Creating Abstract Patterns

 Although my work is macabre my methodology is abstract. In a previous post explaining how I create composite models I mentioned that I do not like open space. There are numerous artists who make open space work their pieces. In rare instances I may adopt that approach but it is not my preferred method. Instead I opt for filling in the open spaces. When done correctly it helps to draw the eye in to the central figure/s and theme. If done poorly, well it just becomes a muddled mess at its worse, and is a distraction at its best. And so the method must be with the purpose of complimenting the overall finished product. 

As I work these days it has become intuitive as to what those abstract patterns will be. I cannot tell you what a pattern will be before the central figure of a piece has been decided on, much less completed. However, I can tell you that as a piece is coming together those abstract patterns themselves start to form. But for the sake of this post I have created a standalone piece for reasons of instructions to my method. In my book DEMONS NEVER DIE the abstract shapes were emblematic of fire, and that is what I have chosen to demonstrate here. 

To create the image here I started by drawing random lines and patterns overtop of one another until I was satisfied they looked enough like fire to serve my purpose. 

On close inspection you may see lines of varied thickness. There is also a degree of some shading here. Darker at the bottom. 

At the center and running upward is what I call a "bright spot". This is where the eye will be drawn into the most. It's blank and mostly open right now because as I am working I will fill it in with color. Also, because I know what I am adding to the image later I know that area will be filled with another detail. But all I want right now is the "fire".   

Ordinarily I would not finish the piece with colors at this stage without the central figure. What I am demonstrating here is the coloring process itself. The coloring process for every artist is different. In the digital age of creating art that is even more so, due to the fact that not every artist uses the same software. Even more to the point: suppose every artist did use the same software? Their individual uses of the software would certainly vary. This may seem as if I am avoiding the question of how I color my pieces. I can only say that I have no trade secrets. I color the way I color because I am an individual. So, if you read these posts and decide to attempt my method of creating art the way I create art, your mileage will vary, especially when it comes to the coloring process. I can tell you that the two programs I use are MS Paint (yes, really) and Kodak Picture It!. I know Paint no longer has user support and Kodak no longer makes Picture It! If you, by chance, have that program you will find it very difficult to do what I do, because the program was not created to use it the way I use it. Why do I use it? To that I can only say, I've been using it a very long time. I know there are programs that would make all of this much easier, but I don't want to learn how to use them. I'm old. 

So, let's start over. Now that we know how the abstract patterns are created we can pretend that we always knew what we were doing. The central figure is a raised fist. The finished piece will be titled "Righteousness". 

Okay, so in many of my pieces you will notice that the central figure is joined together with the abstract patterns, and within those abstract patterns are even more abstract patterns, albeit smaller. This is not random. It is intentional. It all goes back to my dislike for open spaces. Even as I am writing this, looking over at the image I do not like that big "bright spot" and I want to stop writing so that I can go back and fill it all in, even though the piece itself has already been finished and this image is just a demo. Did I not mention I am compulsive?   

Moving on! 

As noted before, the bright spot will be filled in with detail later. In this case during the "painting" stage. It's only been recently that I've committed to exploration of colors with a limited palette. The bulk of my work is greyscale. But that's another story. As for the detail, I already know that I will not be joining the central figure to most of the abstract patterns. The central figure here must stand out as if being raised out of fire. But there will be smaller details and patterns that I will add later. So let's have a look at the finished piece. 

 And because I love greyscale...

Personally I think the details pop when the colors are dulled (as above), but in greyscale they really stand out. In any case, that's how I create abstract shapes. 

But suppose I do want to join my central figure together with those abstract patters? Easy enough. Sort of. I simply draw those same types of patterns where desired over the central figure. For this example I am conveying the illusion that the hand is on fire. But now the theme has been changed. Now, instead of a closed fist we have an open hand. The entire message has been changed. This is no longer "Righteousness" and so I would have to retitle the work. That's not really important to this demonstration, only that you understand the method. 

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