My best contemporary abstract painting

Here’s why (in my opinion) ‘We commoners‘ is my best contemporary abstract painting.

Figurative art - my best contemporary abstract painting

We commoners
Original – Signed on reverse.
Charcoal, soft pastels, acrylics and oils on primed canvas.
127 x 180cm
2017

What makes this my best contemporary abstract painting?

First of all; what it’s about. It’s my opinion that we’ve overcomplicated the world to the point that nothing is worth doing unless it offers financial gain. Money doesn’t need to exist for a person to survive; yet there are thousands of unfortunate individuals who sleep in gutters rain or shine. I question a system that favours, even celebrates, the fortunate and neglects the less-so. I wonder why ‘we commoners’ allow it to happen.

Secondly, the amount of (or lack of) time it took. This piece in particular took approx. 30 mins from start to finish. The quicker I create these things, the more accomplished I believe them to be. When they happen fast, they feel organic, natural, and (most importantly) authentically me. This isn’t the case for all of my paintings – I can have multiple pieces hanging around the studio for six months or so!

Its’ irregular shape. This was the first piece I made on un-stretched, irregular-shape canvas. I don’t enjoy perfection whatsoever and perfectly cropping canvas/precisely stretching it around an awkward square just doesn’t feel right amidst a chaotic studio environment. I paint purely in the moment and my approach has to be relatively immediate where possible – which includes the approach (and speed) to preparing canvas (or any surface I’m working with).

It was entirely unplanned. By ensuring I have all mediums to hand prior to painting begins, I grab whichever tool (and colour) feels right at that specific moment – purposely blocking out methodic thought, personal conversation and personal debate so that the resulting interpretation is personal to that moment alone and entirely a one-off – I’m only satisfied when the outcome could never be replicated by myself, or anyone else.

I didn’t use a reference. My mind’s an interesting place so what better place to start? Painting from photos or primary drawings feel a bit forced. I’ve painted hundreds of portraits with use from a reference however, although often beautiful, I don’t find them nearly as interesting. I enjoy challenging the notion of beauty in art.

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