Second Quarter Challenge – Abstraction

Second Quarter Challenge – Abstraction

I have been attempting to work on Ann’s second quarter challenge but I have a really hard time with abstraction. I guess that most of my work ends up being realistic. I find it difficult to take an idea and make it more abstract. Do you find it easy or hard to do abstract work? At least with felt, it is harder to do very fine details so the process kind of lends itself to abstraction.

So I decided I would do some sketches with watercolors and ink. I looked online for photos and found one of birch trees. I took out all the background and just picked a dark blue. Then I was planning on painting the birch trees with pinks and oranges to represent the sunlight hitting them. I got to this point and just couldn’t add in the pink and orange. I tried it on some scrap paper and hated it. So this isn’t really abstract. What do you think?

Next I tried abstracting a photo of red twig dogwood in winter. Again, I really simplified the background and I used red paper cut into tiny slivers for the dogwood. I think this is a little better but I’m still not all that happy with the composition.

My local surface design group has been doing a monthly challenge where we pick an artist and then do something based on that artist’s style. This past month was a local artist, Marshall Noice, so I looked him up and lo and behold, he works in an abstract manner. I could take care of both challenges with one project. πŸ™‚ I printed out two of his pieces and pasted them into my studio journal.

I had never really examined Noice’s work before and both of these examples are pastels on paper. I love the rich, deep colors and I do like the abstract nature of his work. So I decided I would try a photo of willow trees in winter to see if I could achieve a similar effect. Again, I used watercolors and ink in my studio journal.

Here’s the result. It seems a little anemic to me. Especially the bottom portion. But it is somewhat abstract, perhaps. I’d love to hear your critique. I am thinking of doing one of these pieces in felt. Which would you choose and why?

This last photo is definitely not abstract. Just thought I’d throw it in since it was the next page in my studio journal. So that’s what I’ve been working on in my spare time besides my stitch homework. I’ll keep plugging along with the abstract challenge. And it is a real challenge but I guess that’s the point, right?

8 thoughts on “Second Quarter Challenge – Abstraction

  1. You’ve got the idea Ruth. If you look at the abstract you printed they would not look very abstract if he had done them in the traditional colours. He made the biggest change by changing the colours. Abstract is many things. you could try playing with colour in photoshop or some of their effects they have. I choose abstract because I can’t make anything look real.

  2. I wanted to try doing it in my sketches instead of in Photoshop. I have done some things in Photoshop as well. But I am getting slightly better in my efforts πŸ™‚

  3. It’s a hard challenge isn’t it? πŸ™‚
    I’ve painted abstracts for the past 25 years and recently realised that a lot of my felting is very similar to some of my paintings, I even looked at them to think about reproducing in felt for this challenge. I really like your dogwood one, I think that would work well in felt. If you wanted to use that as also being in the style of Marshall Noice you could always try making the background colours more vivid, the same tone (? you know colour values better than anyone!) as the red.
    I think it’s a good idea to play around on Photoshop, use that to help you see the abstract then use that in your sketches. Or get big fat pastels? πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, quite challenging. I would love to see one of your paintings reproduced in felt.

      I think the background on the dogwood could certainly be improved. Perhaps I should try a deeper shade of purple tending toward blue. I think I’ll put these photos in Photoshop and play around with the colors. I have pastels but don’t really like using them much. I’ll keep playing πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Lyn! All three are possibilities so the dogwood is definitely a choice. I’ll keep playing around with them until I come up with something I really like.

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