People have been telling me for years to combine my interest in abstract and figurative art, to which I've always replied Bah! (or the polite, conversational equivalent). Thus it took an accident to get me to finally see the potential.
Last year I found some random markers leftover from a work project and used a sheet of tracing paper over a b&w portrait sketch to try making a naturalistic portrait with bright, expressionist colors.
The actual drawing didn't work for me, but the desire to combine naturalism with expressionism still appealed to me, so the test drawing got thrown in a pile near my desk.
Many months later I was cleaning the piles around my desk (cleaning might be too generous a term, I was making intermingling piles into slightly tidier stacks), and I happened to place the drawing on top of an abstract sketch.
Neither sketch is great, but together they had potential - abstract forms with expressionist color could enhance the emotions in a naturalistic portrait.
I elected to focus on visualizing sensory input as in becomes perceptible during liminal states of consciousness - or more plainly I wanted to depict tranquil people and use abstract color and forms to emphasize their expression.
At first it seemed integral to keep the abstract and the figurative on separate layers, despite the fact that would mean working on paper and I dislike working on paper.
I usually work on very well-sanded gessoed birch wood and I will write about the digression of experiments that led to me to re-realize why I like working on wood later in the summer (as one of my CSA updates), but in the interest on not burying the lead too deep, I eventually stopped playing around with two different layers of paper and tried the Eyes Closed, Liminal concept on wood.
I'm so pleased to be a part of PDX-CSA this year as an artist and have the opportunity to explore this concept. As with all the PDX-CSA projects if you purchase my project you won't know exactly what my finished painting will look like, but I promise that it will be at least as peaceful and uplifting as this one.