I can't remember the first time I came across the term "cognitive dissonance" -- perhaps in a marketing class in business school. Wikipedia defines the term as an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. At the time, I understood it intellectually, but not from a visceral, personal perspective. That is definitely not the case any more!
For a while now, I've wanted to work in a more abstract/less representational manner. I don't know why, exactly, except to see if I can do it. That's where the dissonance comes in: I think in terms of images and end up being most comfortable portraying and using those images. I don't want my work to look like a scrapbook or a messy, disjointed collage, though, so then what??? I hope that next week's art quilt retreat with Sue Benner will help resolve the dissonance, but I'm a little worried that it will mostly bring frustration and tantrums!
I included the photo above because it is more about texture than portraying anything in particular. I started with a close-up photo of a rusted metal buoy, added more texture, played with blending modes and color, and ended up with this. Is it abstract? I honestly don't know. I could get all philosophical and say it represents aging or global warming or something similar, but it doesn't, at least not to me. It is all about texture and color, and I love it for that. Where it goes from here, who knows???