Part 5 – Exercise 5 – “Abstraction from study of natural forms” – work in progress

The brief:

In this exercise you can abstract by looking very closely at a familiar natural form and expanding what you see in an arrangement of lines, shapes and colours. You could study a highly coloured flower or leaf or butterfly wing or examine closely a highly structured form such as a rock crystal, a shell or seed head.

To get to grips with the compositional possibilities, tonal arrangements and colours, you may wish to make studies first in your sketchbook.

The process:

Now I am pretty much out of my comfort zone of anything I have tried in painting before. So I went searching for ideas around and about me. The first natural images to catch my eye and my interest were found on a walk in the forest close by to our house – rocks/boulders from the hill covered in (probably years) of lichen. The shapes and markings were obviously natural, but also really intriguing. Here is a reference photograph:

Part 5 - exercise 5 'Abstraction from study of natural forms' - idea 1 (click image to enlarge)

Part 5 – exercise 5 ‘Abstraction from study of natural forms’ – idea 1 (click image to enlarge)

You can hopefully see where my thinking was going in looking at this natural organism, taken from several burn boulders in the forest – silvery/cold formations; through warmer green and brown; and back to silvery/cold – almost akin to geographical representations of countries, continents and hemispheres . This encouraged me to look closely at some of the individual outlines and shapes of these formations, and while trying not to think too much about the end result I put down this ‘abstraction’ using a combination of colours from ink based poster marker pens (uni POSCA  and PITT):

Part 5 - exercise 5 'Abstraction from study of natural forms' - idea 2 (click image to enlarge)

Part 5 – exercise 5 ‘Abstraction from study of natural forms’ – idea 2 (click image to enlarge)

Another image that caught my attention was of a burnt out bowl of a tree, and in particular the shape and colourings of the burnt out opening (again using marker pens):

Part 5 - exercise 5 'Abstraction from study of natural forms' - idea 3 (click image to enlarge)

Part 5 – exercise 5 ‘Abstraction from study of natural forms’ – idea 3 (click image to enlarge)

Something else that came to mind whilst sketching this was the image of an unfolding fern bud that I had photographed earlier in the year along the forest trail to the loch next to us, Loch Meikle:

Part 5 - exercise 5 'Abstraction from study of natural forms' - idea 4 (click image to enlarge)

Part 5 – exercise 5 ‘Abstraction from study of natural forms’ – idea 4 (click image to enlarge)

The first interpretation of this as an abstract image turned out to be very much influenced by celtic art, and in particular the work of George Bain http://www.groamhouse.org.uk. The curls and lines of these fern buds remind me of the same effects in the work of the Picts and the Celts:

Part 5 - exercise 5 'Abstraction from study of natural forms' - idea 5 (click image to enlarge)

Part 5 – exercise 5 ‘Abstraction from study of natural forms’ – idea 5 (click image to enlarge)

However, bearing the exercise brief in mind, I finally decided to focus in on the detail of a fern bud and its structure and am looking to develop this idea as my finished abstract study for this exercise:

Part 5 - exercise 5 'Abstraction from study of natural forms' - idea 6 (click image to enlarge)

Part 5 – exercise 5 ‘Abstraction from study of natural forms’ – idea 6 (click image to enlarge)

Stuart Brownlee – 512319

21st November, 2014

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Idea 6 – work in progress:

Part 5 - exercise 5 'Abstraction from study of natural forms' - idea 6 work in progress (click image to enlarge)

Part 5 – exercise 5 ‘Abstraction from study of natural forms’ – idea 6 work in progress (click image to enlarge)

Using a 40x50cm canvas board pre-prepared with a light acrylic wash I applied a metal grid with staples to the lower part of the composition (actually the metal grid from a ‘ready-to-go’ camping barbecue), covered the grill and outlined the main shape of the study with paper mache, which I left to dry out for a few days.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319

25th November, 2014

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Once dry a mid-tone yellow ochre coloured white gesso was applied and left to dry:

Part 5 - exercise 5 - 'Abstraction from study of natural forms' - gesso covering (click image to enlarge)

Part 5 – exercise 5 – ‘Abstraction from study of natural forms’ – gesso covering (click image to enlarge)

This next view shows the idea from a lower angle:

Part 5 - exercise 5 - 'Abstraction from study of natural forms' - gesso covering 2 (click image to enlarge)

Part 5 – exercise 5 – ‘Abstraction from study of natural forms’ – gesso covering 2 (click image to enlarge)

Stuart Brownlee – 512319

26th November, 2014

 

2 comments on “Part 5 – Exercise 5 – “Abstraction from study of natural forms” – work in progress

  1. Pingback: Part 5 – Exercise 5 – “Abstraction from study of natural forms” – finished study | Stuart Brownlee

  2. Pingback: Part 5 – Exercise 6 – “Abstract painting from man-made form” – finished study | Stuart Brownlee

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