taking steps to abstraction

I’m working on abstracting the photo collage again. The first drawing I made from it (see abstract thinking, August 1, 2011) was done with pencil. I was, and am, drawn to the diagonal lines and patterns and how they branch off from the vertical elements. In that first one, I captured linear elements from the collage pretty literally, and changed the levels of dark and light.

For this next interpretation, I want to begin with what sparks my interest. So first, I drew the bare bones in colored pencil.

One thing you learn in art school is to use the entire page; start thinking about the composition of the drawing space right from the start. While I spent a little more time on the right side of the page, I managed to get a sense of the whole idea.

Next, and still with the original collage in front of me, I started to make some stronger lines and shapes, in color, with both gouache and pencil.

Although the original was still suggesting forms to me, some new forms began to enter the picture. The diagonal lines are still there, but there are curves, too. I think they add something lyrical… something that helps link everything together.

Here is where my visual journal entry has gotten to, today:

Now there are new elements, lines, shapes, colors, and textures that I added without referring to the original. I’ve created a big compositional field of complexity. Or, you might call it a mess! I do this in my paintings, too… it seems to be the natural course of how I work. I’ve grown to accept it as part of my process.

Now, my challenge is not only to simplify, but to add detail where I deem it important. It’s to create a whole, but to keep the small elements which contribute to the whole alive. I may glance at the original which started the process, but will be more likely to work from what I have here.

For me, the way the puzzle comes together involves striking a balance. On one side of the scale, I’m making intuitive decisions based on what I feel is being suggested to me by what’s already happened on the page. On the other side, my logical brain steps in making decisions about composition, and clarity, and color.

More tomorrow!

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