Edward Hopper once said something along the lines of just wanting to paint sunlight on a wall. I feel the same way. What strikes me visually is when light and shadow and color exist in a visual format that, to my eye, present a compelling composition of shapes. Light becomes an object for me.
The shape of a shadow next to a strong light source can be abstract. I enjoy the interplay of the abstraction against representational imagery. I find there is an energy created by the fluctuation between the representation of objects and landscape and the void spaces of light and shadow that become objects unto themselves.
It's easy to create this compositionally with architecture and landscape by pushing focal points off to one side and balancing with a large mass of light or color. I have not, yet, been able to cross over to pure abstraction and I don't know that I want to go that far yet. I still feel a need to retain some aspect of representation in my work. I suppose this comes from the thrill I find when painting a scene and I add a shadow or a stroke of light and suddenly the painting gels. It's a great feeling. When that happens I hear the voice of the painter from the instructional television series with the "magic white" who would say, "You control dee stroke. You are dee master of dee light!"
I try not to think too much about meaning in my work. I simply paint what excites me visually and hope that the joy of the success of the painting comes through as meaning enough. As one of my college instructors once told me, "Make the painting and think about it later." I try to make the paintings. I don't usually think about them later.