Mondrian, of course, tops my list! Art historian Yve-Alain Bois, in his essay, “The Iconoclast,” suggests that Mondrian embraced a tenet of postimpressionism as articulated by “Maurice Denis: all forms of illusion in painting must be resisted, and the domain of art and nature must not be confused” (55). Further in his essay, citing Mondrian’s philosophical evolution, Bois points us to the artist’s thoughts in “De Nieuwe Beelding:”
Being is manifested or known only by its opposite. This implies that the visible, the natural concrete, is not known through visible nature, but through its opposite. For modern consciousness, this means that visible reality can be expressed only by abstract-real plastic". (Bois, 55)
Thats a lot to think about, I know, but also feel like it boils down to what Edel Atman says, “all art is abstract.” Listen to her wonderful talks here and here.
Back to my own journey with trees, I had to attempt Mondrian’s gorgeous Red Tree and once I started painting with acrylics, I made this: