Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Abstract Painting: Pragmatic Red

Pragmatic Red - c 2011 Lynda Lehmann

The other day I set out to do a subtle painting. As you can see, I failed miserably.

When I paint, what happens most often is that the paint takes over and tells me what to do. Not literally, of course. The paint doesn't have a voice. But it speaks to me through it's character as it emerges out of the tube. Color, consistency, and (unfortunately) smell, all stir my senses into an excitement as real as if I were watching a horse race or awakening as a child does on Christmas morning, heart aflutter and with a gleam of happy expectation in her eyes. I begin to paint and the volitional part of the process gives way to the subconscious, intuitive part.

So here you have my most recent result, in this 18 x 24 inch acrylic painting that I'll call "Pragmatic Red."  The title is a bit of an oxymoron, as there's really nothing practical about creating such a bright and intense painting. It's done for the joy and fulfillment of the artist and for whomever is willing as a viewer, to embrace his or her kind of work.

An intricate under-painting shows through the surface, a sort of "iconography" showing through the top layer. An artist friend said the image reminds him of a "mother board."  I'll go with that for today. That's the nice part about abstract art: you can see something different in it each time you look. Different from realism, in which the specifics of time, place and context are spelled out for the viewer, the abstract engages the viewer's imagination and calls forth a more active participation. What might this painting represent, if anything? Or is it a visual experience that can't be classified?

Actually, it's simply "The Visual Experience" that I'm after in my pursuit of painting. As long as it's fresh and new, it can bring stimulation, surprise, and visual joy to my world. defines Constructivism as follows: 

–noun ( sometimes initial capital letter )
1.Fine Arts . a nonrepresentational style of art developed by agroup of Russian artists principally in the early 20th century,characterized chiefly by a severely formal organization of mass, volume, and space, and by the employment of modern industrial materials. Compare suprematism.

While I often paint in a style that might fall under the category of Expressionism, I would say that this piece could be seen as a sort of embellished Constructivism. But the label doesn't matter. It's the Visual Experience that counts!

Most of us enjoyed looking through kaleidoscopes of different sorts when we were kids. To me, painting is the same kind of exploration of the visual phenomenon. I do it in the spirit of adventure--and the willful abandonment of the more mundane aspects of my daily world.

What attracts your eye in the spirit of exploration and childlike joy?

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  1. I love it! Love the whimsey and the colors. Glad your paint took over. Great job!

  2. Hi! To be able to paint at all is a blessing. Yes, we can be our own worst critic but like all critics, as in movie critics, they and we can be so, so wrong. The proof is in the tasting, and for me, this tastes and looks so, so good.

    Take Care,

  3. tangled stitch - Thanks for your kind words. Although I like intense colors in an abstract, I don't expect other people to feel the same way. I'm happy to hear that you like it, too!

    It's good to see you back on the Blogosphere!

  4. Peter - Thank you for your very positive words! I felt playful, painting it.

    I hope you're having some good weather over there, finally! And that you can get out and enjoy it!

  5. A wonderfully cheerful and bright painting Lynda. Love the colours - they warm me up in this winter chill :)
    (You'll have to check my newest fractals - they really turned out well - will enjoy your feedback )

  6. Janice - Sorry I'm so late in responding. It's way too easy to get sidetracked, these days. I'll be over to look for your fractals!

  7. Lynda: Fractals are here:

  8. Frank - I just discovered and visited your blog for the first time and I enjoyed the LEGO constructions you presented. Your blog has a lot of interesting art featured on it. Thanks for visiting and for your kind words!

  9. I found your blog again Lynda, because I was actually doing a search on google for quotes on "texture" and came across some of yours, which by the way, I really liked. I'm so glad to find your blog again.

  10. Miserable failure nothing at all my dear Lynda, the picture is spectacular, not what you wanted out but instead to capture a great picture, the perfect combination of colors gives it a perfect harmony,and very abstract composition..., I love it. Saludos.

  11. Leovi - Thank you so much! I appreciate your feedback. And as you know, I have very much enjoyed seeing your creative and awesome abstract photography this morning!

  12. Lynda,

    I looked at your painting and it reminded me of Africa: the colours, the shapes (African art uses a lot of round shapes, reminding us of the power of procreation) and energy.

    I loved it, darling! :D

    I wish you a magnificent weekend!


  13. MAX - You too, have a wonderful, warm and springlike weekend!

    My painting reminds me a bit of African art, as well--in the forms but not the colors.

  14. Wherever there is art there is NOT failure, silly! I love this abstract. Very lovely. Believe me, I NEVER end up where I intend to when I begin a painting. NEVER. Art is alive & the artist must be free to follow its guidance through the process.

  15. LANA - I know, Lana, the painting always "tells us" what to do. But I was hoping to do something subtle, for a change!

  16. I like whatever the paint was saying to you. It surely is an inspirational talker to make you produce things like this. Tres nice!

  17. SSQuo - Thanks for your positive words and for stopping over!


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