Perhaps I lacked the analytical mind which saw several of my peers at Aberdeen University forge stellar careers in the literary and academic worlds, but I knew when a poem or a book punched me in the gut.
So it was that sitting in the House For An Art Lover cafe in Glasgow last week, listening to Rowena Comrie telling me about the pitfalls of diluting cobalt blue oil paint, that the opening line from one of my favourite poems, Gerard Manley Hopkins's The Windhover, came to mind.
For me, the line "I caught this morning morning's minion" is the poetic equivalent of an abstract painting. It swoops and dives, conjuring up the verbal embodiment of a kestrel as its wings catch the wind. It soars beyond mere words.
To place this poetic flashback in context, we were surrounded by Comrie's gloriously fresh and juicy abstract paintings in oil and water-colour, which are currently on display in House For An Art Lover. Many of her works are inspired by the notion of flight or catching the wind while sailing.
Abstract paintings are notoriously difficult to sell to the viewing public, yet you see oodles of pastiche abstracts on the walls of many a public place; bought in by interior designers to add a dash of colour or make the walls feel more contemporary.
Comrie's abstracts are the real deal. She uses bold saturated colour to devastating effect. The paint dances around itself. Sometimes the colours touch, sometimes they mingle, yet her paintings never seems forced or muddied.
She is, she says, attempting through her paintings to "make a contemporary idea of the sublime". Artists, writers, poets, dancers and musicians have long been fascinated by the idea of the sublime. According to Comrie, the giant steps taken by mankind since the 18th century in terms of exploring every corner of the globe mean artists now have to look ever more closely.
"I think you can still have that sense of the sublime staring at the horizon," she explains. "That mixture of fear and excitement. I certainly get it, which is why I paint the watercolors. But it's traditional. So that was why I wanted to make a contemporary idea of the sublime."
For me, Comrie's paintings have the same emotional heart which I remember so vividly in Hopkins's poetry. Or George Eliot's novel, Middlemarch. Or Lewis Grassic Gibbon's Sunset Song.
As the Glasgow-based artist puts it succinctly: "The abstract paintings are what's going on inside me. I do a lot of figurative work too because if I painted abstracts all the time, they would lose their spontaneity and freshness. If I feel as though I'm repeating myself, I got off and do figurative work. I'll do that until it stops feeling fresh. I don't want to make the same painting over and over again."
Quietly spoken, yet with an inner steeliness which has seen her take up the mantle of spokesperson for fellow artists as president of the Scottish Artists' Union for the last two years, Comrie has developed a very personal approach to creating her abstract work. She has refined her technique over the last 30 years, ever since falling under the spell of American colour field painters such as Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko while at Reading University in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
"I have a very definite approach," she explains. "I use watercolour or oil paints mixed with regular turps and linseed oil. I'll paint outside with watercolour, but in the studio, I'll get my canvas flat on the floor and use a screenprint squeegee. It's a very physical process, with me waving my arms around a lot. It's a bit like a dance.
"It's all about getting the consistency right. It's taken years to get to the point of using the paint with confidence. My paintings are all about the paint and how it behaves on canvas. It's a battle between me and paint - and I don't always win!"
There are currently 31 paintings on show and for sale at House For An Art Lover, situated within Bellahouston Park on Glasgow's south side. They range in price from £300 to £2800 and have poetic titles such as Flip Flow, Deep Vee or Tangerine Wedge.
For an artist, this is a difficult space in which to get the balance right, as it is primarily a restaurant, but Comrie pulls it off. I'd like to come back when the cafe is quiet for a good loiter around the artworks, but I suspect (having been there twice in the last week) that this seldom happens. Like a favourite poem or novel, vividly remembered, these are paintings to savour.
Rowena Comrie: Tiny Diamonds In The Cosmic Sand, House For An Art Lover, Bellahouston Park, Glasgow (www.houseforanartlover.co.uk) until September 2. The artist will be leading colour field masterclasses during the weekends of August 31 and September 1, and September 7 and 8; no spaces left on the first weekend, but there is still availability on the second. See website for costs and details