Unboggle Your Mind


From Angry Birds to Exotic Blossoms

I love it when I get inspired to reinvent something that didn’t work for me the first time around. Some years back, while my floors were being redone, I was confined to a spare bedroom for such daily activities as eating and painting. I laid a canvas on the floor amidst brushes and tubes of acrylic color, and layer by layer, line by line, a nonrepresentational abstract began to take form.

I liked the colors and shapes. When I propped it up for a better view, I saw what appeared to be the wings of birds. Amused, and mildly inspired, I chose two prominent head shapes and painted each with a realistic bird eye. Cool!

Later, back in my studio, I refined the colors for more harmony, less contrast, and titled it “Wings.” 

Surprisingly, no one at any showing of this painting ever so much as commented. When Connie, one of my collectors, visited recently, I asked her opinion of what might be the reason.

“To me, the birds look angry,” she said, “and kind of scary.”

That made sense. Being a fan of scary, Alfred Hitchcock-type stories, I’m attracted to strange images, but even I might not want angry birds glaring at me from my living room wall. After her visit, I studied the piece from different directions and began to see how it could be redesigned into something completely different without losing the layers of work I found most interesting.AlfieAdj

First, I painted over the eyes — the only shapes clearly suggesting birds. Then I rotated the canvas to a vertical position. What I saw as wings before now looked like leaves. From this new angle, it could easily be an abstract painting of an exotic plant.

I added new shapes, fairly recognizable as blossoms, and before long, an entirely new abstraction emerged, reminding me of a quote by the British painter, Lucian Freud. “The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes, and, ironically, the more real.” 

Titled “Exotics,” this re-imagined piece is slated, along with six more of my paintings and works by several other artists, for an art show at the Carleen Bright Arboretum in Woodway, Texas, beginning Friday, January 4th.  I’d love to hear your comments. If you’re in the area, join us for the:

Artists’ Reception
Sunday, January 13th, 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.


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