When attempts have been made to describe a work of abstract art many people have used words like "feelings", "emotions", and "soul". I think these words are clues to what is actually happening within both the viewer and the artist.
The world of art and the environment of the mystical go back a long way together with many facets in common with one another - one being that they both seek to look into a deep unknown - and then seek to manifest it into this physical world by one means or another.
Therefore it is understandable that a non-representational picture can be difficult to comment on. The viewer might be "moved" by the artwork, but they may not really know why. I believe it has something to do with their sleeping soul being gently (or violently) shaken into a specific awareness. The earthy physical body may have very little understanding as to what might be happening, so they are left to struggle in explaining a spiritual concept from a physical point of view.
However, as an artist who has acquired (and lives by) a little understanding of certain spiritual aspects, here are my offerings of what I believe happens when a viewer comes across a mystical abstract painting.
In order to do that I want to present the whole episode from all aspects:
One of the Spirit's major intentions is to bring spiritual understanding into the physical realm. One way to do that is to enter time and manifest a potential opportunity for a receptive body. That receptive body can either be the person being offered the opportunity - or the messenger of it. If they are the messenger then there are many ways in which that message can be put across ... and one of them is by producing a provocative illustration or allegory in the form of an abstract painting.
... Or Artist in this case ... Or more specifically an artist who is prone to take note of their own inner enigmatic visuals. Once inspired the artist then sets about translating these visions into a personal style of depiction. I think it is quite probable that many an artist will be unconscious of what exactly they are putting down upon the canvas ... all they might know is that there is an urgent complusion to work with particular colours, or in a specific style.
A personalized manifestation of the inner visuals ... portrayed on board or canvas - or any other handy appropriate medium at the time. The artist lets the visual take shape in their mind and allows for interpretation into the physical world ... which results in an artwork of surreal allegory, or be-riddled story, or just a simple abstract presentation of specific colours or shapes. Each element of the art will include (or be) a potential key ready to allow the appropriate viewer entrance into its intriguing yet creative environment.
A receptive observer viewing the art may initially have an indefinable affinity with it. They are perhaps first emotionally drawn to the image before them. And as their thoughts begin to trigger other thoughts, gradual realizations start to become apparent ... gaining strength until they acquire a personal creative understanding seen only by themselves but which may eventually involve others who come into contact with them.
The originally unknown vision now begins to unfold its truth within the receptive viewer. This can be in many guises ... a simple affirmation ... a personal revelation ... a specific spiritual, mental, or inner encouragement ... an energizing edification for a hungry or floundering soul ... offering a sense of contentment within a challenging situation ... This gift can be as simple or as complicated as is required for the viewer. Its influence can be timeless - remaining relevant over a period of days, weeks, months, or years.
So the next time you seek to produce a piece of art or decide to visit a gallery do not hesitate or dwell upon any lack within you ... rather open your eyes (after all they are supposed to be the windows of the body) and prepare yourself to either see in order to create - or see in order to receive.