Abstracts – Emotional Painting


Over the last few months, and particularly the last few weeks, I have been thinking a great deal about Mindfulness and exploring this in my work – thinking about the therapeutic nature of art and reading about how this works. This, for me, is about exploring the nature of whether truth is inherently abstract in painting, and, if so, whether this is remotely relevant in relation to the benefit of painting to the artist. In order to do this I have had to allow myself (give myself permission?) to focus on instinctive movement of paint, selection of colour and to remove any necessity for visual clues or indications to suggest subject. The work in this post is all completed during the last month, on relatively small scale (approx 30 x 30cm to 30 x 50cm).


Wherever You Dream

Another painting which I worked on during my time with Crisis. I felt a real connection to some of the guests as I chatted with them. The volunteering is ideally about giving hope, care and support to those receiving it. Yet I felt as ‘supported’ in my work as I have ever felt. The emotion of working in this voluntary role brought many emotions to the surface. Wherever You Dream specifically came back to the idea that we are all human and we all dream. My sadness about the inequalities in the world is brought through in this work which appears to have a ‘gated’ element. Again, this is something I noticed as an afterthought and was not intentional in the slightest. Although lighter, the purples and blues reminded me of Oscar Kokoschka’s The Bride of the Wind.



Treading Water

More ‘bruised’ colours and some indication of movement, flow, spin, entrapment, perhaps even a struggle to breath. All assessed after the experience of painting this, whilst during the process I was attempting to be led organically and instinctively around the canvas.



Keeping the Blue Fires Burning

This painting was directly as a result of feeling emotional about my work with Crisis. Although there are pinks and bright colours in it, I felt an overwhelming emotional ‘bruising’ combined with a sense of hope for the future. I did not intend there to be any suggestion of actual fire, but felt that when it was concluded this was an appropriate title.



Our Dreams Are Not So Different

The title probably explains this painting and my thought process. I am really moved by the colours, and determined to photograph a painting by my father which this now reminds me of. Perhaps it was bringing memories to the surface as I moved paint around and thought about being ‘truthful’ and instinctive.

My palette has been very similar for these works but it is one which I have been enjoying working with and it has been appropriate for what I felt I needed to use. By exploring colour without subject matter or reference to shape/form I have been considering the likelihood of this being of more value to me in terms of the therapeutic nature of it. There is less concern over accuracy or formal qualities and this is therefore more liberating and allows for greater ‘flow’. Additionally, it may be more about speed and the idea that a work does not need to be returned to many times, as it represents fully what was experienced at that moment. Whether this translates in any way to other people is yet to be realised. The additional consideration is that if the main benefit of the work is in the therapeutic nature of creating it, does it even matter if other people like it? Much to think about….



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