You turn the piece upside down and tell yourself that you'll start from scratch. You can simply see lines and shapes and colors, without needing to go anywhere else. Yet, within ten seconds your eye begins to search out recognizable imagery - formal elements of a painting aren't enough for it to chew on.
Perhaps it's the nature of shapes and lines to be suggestive. With one stroke Japanese calligraphers evoke a mountain top because they know our eyes will complete the scene on their own. So why should I try to run away from suggestive imagery? Why not embrace as many realities as come to mind? When the landscape is full of incomplete spaces, our eyes are able to take it in and add to it in just the same way they see things in an abstract shape. It's about doing more with less. Wouldn't that be a nice life motto?