…The function of the artist is to express reality as felt. (Robert Motherwell)
I began Reading Abstract Expressionism – Context and Critique a few weeks ago. I’m enjoying diving deep into study of the artists, the process, the history and the reason of art called Abstract Expressionism.
I’ve been drawn to this type of art for a long time and understanding the emotional connection though this type of creative expression is a fantastic journey I’ve undertaken.
Today the artist is no longer constrained by the limitation that all of man’s existence is express by his outward appearance. Freed from the need of ascribing a particular person, the possibilities are endless.
The whole of man’s experience becomes his model, and in that sense it can be said that all of art is a portrait of an idea. (Mark Rothko)
When I began painting, it felt as though I had been painting for a very long time. Probably because of the constant memories of the creative process brewing in my head with colors and compositions. The reminders of my grandmother painting. The connection I felt to certain paintings over the years.
This season of my life is one of intentionality and deep reflection. It is impossible to separate my creative thoughts from my life experiences and my painting journey naturally, is a part of my ongoing grief journey after losing my oldest daughter.
I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting and a part of that is in understanding my own grief. I remember the first time I looked up the Five Stages of Grief and frantically tried to place my feeling in one of the stages… however, the stages always seemed to bleed into one another. I never felt that I was just “in one stage“.
Part of me believes this was created for me, and a big part of me believes this was created to help others understand the individual nature of grief. Everyone’s journey is different. There are no “prescriptions” to fix grief.
You must dive in and just be.
The Creation Process
I jotted down the five stages and immediately began understanding how these would translate through color and composition.
Stage 1 – Denial and Isolation
Developing the color black with only primary colors is a good challenge. Translating this first grief step as a composition is another.
Stage 2 – Anger
Raw emotion. Pain. Confusion. Multiple feelings with physical aggression.
Stage 3 – Bargaining
Confusion. Questioning. Emotionally desperate. Negotiation.
Stage 4 – Depression
Exhausted. Heavy. Flashes of aggressive anger. Deep sadness.
Stage 5 – Acceptance
Peace. Clarity. Emotional. Faith. Difficulty. Tension.
It’s not what happens to you that matters, but how you react and learn from it that does. (Adapted from my grandfather)