branching out

Onset - oil on canvas - 18" x 24"
Onset – oil on canvas – 18″ x 24″

I’ve wanted to tackle pure abstraction for awhile, but haven’t really had the nerve to completely leave subject matter behind. Good abstract art is usually trickier to do well than anything with a recognizable subject, because you have only the basic elements with which to ‘get it right’.

This is me jumping in and testing my love of composition and colour relationships. I decided that I should take the experiments I’ve been doing in stained glass/mosaic stylization to the next level and see what happens. But I’ve also been experimenting with softer edges. I like how this is really a hard-edge composition, but blurred a bit. As a matter of fact, I had such a hard time getting a photo that didn’t look like it was out-of-focus that I decided to use an oblique studio shot here.

But as for it supposedly having no subject matter, I can still see a landscape — a forest? — in this painting. Whereas last week’s work is an abstracted landscape painting, this is an abstract painting with landscape elements. It’s still about the trees.


    • When I can afford to do it I would love to. It looks like such fun! Meanwhile, I can explore the subtleties and nuances of stained-glass imagery better in oil paint.


  1. As it loaded I saw a landscape – rocks, water, trees.The red? It calls me back for a deeper think of what it might be…flowers? fall leaves? The quirk of the artist to make us think again?.
    Stained glass? Yes. In that genre abstracts are easier! Delicate stamens, not so much. 🙂


    • There is built-in structure in the design elements/principles of art-with-a-subject that doesn’t exist in abstract compositions, making it easier to be successful from a design standpoint. It may be *technically* more difficult to execute delicate stamens in stained glass, but bad abstract art is bad abstract art no matter what the medium.


  2. Abstracts tend to suggest things to me whenever I look at them – though not always the same things in the same places – that’s one of their beauties.

    I see this as an exploration of one of those origami cranes or flapping birds – so an abstraction of an abstration. 🙂


    • Your and Andy’s comments have given me food for thought. I have always considered the highest form of abstraction to be work like Rothko or Mondrian, where subject matter is almost impossible to find, but like you, I love to see things that aren’t necessarily there. It gives me impetus to keep following down this path and see what I discover.


  3. You see trees; I see mountains 🙂

    I may be a complete numpty where art appreciation is concerned, yet it seems to me that abstract art “works” for the viewer if it contains some form of trigger, something for the viewer to latch onto as a means of relating to the work.

    For what it’s worth, for me, the verticals seem akin to fault lines or stratification, as though I’m looking at a landscape through the very structure of the rock. Or that’s what my mountain-obsessed brain sees, anyway 🙂


    • I can see exactly what you mean since I can’t go for a hike without having the geology of my environment pointed out to me by Greg every kilometre or so! 😊 Check out my response to Caroline. As far as trees go, the trees I am reminded of here are the tall conifers of my Canadian coastal ecosystem.


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