my latest painting.


non-representational abstract+mood painting+abstract art+Nicola McLean


Let me explain.  Recently I've been thinking about abstract art. While I've dabbled in the past with abstract realism with some of my small landscapes, it's no secret that I have never really understood non-representational abstract art and was a bit skeptical when artists gave a load of blobs and paint marks some profoundly deep meaning. So, on Friday I set out to prove that anyone could paint an abstract and pretend it had meaning. But when I tried to just randomly throw colours and shapes onto the canvas, I just couldn't get it to work (which didn't make sense to me because my whole theory was that it didn't have to 'work' it just had to be random). 

Detail shot

I seemed to have the equivalent of writer's block because at least when you're painting an actual object even if you are doing it in an impressionistic style you at least know what it is you are describing with your paintbrush. But, no matter how I tried, I just couldn't seem to paint 'nothing'. And then it dawned on me. Even non-representational abstract art really did have to have meaning - at least for me - to make it work. 

non-representational abstract+mood painting+abstract art+Nicola McLean


So, I started over and decided to focus on how I was feeling (despondent but determined to be optimistic) and tried to 'paint' those emotions. It was amazing to me how the painting (while still essentially completely abstract mark making) seemed to come together and instead of just randomly adding colour I used specific colours and marks to paint how I felt. It was a revelation and I am very happy to say that I stand corrected on my previous thoughts on abstract art.

non-representational abstract+mood painting+abstract art+Nicola McLean
detail shot

That doesn't mean I'll only be paintings abstracts in future - I like representational art too much but I am certain that I will paint more abstracts even if only to describe my mood at the time, perhaps in between the other paintings I'm working on. 

non-representational abstract+mood painting+abstract art+Nicola McLean
detail shot

So, it seems that every cloud has a silver lining and the result of the EU referendum, whilst not the outcome I had hoped for, did help me discover another way to be creative - art therapy, if you like!

non-representational abstract+mood painting+abstract art+Nicola McLean
Available on Artfinder

In other news, I'm delighted to have been invited to take part in the Strathpeffer Art Fair again this year. Last year, we were in Iceland at the time of the exhibition so I was a bit distracted prior to submitting paintings and just posted off some older smaller pieces I happened to have. This year as we won't be long back from our Route 66 trip we won't be going away for our anniversary in November but will be able to take a local road trip in Campy McCampervan to drop off some paintings in person this time.

non-representational abstract art+colourful art+contemporary modern art+Nicola McLean
The usual photo putting the size into context

And, just to find some humour in today's crazy world - I saw this on Facebook and it made me laugh (it may help if you know he is a Northern Irish character in an English soap opera). Apparently the number of applications for Irish passports has gone through the roof since Brexit! Glad I've had mine since my twenties!



17 comments:

  1. My goodness the last few days have been traumatic. I try not to be political on my blog but I certainly am in real life. I am at a loss to understand the result of the great British public and as yet find it hard to find any joy in the present situation. Maybe I should take up abstract painting too to vent my fury! Love your colours.

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  2. I quite like your abstract and how it came together by conveying your mood in color and movement! I think everyone is trying to understand what happened with the Brexit outcome. Good thing you have dual citizenship.

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  3. I think you figured out the key to Abstraction, it has to represent "something" to the artist, even if that's not apparent to the viewer. It's a really good painting.

    We are living in crazy times. I hope it motivates a lot of people under 30 to get involved.

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  4. Lovey abstract art. Brexit is an awful decision, and I have no idea what happens next....like a lot of other people! Happy Friday, hugs, Valerie

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  5. Amazing abstraction Nicola - very difficult to understand the brexit outcome - indeed!

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  6. It's a wonderful abstract Nic! And it's easy to see that it has been well thought out and not just thrown together too. Love the colours! I think with the whole Brexit thing, it's left everyone in a bit of a panic... but it will all be okay as long as the British Public stop arguing about it and come together. England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales was once a United Kingdom... I just hope that since the outcome is what it is and we can't change that, we can all aim to be united again... Meanwhile it seems a great painting came out of it! :o)

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  7. Your abstract painting turned out beautifully so it would seem you got 'in touch' with your feelings and were able to express them ~ Bravo! ~ Time will tell about Brexit ~ wish everyone wouldn't panic ~

    Wishing you a Happy 4th weekend ~ ^_^

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  8. I love this so much. I've recently started painting abstract pieces, and getting the balance right is so much harder than I expected it to be. Your work is really really great.

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  9. Your abstract painting is beautiful and I enjoyed reading about your approach. I just recently started to like abstract art. If you had asked me a few years ago, I would have been sure this could never happen.

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  10. Art therapy... yes! Loved getting a glimpse into your thought/art process. I cannot abstract... try as I may. Yours turned out great! I think every time I hear "brexit", I will see your painting in my mind's eye...

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  11. I really love your abstract art! I am going more and more abstact. I start painting something but then I realize I am more interested in painting the emotion I am feeling.
    Keep on going love the new direction
    Happy PPF

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  12. That's very interesting. I think when emotions are being translated onto the canvas, it's visible, whether it's an abstract or representational art. That's probably why some abstract paintings just grab you and others don't do anything at all. I think the viewer feels the emotions behind it. I don't have much with abstract art, but this is one of those that grabs me. Good for you to be able to put it to canvas. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to have to deal with the consequences of the Brexit without supporting it.

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  13. This stunning artwork evokes so much passion. As I study it my intuitive nature is posed to see many shapes in the mash of gorgeous colour! You speak in colour my dear and I see an emotional stance of perplexed notion! Maybe that is the paintings name..perplexed notion or abstract passion! Wishing peace for the UK and hoping things straighten out soon! Sending love and light for resolve!

    Hugs Giggles

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  14. Oh my, the state of the world today. Love the cartoon. Like you I like representational art. I have yet to discover the method of painting my emotions. Perhaps someday, like you, I will suddenly have one of those "Ah Ha" moments. You abstract is masterful.

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  15. Loved reading about your revelatory journey into abstraction. As someone who works mostly in abstract, without any training, it's fun to read about how someone who can actually draw and paint things that are recognisable tackled this new area.

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  16. Interesting how you came to paint this particular painting. I love the outcome of the painting. Not sure of the outcome of Brexit, but it's been a big story in the US. We are following it and thinking it could be a harbinger of things to come for us in our upcoming election.

    Can't wait to hear about your Route 66 trip. Which states will you be driving through. CampyMcCampervan makes me laugh!

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  17. Interesting how you came to paint this particular painting. I love the outcome of the painting. Not sure of the outcome of Brexit, but it's been a big story in the US. We are following it and thinking it could be a harbinger of things to come for us in our upcoming election.

    Can't wait to hear about your Route 66 trip. Which states will you be driving through. CampyMcCampervan makes me laugh!

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Your comments always colour me happy! Thank you for popping by.

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