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Why I find myself more drawn to abstract art these days...

When I was growing up and then at college, I saw no value in abstract art whatsoever. As an opinionated teenager, I couldn't see the skill and creativity, or just how difficult it is to create good abstract art. "Stuff what looks like stuff" used to be the ideal for me, and the more the stuff looked like stuff, the better. A super realistic drawing of an animal of some kind would draw impressed murmurings and wonder from me, and paint splodged seemingly randomly would leave me cold. I practised and practised throughout my childhood, and learned to draw stuff that really did look like stuff.

Recently, I was at a local gallery and saw some very realistic, large graphite drawings of animals. Technically excellent, and very attractive. The me of fifteen years ago would have thought this work the very pinnacle of art, but the nowadays me couldn't help but feel a lack of 'soul'. What was this artist saying to me, the viewer? I didn't know. I still don't. While I appreciate the skill and technical ability, the realist work is now that which is leaving me cold and unmoved, particularly when it has been copied from a photo.

My appreciation of art has widened considerably since my teens, and because of that I find that I now want different things. The me of nowadays wants colours that speak to me, the flow of design and composition, the textures made by the brush or knife.

The abstracted representation shows the inside of the 'thing', the nature, emotions and soul of it. It might not be technically correct but it has heart and something to say, which is something that I now believe to be more important than accuracy. Non-representational abstract art is a much more difficult beast, I have found. Because it doesn't look like stuff it has to stand on its own two feet, without the safety net that people who like horses/still lifes/landscapes/boats are going to like it because it is a nice painting of a horse/still life/landscape/boat. It has to impress and hook the viewer with nothing but its colour harmony (or clashing juxtaposition), its composition, its feeling and emotion. It has to be interesting through its own merits, not through its subject. It's pure art.