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Abstraction Attraction or Distraction?

There I was in my studio with a bigger than usual canvas in front of me. Abstraction is my style of painting lately. I let the randomness of my color choices (unusually bright colors these days) guide my brush.

This larger canvas is like a blank playground for me. It allows me more creative freedom to splash and splatter my paint both across the canvas and the studio floor. It makes me feel Pollock-esque. I also love a good drip of paint spilling onto my easel.

Splattered paint. Artist unknown, July 2023

Abstraction is non-representational and uses color, or line, or texture to express a message. It can also be seen as a departure from reality. When posting my artwork on social media or showing friends, I usually receive a range of responses. “Wow, I love it!” or “Is that a bird or a giraffe I see?” Did you know there is actually a word for wanting to see something recognizable in something abstract? It’s called “pareidolia”. Our brain tries to make sense of random patterns by giving them meaning. Like seeing the man in the moon!


The Man in the Moon

But here’s the thing about abstract painting — it’s a constant struggle between knowing when to stop and when to keep going. Sometimes, after just a two-hour session, I’ll feel a sense of completion. The artwork has found its voice.


But when I come back the next day it might look completely different to me, and I feel the urge to keep painting. More white here. More pink there. Until it’s done.


How do I know it’s done? It comes down to intuition. And that rings true in my approach to painting as well = “intuitive painting”.

After recently sharing a piece of my artwork with my uncle through a text, he said, “I see a scary face! I’m afraid I don’t understand this kind of art. I know it is captivating but it’s rather disturbing to me.”


Barbie’s Portrait of Oppenheimer. Acrylic on canvas. Val McCune, July 2023.

I’m even considering giving him that piece as a gift, just to see if he’d hang it up. (See above)

This got me thinking. It’s fascinating how some people feel uneasy when they view art because it’s not immediately understandable to them. And that’s what I love about it! My art can be interpreted in so many different ways. It’s a form of free expression.

That my painting evoked such a strong, instinctive response in my uncle — I found that amusing! I think that’s the essence of art, right? It’s meant to make you feel something, even if it is discomfort or uneasiness.

Have you ever felt uncomfortable when you viewed a piece of art?

That’s Zee Story.

Thanks for reading!

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