Currently, I find this to be contrary to my whole practice. I have found that I am tremendously interested in observation and communicating a figure as simply as possibly. This has created its own issues. When I was in school there seemed to be this heavy push to learn to draw the figure as well as possible using values and proportion perfectly. That was freshman year, when a basis in this information is vital to your artistic development. I didn't take many figure drawing or drawing classes after my freshman year. Really I only took one, but it was that same figure drawing I course. I feel that I didn't fully learn the basics that I was aiming to learn.
That said, I do feel that I have learned a communication of a figure, albeit in my language. I have been struggling with justifying this figure to the figure that I felt I should be capable of producing due to that undergraduate education. So when I was reading about Gauguin's break with the impressionists this morning, when he was abandoning the comma shaped brush stroke and leaning towards more of a caricature style, it was heartening. Gauguin referred to his new style as "the synthesis of a form and a color, taking into consideration [only] the dominant."
Gauguin developed this style while looking through the print works of Hokusai and Hiroshige, styles and theories which I also am very much fond of. As I've been working in watercolor, I've started thinking about how to communicate shapes using a single line much like Asian artists working with Sumi ink.
As I read this morning I realized a connection. I am simplifying my brush stroke which I use while working in acrylic paint, aiming for a more gestural and abstract expression of my subject. Lost is the noodling pixellated looking brushstroke. I never suspected that I would discover so much more emotion by painting subjects from the everyday. I thought that the allegories that I had created were more powerful than my work from natural subjects, but I am beginning to think that this is false. I guess only time will tell.
While I do not suspect that I will entirely abandon my all of my silly character work, it is rather fun after all, I do think that I am excited to continue this level of discovery within the natural subjects. I don't feel that it is nearly the sell out that I thought it was every time my mother asked me for a painting of "something pretty."