What abstract means to me, is a question that I’ve often been asked before, but in a different form. I used to be asked, “Why did you choose to start with abstract?” Well, because I thought it was easy. I saw abstract as a fairly basic form that I could start with. It was an “entry level” into doing something. Sort of a gateway that would lead to better, more structured forms. The idea was fairly simple. You take colours that represent something : a hazy winter morning, a breezy fall afternoon, or something else and then you start painting with them. The problem with this is that, when I look back at some of my work it seems hollow. When you emulate notable artists’ styles and work with flamboyant palettes, you end up creating head turners. But the work still lacks a soul. A concrete force that drives the entire piece.

Now that I have been working for 3 years, I can certainly identify this in my previous work. Abstract to me now is as well-structured and “smart” as any other form. All this time that I’ve spent doing it, I’ve pinned down the method to this madness. The work itself is much more layered now. I start with the background first, which can again, be a hazy winter morning or an eerie, overcast afternoon. Once that is done, I start to focus on the details. The leaves, the grass, the flora, the clouds etc. The details get progressively more minute as I keep working on the piece. This makes my work feel much more dynamic. There is movement all across the painting because it is so layered and well structured.

There is also a sense of iridescence to my current work. A certain ‘bling’, if you may. I think it comes from me being given the palettes now, by clients or foundations who I’m making the piece for. When I had the freedom to pick the colours, there wasn’t much thought that went into the process. Now, I have to work with a certain predefined mood, a sort of pre-set milieu that I’m supposed to operate in. The work requires much more thought now. That is what abstract is to me, I’d say. It’s a raw, artistic thought masquerading as structures and techniques. An art form that lets me sort of think out loud, on to the paper.

Stiffy Art Abstract 16