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6 Life Lessons From Abstract Painting

Here’s the great thing about abstract painting: there are no rules.

Abstract art is not bound to or defined by a subject, a scale, or a medium. An abstract piece of work is, in essence, a snapshot of the artist’s mind: and oh what a wonderful place that is! Being completely open to interpretation, it holds a lot of meaning to a lot of different people.

However, abstract art isn’t just nice to look at and understand. To the artist/creator, working solely with colours and textures often rids the mind of inhibitions and structure, and allow creativity to flow unrestricted.

Here are the 6 most important lessons that I have learnt from abstract painting.


1. A blank canvas isn’t always white.


Not all your work has to be bright and sunshine-y. Sometimes, a haunting darkness is just what you need, to let the mind wander.

Now I’m not trying to advocate or romanticize sadness or difficult times, there is nothing pretty about them. However, waiting for the “right” frame of mind to create something could mean you wait for a long, long time.

Sometimes, it’s okay to channel your inner goth (I know everyone has one, so don’t even pretend!) and put it on a page.

2. Start small, and you’ll have nothing to lose.


You’ve heard the old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and I’ll say it again. A lot of the times, we put an unnecessary amount of pressure on ourselves to know exactly where we’re going and what we’re doing, right from the start.

Here’s the thing though: if you already knew the outcome of an event, why would you go through it in the first place?

The whole point of life, to me, is discovering new things about the world around us and, ultimately, discovering new things about ourselves; which leads us to our next point:

3. Experiment. A lot.


I’ve always been a textbook person: I’ve always been terrified to take risks, and as a result, have very few memories of an extraordinary childhood. Ask me to tell you about my past, and I’ll almost certainly repeat a story of wake up, school, come back, dinner, bed.

Only recently have I realised just how important it is to put yourself out there. Dye your hair a crazy colour. Learn how to play a crazy instrument. Teach yourself a new sport. Move to a different country. Make memories that can only be communicated through pictures, and I promise you, there won’t be a day you regret how everything turned out!

4. Let your personality explode!


A lot of the times, we try to define ourselves based on how other people define us. What we fail to realise is that their perception of us is often affected by their perception of themselves.

For instance, as a creative person myself, I’m inclined to categorize people into “creative” and “non-creative”  types; someone obsessed with healthy living would categorize others as “healthy” or “unhealthy”, and it goes on.

So how do I find out what my personality is really like?

It’s actually quite simple. What makes you happy? Where do you like to shop, and why? What do you love learning about every single day?

So many of us are unconsciously obsessed with labels, which is fair enough – it’s instinctual to try and categorize people and situations. But these labels also bring with them a lot of restrictions that we impose upon ourselves unknowingly. Break through those, and you’ll finally learn exactly who you are!

(P.S. I’m still in the process of doing this…)

5. Sometimes, it’s okay to cut back a little.


As an introvert, I find it mentally exhausting to have to be “on” all the time. In a crowded room, my mind is constantly switching between “I need to project the best version of me that I can” and “why couldn’t this just have been a night in with Netflix and popcorn?”

However, in order to not appear to be an unsocial hermit, we often bite off more than we can chew, and hit “Going” on that event we know we’re not going to enjoy. And invariably,  all of this stress leads to physical illness, which then leads to more stress cause really, I can’t make it to a 9 am lecture with aching bones!

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve had to learn is to stop when I feel the need to. It may disappoint people if you’ve promised to be somewhere and don’t show up, but they’re much more likely to be forgiving than your own body is. Sometimes, it’s okay to take the time off and recuperate.

Bonus: the next time you go out, you’re going to look and feel a whole lot more alive!

6. Finally, don’t be afraid to change your mind completely!


Change is the only constant in this world, and oftentimes, it leads to much greater, grander outcomes than you’d anticipated.

Be it your personal style, a career choice, or even the interiors of your home. If something doesn’t look/feel right, you’re probably going to end up resenting it one day. So change it now, while you still can!

‘Space Bound’
Corel Painter and Wacom Intuos DRAW.

I’ve made prints available for this piece here: http://fav.me/daild6z

Go grab yourself one! 🙂

I hope this article has been helpful, and I’m so very grateful you’ve taken the time out to read it!

Thanks for being here, and have a lovely week!

S. xx

Your turn: What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt growing up? Tell us in the comments below!

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