Blog: A New Direction In My Work-abstract Photography

January 23, 2024

There is a new direction in my art. I have been exploring doing my photographic art using a semi-realistic approach. I have been working how I could accomplish this for over a year.

In this project I focused on shapes by using color. The semi-realism comes in because I have changed the color of the initial photographs. These photographs are from a landscape where the primary colors are grey and brown. The geologic features from this central Utah area stretches on for miles. In the field while photographing, I found the gulleys, rivulets and organic shapes intriguing. But the lack of color was uninspiring to me. So I decided to change the landscape with color.

The color changes are what make this work semi-abstract. That is you cannot go to any spot and see this in reality. This work is from my imagination and my creation.

So why change colors? What I have accomplished by doing this is to showcase features in the landscape I found captivating. I used a two-tone palette to introduce color. This emphasized the features of the landscape better to me than the neutral colors I saw in reality. Limiting the colors to a simple palette was a deliberate choice.

I have photographed many colorful landscapes. In viewing reality a vivid landscape is what captivates attention. Shapes and details recede as being of visual interest because of strong color. I wanted to keep the emphasis on the shapes in this project while introducing color elements to accomplish this. The two colors I chose allowed the features of the landscape to be the main star of the show with without being visually overwhelmed by color.

I chose an orange-blue-purple color palette because of what it represents to me. This is a favorite combination for me. There are two reasons for this. I associate these colors from where I’ve been and what colors I have seen.

I associate these colors with the Southwestern landscape of the United States. This is an area I love to photograph and immerse myself in when pursing my art. The brightness of orange with the complimentary blue-purple tones of color I have seen depicted in Southwestern landscapes, Native American arts and crafts such as jewelry and weavings. I wanted to capture this color combination for this series. in this series.

The second place I’ve witnessed an orange-blue-purple color palette is photographing winter sunsets in Southern California where I currently live. The sunrises and sunsets are intensely colorful and beautiful. The rising and setting of the sun are often made up of these colors during this time of the year. As I photographed I found myself silently grateful when I would see these colors happen.

It has taken me a long time to figure out what colors I prefer as an artist. I felted antically limited at times by what colors naturally occurred when I was out photographing. There are certain venues where I wanted to change the colors to express what I was feeling. The landscape in this project was one of those places.

Another influence on my choice of my color work is the art of Western artist Maynard Dixon. His frequent use of orange, turquoise blue colors in his paintings I found very inspiring. It was a simple suggestion by a friend that I might try some of his color combinations in my work. That simple nudge made me aware of just how much I love this color combination. I decided to try it with this project.

Focusing on semi-abstraction with two color choices I am presenting a different focus and direction in my work. I find the choice to exciting and artistically gratifying. By changing my thinking on how I approach my I hope to discover just how far I can take it. I invite you to share the changes and journey with me.