(photos by Kaylie Poplin)

The allure of abstract art is that you may look at a painting and see something entirely different than your friend standing next to you. If you've ever stood in front of an abstract painting and felt unsure of what you see, you are not alone! NEW Well + Wonder artist Laura McCarty is releasing a collection of twenty gorgeous large-scale abstract paintings this week, and she's sharing some tips for understanding and falling in love with abstract art. The common thread between artist inspiration and viewer perception is memories!

On a call with Laura a few weeks ago, I felt chills go up my arm as she described the inspiration behind her abstract brushstrokes…

“My art is a tangible piece of a special memory. It may be a memory of the perfect beach day with our girls…the colors, the way the sand felt, the laughter, the smells.” 

Laura and her family live in beautiful, serene Inlet Beach, Florida. She’ll be the first to tell you that she could not have created this body of work anywhere else. 


Read on for insider tips on how to find your treasured memories in abstract art, even if you aren't the one holding a brush!

1. The artist's choices have meaning. A stray brushstroke, a thick application of paint, or a bold color choice...each detail in an abstract painting is intentional. Laura says this about the painting photographed below...

"I painted that this piece after a long day at the beach with the girls. The ocean was a mix of all kinds of blues and the separation between them was stark in some places and hazy in others. The brush strokes in this piece are bold with soft edges, like the ocean that day."

2. Let color lead you! Not only are Laura's color choices beautiful and refined, they are also a tool to move your eye through each painting. She isn’t afraid to incorporate unexpected color combinations, in fact she prefers them! 

"I truly believe that color is a gift...and what an amazing gift it is. I think people misunderstand neutrals...a combination of colors can very much feel neutral. You don't have to have a mix of white and greige to create an elevated neutral piece."

In the photo below, the soft yellow pulls your eye from the left side of the painting to the upper right corner and also delicately down to the bottom of the panel. That same color may evoke a memory of the sun shining on the sand at the beach AND compliment the yellow in the orchid blooming on the table...leading us to our next point! 

3. Context matters. Where an abstract painting hangs in your home may play a role in what you see. Laura recently created a painting for her darling daughter Miller's 3 year old bedroom. As you can see below, Miller approves!

"The painting is punchy and bold, just like Miller. A daffodil came to life at the bottom of the painting and I didn't even realize it until I was finished with the piece. It is truly one of my favorite things in her room, and my hope is that it will inspire creativity and joy throughout her childhood."

Hanging an abstract painting in your kitchen may evoke memories of your favorite food...if the green in the painting is the color of a lime, it may make you think of cocktail hour with fresh lime wedges! The beauty of abstraction is that the meaning is open to interpretation. The more freedom we give ourselves as collectors to let our memories run free, the more we will enjoy hanging abstract art in our homes!

A huge thank you to Laura for a new perspective on abstract art and memories!! Don't miss your chance to check out Laura's release TOMORROW and see what fond memories they bring! As always, please reach out HERE with any and all questions. xx, Emily