A passion for beauty is surely the purest treasure artists bring to the world. Whether it's the beauty of raw truth or exquisite form, the artist is compelled to embody it in their work.
At least, that's where we start.
We don't always stay on that track. And you can feel the difference in the work. Paintings made specifically to sell, for example, carry the vibration of that intention and feel different from passionate, personal artwork.
Similarly, paintings made to look good can feel impersonal. Many abstract paintings feel anonymous and personalityless. I had to face this problem myself in 2010.
At that time I enjoyed letting my paintings create themselves. This is still part of my process - letting the painting build itself in layers and take form.
Yet I remember the day in my studio when I realized I was avoiding something.
I had just completed a lovely painting and come up with a title for it: Jeweled Planet of Naboo. Nothing wrong with that. But on this particular day I realized it wasn't enough. Other artists were out there expressing their deepest-felt passions in their work, and here I was picking a title because it matched what happened to come out on my canvas.
I was hiding. I wasn't willing to commit to being dimensional and intentional and leaning into the vibrancy of my living thoughts and wishes. I wasn't brave enough to invest my real, full human being, heart and Soul, into my work.
"What kind of a life's work is that?" I thought.
It dawned on me that, as someone who journaled obsessively, maybe I did have something to say. So I turned to my journal for a title that meant something to me before starting my next painting.
Thus began my quest to capture in abstract paintings the essence of the amazing moments and things I loved.
Now my work includes many pieces embodying dreams and spiritual experiences. Just as vast a resource are the things around you that you love. For example, the inspiration for the painting above was a photograph I had torn out of a Heifer International catalog (2006) and tucked in my "inspiration folder."
The success of my quest to paint with personal passion revealed itself recently when my sister was telling me how much she enjoyed, every day, one of my paintings on a prominent wall in her home. I asked, "What about the piece that was there before?"
"It didn't last," she said.
The thing about paintings you put your honest self into is, they last.
It has been a profound joy to find ways to help myself and other artists to embody passion and personal inspiration in every abstract painting.
Below you can see an amazing range of very personal, passionate paintings by artists who took my workshop, The Inspired Abstract. Next, I hope to see the paintings you'll create!