How to find yourself in your art. Art-making without overthinking.

art cube quote.

Remember my frustrations back in April when I took Pat Dew’s, Abstracting Nature workshop?

I never intended to take a class in creating abstract art. I thought I would learn new watercolor techniques that could fit with my watercolor style. Well, that didn’t happen! And I didn’t learn how to create abstract art either. But I was intrigued.

Pat Dews start.


YouTube Videos and Abstract Artists

I never thought of myself as an abstract artist. In fact, I didn’t any longer enjoy looking at abstract art. I thought it was a walk-around to creating good art. I think it was my frustration by failure that drew me to YouTube in a search for how I might succeed in making abstract art. Not that I wanted to be an abstract artist, right?

early abstract attempts.

Louise Fletcher Helped Me Find My Joy

I began following Louise Fletcher and took her Finding Your Joy taster course. Again I was met with massive frustration. I couldn’t do it. How could I not do this? Blobs of color, scribbles on top, voila, a masterpiece. Turns out, that’s not how it works.

Her course was 8 days with 4 lessons and 4 Q&A sessions. If she said it once, she said it a hundred times, just play, don’t think. It was the 4th lesson that skipped me out of my brain and into my authentic expression. That sounds trite, doesn’t it?

Authentic Artist Expression

Since then, I’ve taken a deeper dive into the differences between what I was doing and what this is doing in me. Crafting an art piece, or a piece of writing for that matter is what sets skilled artists apart from dabblers. Skill is involved and thought, too. Abstract expression also requires skill—an understanding of color, composition, and knowledge of tools and how to use them. There is one other element that is organic, natural, authentic. That other element is the artist’s own unfiltered energy and movement. And I can’t explain it better than that!

Sheet of abstracts.

Abstract Expressionism, a Transformational Leap

Robert Motherwell, an American abstract expressionist painter, describes the experience—what I would call a transformational leap—from representational art to this explosion of soul (I guess) that is abstraction. And here is where I am with this to date:

another sheet of abstractss

And I Have To Thank My Regional Arts Council For the Nudge!

I would not have taken the Pat Dew’s course if not for a comment from one of the reviewers of my grant application to the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council. I’d requested funds to help pay for supplies and a new artist website. One of the reviewers, seeing that I am self-taught, commented that she would have liked to see a request for education. When the website cost was cut nearly in half, I asked if I could apply the difference to my supply budget, but also take a class.

I was well into developing a series of pieces to promote to galleries—Disappearances/Emergings—when I encountered a bend in my road. I don’t know where it will take me, but I’m energized by the learning and can’t wait to experience what comes next!

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2 comments on “How to find yourself in your art. Art-making without overthinking.

Absolutely loving your abstract expression! I see such joy in each one.

Thank you! it is a joy to discover me in this work!

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