Abstract Mike and Me

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I’m very happy with the icons I developed to represent my brother Mike and me (see Progress post). For those reading my blog for the first time, Mike is my older brother, who is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal. Today’s composition combines these line drawings with the flat, earth tones I used a couple of days ago in my Precursor post.

Watercolor: Abstract - Expressionistic Mask using Prepared Icons #1

Mask with Icons #1
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

Process and Comment:

I drew an oval and placed an abstracted line drawing of Mike inside and to the left side of center; on the right side, I reproduced the lines I developed t0 represent me. Since Mike and I are in two different realms, I divided the oval with a lighting bolt. An acute angle originates from the part of line drawing that represents my eye. This two-dimensional slice of cone is displaced when it enters Mike’s realm. It also changes color from green to purple.  I’ve used this triangular shape in previous compositions (Back to Abstract, Variation, A New Kind of Year), to represent my field of vision as it impinges on my brother. [Note: the compositions in these posts are inspired by my relationship to Mike, to address the point my friend Liz made in a recent comment.]

I intended for this piece to be a mask made up of equal parts of Mike and me. However, it is not unified enough to be a mask. There is not a great variation in tone throughout the design. Although the components of a face are present within the oval, it takes a bit of mental manipulation to actually see a single face.

I am satisfied with this composition, but it seems more like a coat of arms than a mask or a portrait.

8 thoughts on “Abstract Mike and Me

    • Thanks, Claudia. Good description of a coat of arms. It is hard to imagine my brother and me as a family, as communication with him is not possible (not saying that he is responsible for that alone, but I’ve tried just about everything). It would be interesting to include all my family members in a coat of arms (perhaps a family crest(fallen)). I’ll work on that.
      Thanks again for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love the crest(fallen) part.

        I get what you mean about communication not being possible. Believe me, you have a lot of company, I think, in all kinds of ways. Sometimes I think the lack makes a bond as well, sadly. Making sense of it all is maybe something art helps with, at least for me…


        • Thanks, Claudia. I think lack of communication makes one bond-seeking. I have been using my art in several ways: 1) with my photography project about Mike, I inspected my photos of him for signs of awareness; 2) to ‘make visible’ (to borrow a phrase from Paul Klee) my inner state; 3) to inspect my inner state as relates to my relationship with Mike.
          Art does help.


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