Abstraction can be a form of visual thinking. A way of analyzing the formal qualities of objects; separating out and evaluating constituent parts; clarifying form and structure by simplifying shapes and removing detail; observing the effects of light.
It’s a way of pushing the work further; going beyond the observational and having the freedom to make something totally different from the raw material. This freedom can release you from the obligation to produce a true record of reality and enable you to concentrate purely on colour and form.
This emphasizes that there can be a purely aesthetic appeal to abstraction. However, where does this leave the physical reality I started out with? Can it only be expressed through representational art or can something of its qualities come across in abstraction? Is it important that the viewer knows what the source material was? These questions are not easy to answer for an artist basing abstract work on observed reality. They could take a lifetime to resolve, but certainly a few more blog posts!