It could be helpful to abandon terms like abstraction and realism. A good painting is always both abstract and real in a more metaphysical way. Our perception has no division, our inner and outer worlds are intermingled thoroughly. Our reality is what we perceive and we are always part of what we perceive. No objectivity only shared subjectivity. So in that sense painting is always abstract even if it looks realistic and an abstract painting conquers space in our reality, getting part of it. Both are just different mediums to tell a story. Painting evolved and no one should think that any illusion is there to trick you anymore, there is also nothing represented outside the painting itself, and the artist is not a genius, he is one of us! Honest paintings come from an open mind and looking and responding with one connects those minds via one painting.
Talking/writing about painting is like being far away from your love. No skype or whatsapp to communicate. You have to carve your message into wood and ship it across the oceans. She has most certainly moved on already, you never hear anything back. But this longing to share, this melancholy may be exactly what you need for that one painting.