I remember someone once saying to me that it was the simplification of nature's complexity which was so interesting in any form of 'naturalistic'* art. And I remember thinking, but I don't want that simplification, I want that glory and that complexity, that's the thing I love...
Another comment that people have made a few times recently relates to what they call 'the artist's hand'; the distinctiveness of an artist's mark. This reflects the idiosyncracy of the individual, but is perhaps also something about this simplifying treatment. It occured to me the other day, after I had worked exactly from a photograph and then done another in my own way (the photograph one was flat and uninteresting) that perhaps it is my own 'hand' that I have been objecting to all these years.
I have wanted the painting to be as beautiful, or complex, or interesting, as the thing that I'm looking at - in the same way as the thing I'm looking at. In other words, it's almost as if I want to copy it exactly, somehow transfer its beauty and mystery precisely onto my page. But why? We have photographs, we have the world itself for that. Trying to make the same beauty on the page is forever doomed. It cannot be. You have to accept your 'hand', your type of simplification. You have to accept it and explore it for what it is.
Perhaps it's not so much that you don't like your 'hand' but that, similar to the relationship with voice (in both a physical and larger sense), when it finally comes out it simply gives you a fright. You aren't used to its presence, its qualities. It's like a stranger.
The real issue is that you are a stranger to yourself, disconnected from yourself in some way.
* Interesting book review in the New Scientist about the patterns of nature being abstract rather than 'naturalistic'!