Par-ei-do-lia: the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.
When I was taking art classes as a teenager, my Russian art teacher was very big on us copying works of old painting masters in order to learn their painting techniques. His goal for us was to master how they apply every brush stroke, their use of colour and how it creates an illusion of something that is three dimensional on a two dimensional substrate. His way of teaching, what felt like to me at that time, was first you become a machine at perfecting the technique, then you can have your freedom in creativity. I have spent years chasing that perfection with portraiture and realism. I have spent years believing that realistic art is far more superior than abstract, contemporary, etc. When I would paint a subject, I would agonize over it's realism on my canvas and when it was done, it still seemed that it was not good enough. Don't get me wrong, I still love seeing artworks where you feel that you can just pluck the subject off the page, but when it comes to me, that level of control is paralyzing to my creativity.
I love abstract! I find so much joy in letting go, even though I still labour over my composition, I am not attached to the perfection in the final result.
Pareidolia is essentially “cloud gazing” and seeing what you want to see. Painting in that style allows me to share with a viewer what I am feeling without forcing their hand to feel the same, but rather invite them to have seat on that bench and cloud gaze with me. They are encouraged to see what they want to see and feel the feelings that arise.