Red and Blue

The heading above has nothing to do with American political parties. Instead, it refers to my latest two abstract designs. These compositions have many similarities and a few major differences. The similarities include their formats (tall elongated dimensions), the basic subject matter and their overall texture. The major differences are in general color (red or blue) and the contrast of values (light to dark colors). Red is generally more analogous in color, closer color relationships with less dramatic contrast. The shapes and textures overlap more subtlety. Blue has more contrast of both values and colors. The range of light to dark is greater and the complimentary colors of Blue offset the subject matter more sharply than in Red. Several textures are overlapped digitally to create both images using varying levels of transparency. They were both created in Procreate app for iPad with an Apple Pencil. They were then brought into iColorama app to produce a slightly embossed surface texture.



About two weeks ago I posted a new digital abstraction created in Procreate app for iPad. I talked about how that design was created and then showed some of the variations produced by running the original through another app, iColorama. I decided to create a new abstraction in Procreate and try even more experiments with iColorama. Here are the results.

New Abstract Design

Color Variations

Here are some experiments involving color changes to the original design. As with the previous experiments, the composition doesn’t change but the color relationships do. Here are some of the varied color combinations that were produced in iColorama.

Here they are as a slideshow, one color combination dissolving into another.

Further transformations

Still using iColorama, I was able to simulate these watercolor effects.

Extreme transformations

Finally, I was able to create radical transformations in iColorama affecting color, shape and texture.

More Gold

In my recent abstracts, I’ve enjoyed working with images using gold as backgrounds. Here are three new compositions incorporating digital photos of gold surfaces. As with the last posting, I have used a very limited palette so that the golden color and textures show through beneath bold geometric shapes. They were created digitally in Procreate app for iPad with added surface textures generated in iColorama app.

Layers and Lines

My working method for these new abstractions could be summed up in these two words, layers and lines. They were created digitally in Procreate app for ipad. The complexity of the designs is achieved with various shapes and overlapping colors that are built up in layers. Some of the shapes are transparent and some opaque. Line work was later added over this complex base. Two methods were used for creating the lines. A drawing tool, technical pen, was used for the thinner lines. Most of the wider lines were made by using a medium hard air brush tool. To make these slightly wider lines, the air brush tool was used in the eraser mode to cut the lines out of existing solid shapes. When the images were complete, I felt that they could be enhanced by digitally adding a slightly embossed or raised texture. This was done in another app, iColorama, which is normally used for digital photo enhancement.

You can see them at full size by clicking on each image below.

The finer light lines were made with the technical pen tool drawn over the layered base. Wider lines were made with the air brush tool (used in eraser mode) to cut through existing solid shapes.

Tiny Universes

These visual improvisations were digitally created with color, line, texture and shapes. Looking at times like maps or tiny universes that represent their own innate reality, they are products of the imagination and not representational. Each seems complete in itself and yet they all want to expand outward as if they are only a snapshot of some larger entity.

All three were created in Procreate app for the iPad. One of the techniques I use in making these images is to start with a solid form and cut away shapes (circles or lines) so that the background can show through. All of these use that method along with layering and various amounts of translucency, mixing colors and textures. A semi-embossed texture was finally added in iColorama app.

Bits and Pieces

Starting with a single geometric shape, I divided it into sections by color and then created more multi-colored shapes in a similar fashion. I added backgrounds of textures and patterns to contrast with the shapes. Trying to keep a feeling of cheerfulness in this dark time, the colors of the geometric objects were kept to pastel shades. It might be nice to think of them as bits and pieces of light and hope for the future. All three compositions were designed in Procreate app for iPad. When they were finished, I added a slightly “embossed” texture in iColorama app.

Using Patterns

One of the interesting attributes of Procreate app for the iPad is the use of brushes to fill areas of the “canvas” with a given pattern. This is very convenient when putting together a digital collage. Instead of just drawing a line or spraying a color these pattern brushes can lay down whole areas or shapes with a predetermined repeating design. The three abstractions below are experiments in using several new pattern brushes to digitally mimic the traditional method of cutting and pasting various patterned elements for a mixed-media composition.


The three abstractions presented today could be summed up as angular. Two share a cool palette of blues and purples and the other is much warmer in color. All three contain circles and many diagonal lines and shapes but the first impression one has is that of angularity. The larger circles and curved shapes serve as focal points around which the pointed elements of the composition create movement.

All three were produced in Procreate app for iPad. To emphasize the “edginess” of the lines and shapes, I used icolorama app to create a slightly embossed and/or raised surface.

Three Singularities

The images posted today are all individuals. Each has a unique look, palette and texture. They result from my ongoing exploration using Procreate app along with iColorama to create abstract compositions.

I would describe this as a digital version of a painterly collage. Paint-like tools in Procreate were used to make “brush strokes” and various textures. Over the background, some geometric areas were painted a solid color and then, using the erase tool, a woodcut texture was etched out.
Very different from the first image this one, also done in Procreate app, features flat areas of color using a very limited palette. The raised or embossed texture along the edges was generated in iColorama app.
In some ways this composition combines features of the first two. There is a painterly underlying texture running through the background as in the first. Geometric shapes are central to the design as in the second and finally, iColorama was used to add an embossed element.

Texturing and Blending

My newest digital abstractions make use of various brush textures as well as virtual texturing to make the images look like they were painted on porous stone-like surfaces. They were created using layers. On each layer there were various objects and colors which when combined made up the composite final image. I also made extensive use of blending modes. These are used to change the transparency and color relationship (blending) with the layers below. Applying blending modes made it possible to build up rich combinations of shapes and colors, something like pasting different colored pieces of thin tissue paper in layers.

All three of these compositions were created on an iPad using Procreate app and an Apple pencil. When the images were finished I used iColorama app to add surface textures to complete the process.

Select any of the thumbnail images below to see composition at full size.

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