When I first start painting abstracts the biggest obstacle to success is a lack of confidence. In order to overcome this it is necessary for me to practice. It would be the same if I were to contemplate mastering a musical instrument. It seems that many people consider mastering a brush or pen a much simpler exercise. However, after much diligent work painting abstracts I become more fluent and dextrous. The same goes for seeing well enough to draw effectively and represent what I see. This also goes for painting. To represent all the relevant tones, colours, and textures to produce a facsimile of that which confronts me is a major job. Once mastered satisfaction is guaranteed.


I can progress in the manner of reproducing all before me for years. However, there came a point when it dawned on me that I could express more than just the surface. This “more” is the kind of holy grail that has beguiled artists for centuries. Somehow one’s feelings, passions, desires, reflections need an outlet that the paint and the drawings must express. In order to distil the world I see I need to indulge in a reduction exercise that breaks down the components of an image into basic shapes. These must best express what I feel. Within the shapes are tones, colours and textures that again can be rearranged and emphasised to demonstrate my passion for nature. I call this an exercise in working. Abstraction is where one takes out the inessential elements retaining only that which best expresses an ideal.


This is not easy and necessitates much experimentation and rejection. The abstracting process involves a lot of throwing away. I am lucky in that nature provides much in the way of abstracted forms by way of field patterns, weather patterns, rock formation, water patterns. Moods generate Abstract thought which is why I am inspired by Zen philosophy which guides much of my thinking and stimulates my imagery.

My abstract watercolours can be purchased through my son Mark at www.coombegallery.com