Friday, October 16, 2009


These images are from the 3 day course that I took with Sue Benner called 'Driven to Abstraction'. On the first day we were asked to choose five fabrics and then she handed each of us a page from National Geographic magazine, from which we were to create an abstract piece. While other workshop participants received images of boats, bugs or people, I got a skull. I felt disturbed and hoped me receiving this particular image was not forehadowing of something ominous. I just 'eye-balled' the values in the image and roughly cut shapes accordingly. That night our homework was to make a collage of one of our personal images. I had brought quite a few of my photos to choose from, but was drawn to a virtually black and white one of light hitting the folds of a blanket. You can see the photo and the collage in the second image from the top. ( I entered these images in the order I'm writing about them, but for some reason, that didn't work and they are mixed up.) Doing the collage was a useful way to get the image inside, because our exercise for the next day of the workshop was to create 5 more abstractions from the same image, although I only managed to do three. I noticed the subtle value and colour differences I found, even though the photo doesn't appear colourful at first glance. When I began working on my abstractions the next day, I did one that largely followed the shapes and composition of the image and then another that was a close-up of part of the image. (Top photo, first two.) I felt frustrated creating this way and I wasn't enjoying myself at all and even felt quite down, which seemed odd. I wanted to just make my own shapes and surprise myself with what I came up with, not be following a map. So it was good for me to realize just how much I like to work following a process without having a preconceived idea. The third abstract beside the other two (turquoise/orange piece) is one where I cut whatever shapes I wanted to and arranged them - although by that time I had my personal image well in mind and continued to be aware of the instructions, so there are still some references to the original. Of the three abstracts, I like this one the best. The final day of the workshop we were to work on a larger piece, again using a personal image as a reference. I switched to using a different photo of a shadow of a metal railing and I decided to draw the outlines onto my batting and use that as a guide to put shapes onto, using cool colours in the background and warm ones in the front. Another participant suggested I might want to use whites instead of warm colours - but this piece is in progress and the photo below the one of Sue Benner shows how far I got. Oh - and right as the workshop ended, I found out that my Grandfather had died the day after I was given the skull right when I was feeling so low.

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