Monday, July 6, 2009

Abstraction from Photos

photo by Doug Nelson

My friend and fellow artist Jo Reimer posted a comment on my bamboo Paper Painting, she talked about working from photos but only using them as a reference point and then going off on your own. 

This process of capturing the essence of an image from the photo is something I have not talked about on the blog, and it brings up a good point. I use the original image to sketch and under-paint from, but often times when it comes to adding the paper, I go off on a different direction. Color, is what usually causes me to stray. I love color, and when I do my collage work, I enhance and embellish the color that I see before me in the photo, I pump up the color intensity and the texture, and I always feel that the collage I end up with is much more visually exciting that the photo I began with! (no offense to my husband and his photography skills here!)

Another way that I interpret the photo is with cropping, you can see that my art is a tighter crop on the upper left hand corner of this photo. I always define a main point of focus in my collages, I need a simplified composition in order for collage to really sing. In this case, it was just a matter of limiting the number of bamboo stalks and separating them from the background. I achieved this separation by leaving mostly under-painting, offering a textural separation.


  1. what a lovely photo but i truly like your collage better. i like lots of color and punch as well in my collages. i rarely create from an original photo but i think i'll give it a try.

  2. I always start with a photo, I think it gives me a sense of security for the sketch and the under-painting. The paper sets me free.

  3. WOW--I just found your blog and I am blown away with your beautiful collage paintings. Love the Bamboo and the bird and---all of it. Glad I found your blog. I am in Jacksonville se we are neighbors--kinda.


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