Meaning in Art

08 Dec

A change of pace from my typical Life Skills topics.

This year, I have begun my journey into abstract painting. I run a small art gallery NW Georgia, which I also use as my studio space. Customers come in and out and can see my works in progress. There is a repeat customer that has just started coming in recently. While more interested in bronze sculptures that we have there, he has taken particular interest in my work. Not being a fan of abstract, from what I can gather, he is certainly warming to the idea. While looking at my collection of paintings, he asked me “What’s the meaning?” To which I replied, “It’s all relative.”

The meaning behind a piece of art, like so many other aspects of it, is, I feel, completely situational. It can come from the emotion of the artist at the time of conception or production, from the colors or materials used, from the size of the piece, and alternatively, what the viewer sees in the painting.

My paintings are non representational abstracts. This means that I am not painting a definitive subject. My colors are typically bold and bright and I favor larger canvases. Palette knives are my favorite tools and texture is a must. I use a variety of mediums: acrylic, oil, and mixed. When I have a finished product, I want it to have two things: balance and depth. When someone sees something in my painting, it is merely that- what they see. Admittedly, my emotions come out on occasion in the paintings. They can be seen in the direction of brush or knife, amount of texture, colors used, or especially the title of the painting. As I’m painting, there are always things on my mind and I channel those into my work, ending likely with a title directly related to the thoughts when completed the piece.

Back to the patron at hand. He saw me starting a commissioned painting a couple of weeks ago. He came in over the weekend and saw my progress and seemed much more intrigued. He concentrated on it and ultimately told me how much he enjoyed it and the process of watching it develop.

This morning, I received a message from him stating this:

“Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.” John Steinbeck

Your painting has grown, I know you can create and I know that piece communicates.

This was quite a compliment. While I don’t project a meaning or a subject, it is flattering to know that my pieces are communicative and ultimately, that people are enjoying them! Thanks To you, Bill and all my other customers and lovers of my work. As I have heard probably 50 times in the last six months, I have found my niche.

Cheers, Olivia


View from my latest show, November 2014.



“It Matches the Day” 3×4′ Acrylic on Canvas. This is one of my favorites. The purples are so bold, and some of the white iridescent.



“Ruby Red Slippers” 11×14″ Acrylic on Canvas. Birthday present for a friend that is always commenting on my red shoes.


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Posted by on December 8, 2014 in Art


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