A Detour through Flatland

Sunday, March 4, 2018 5:45 PM

One way to abstract an image is to render it as an interlocking set of flat, colored shapes. This is somewhat foreign to me because I am such a 3D thinker, but I wanted to try this kind of painting anyway. I seemed to me that flattening techniques might pop up in my work later on to enrich the more dimensional images that I usually create. I found an old photo of my husband and our dog sitting on our kitchen sofa (I highly recommend having a sofa in the kitchen if you have the space for it). The imagery was straightforward and it seemed to lend itself to making large, expressive shapes. I used a 24 x 24" white canvas. A lot of the thinking went into the drawing at the beginning. Once the big forms were worked out, most of the painting concerned color choices and adjusting and fine tuning the shapes.  I dealt with the face by not really painting a face. It ended up being just a head shape with the suggestion of a shadow on one side. I find that getting the shape right is critical, but other than that, you don''t need to put much in for people feel satisfied with what they see.  Man and Dog, oil, 20 x 20" One of my favorite things is life is the shapes that a newspaper makes when someone holds it up to read. I enjoyed using the newspaper to create a nice set of shapes breaking up the man image and extending the whiteness of the dog shape. I used just a hint of shading throughout, but my main focus was the composition of light and dark, and the way the shapes interlock with each other creating wonderful lines between them.Man and Dog, oil, 20 x 20"

This painting surprised me. It felt a little like looking at someone else''s painting because it''s so different from my usual style. But I felt pretty successful with this and I think that flatness will come up in my work again. It remains to be seen.