Apr 23, 2014

One Of These Days ....

I found this note today, in an old art workshop journal, which I thought might be of interest to someone who is a realistic artist who contemplates doing abstracts (me, most of the time but without success).
I copied the following note from an article in WATERCOLOR MAGIC, August 2006. (being the hoarder of all things 'art', I probably still have this magazine !) 
I find that if I hand-write something out, sometimes as it helps me retain the info ... not so much that time, maybe this time ;)

H.C. Dod, Houston, Texas, website 
- says she is;

A realistic painter who works in abstract. 
What she means is that first she creates a collage to use as a reference. She then makes a drawing of the collage, enlarges it to the size she's going to paint and then uses a lightbox to transfer the drawing to her water-colour paper.
Why does abstraction work so well for one so methodical ?
"I love abstract", Dodd explains.  "No one can tell you the head is too big or the perspective is off - they don't know.  Besides, if something doesn't work in an abstract, you can change it. You have the option to change the whole thing if you like."
Dodd hopes (looking at one of her paintings) it will arouse an emotional response. "You either respond to a painting or you don't - no matter who's painted it," she says. "Some paintings leave you cold, and some leave you gasping."

Her work is the type of abstract that I am drawn to ... and they are gorgeous. Realistic parts but cut up and places out of the natural order and her work has a fabric/fibre feel to it.
I still struggle with abstracts but I am going to give her ideas some more thought.

It seems like a lot of 'stuff' to do before you get that finished abstract look .... what say you ? Please feel free to discuss your ideas ... I'd love to hear what you think.


When I first got my iMac I spent a lot of time playing with the 'fun' things I could do on it ... shattering a photo was one of them. I then used the shattered photo and did it in ink. I guess this is somewhat like HC Dodd talks about. I could easily do this in fibre next, maybe with some more, but subtle moving around of 'bits'. Liking this idea !
I will gather the materials and see what I come up with when I house-sit at the end of the month. I hope to spend part of those days painting fabric.
Shattered Bouquet


  1. I want to explore abstract more. I alo really liking the exploding that can happen to just part of an image.

    1. I hear you, elle. I don't understand why I have such a hesitancy towards abstracts but feel I must add them to my list of can do's ;)

  2. Thank you for a most interesting post that has made me think. I've been thinking about it ever since I read it a couple of days ago. Here are some very random and rather disjointed thoughts to add to the mix!

    I too am enormously drawn to working in the abstract, though right now I know that much of my work has more than a nod to realism. I know I have a long way to go before I feel really assured in that kind of work but I’m edging my way forward slowly. It all still feels tentative and experimental to me, though I'm gradually acquiring techniques and ways of working that seem to work for me some of the time.

    Unless … maybe I'm missing something and experimentation is actually the whole point of it all. I certainly love all the 'stuff' I have to do before I get to the textile piece - lots of trying out of techniques to get the effect I want. My recent online course with Dionne Swift was a great help as it made me think a lot about choosing the right initial drawing technique to give help to the eventual way of working. I think this approach will be very helpful some of the time.

    Whatever else, as I think about it, it seems to me that abstraction is a process rather than a final end point and that there is no greater value in it than in any other approach. The point is perhaps to adopt whatever seems appropriate at the time.

    And ... I love your shattered photo - definitely what H C Dodd is talking about. I can really see it in your usual colour palette and with your wonderful machine stitch technique. I also think, from what I've seen of your work online, that you are more experimental and abstract than you give yourself credit for ...

  3. Thank you so much, CS, for your thoughts on this subject. I think you are right ... abstraction is a process ... a long windy, road kind of process ... 'cause it isn't something that is coming easy to me ... nor is it something that I feel good about sharing unless I am very, very happy with.
    So glad that we have the same feel towards abstracts.
    Thank you for the lovely compliments and I think you are right again ... I may be 'more experimental and abstract than you (I) give yourself credit for' ... we'll see if the 'Shattered Bouquet' works for a bit more abstraction into fibre (at least that's my plan for the near future ;) !)


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