Thursday, December 11, 2014

How in the world did I get from there to here?

   Now, I ask did I get from this black and white photograph of heather on South Uist, done in 2005, to the abstract expressionistic pond painting I just did in 2014?  At first it seemed a bit of a puzzle to me.

   Yet, when I look at these two images, I do see a subtle similarity, especially in the focus on curving lines and texture.  All art, be it painting or photography, is an evolutionary process.  You begin where you are and then, over time and with countless influences and experiences, you slowly change.  In this case, the change was dramatic.

   From 2005 to 2009 I only worked in black and white.  My experience on the Burren in 2009 opend me to using some color for the first time.  It wasn't until 2011, however, that I fully embraced the color image.

   But not until I began my Poetry of Place project this past June did I begin to explore the fascinating world of abstract photography when I eliminated any reference to realistic imagery from some of my photographs.  It seems, however, that I am still evolving stylistically.

  When I made my first digital "painting" a month or so ago, I crossed into a whole new way of practicing my art.  Not only were the concrete references gone but I thought in terms of brush stroke and layering for the first time.  Now the photograph's surface is broken up into dabs and dashes of color just as if I had actually put brush to canvas.

   This seemed, at first, to be a huge leap but again it has its roots in past experience. I made several digital collages after I began doing
SoulCollage® pieces and some of those techniques aided me in this latest endeavor. I simply eliminated any recognizable imagery from the piece and focused solely on color and tone, shape and line...pure abstract images that come, nevertheless, from the natural world and my experience of it. With the paintings I was set completely free to create an expression of place rather than a realistic depiction of it which my photography always was.

   Perhaps this is all a natural progression but had you asked me a year ago if I thought I would be working this way now I would have totally pooh poohed the idea.  Never say never.  Just keep an open mind and, like the Tao suggests, let it flow where it will.  You might find yourself in a whole new and exciting world!

   Even if I never make another digital painting, and I have no intention of abandoning my more traditional work, this whole experience has awaken new possibilities for my photography.  It is always important to "play" with your medium whenever you can.  It is never a wasted effort...

A mind that is stretched by a new experience
 can never go back to its old dimensions.

Oliver Wendall Holmes



kimmanleyort said...

You are a contemplative artist, no matter what you do. I must say I'm loving this abstract turn.

Patricia Turner said...

Thank you Kim. I am loving this new way of seeing as well! Thank you for your encouragement as I continue this contemplative journey. One wonders where it could lead next!