Gray Matter

No, I’m not talking about brain tissues. The heading “gray matter” refers to the palette of colors that was used to create these three digital abstractions. At first glance, the colors (hues) in this palette don’t seem particularly varied.

On closer inspection of these “grays” we see that there are many variants of “warm” hues from pinks and oranges to subtle greens. Using the blending modes in Procreate app for iPad, I was able to intensify and, in some cases mix these colors to achieve the finished results below. The blending modes, which I have mentioned in previous posts, allow for changes to hue, transparency and intensity of colors that are placed on layers. When the upper layer has a blending mode applied to it, the layers below are affected by that change. To make the final compositions more interesting, I applied a canvas texture to the central objects in each of the three designs.

Red and Black

There is something rich and almost velvety about deep red colors against the boldness of black. These new digital abstractions take advantage of this striking contrast. They all share the same color palette and have very similar content. One of my favorite techniques in Procreate app for iPad is to experiment with blending modes. These images are built up of layers of color and shape. If you select one of the higher layers (as at the top of a stack) and apply different blending modes, you end up with very different colors and sometimes transparent results. The blending modes change the relationship of color and transparency with the layers below. Many subtle gradations of overlapping textures and colors can be achieved this way.

Here are some possible combinations of the designs as triptychs.

Digital Dapples

These new digital abstractions were done in Procreate app for iPad. Using a brush called bonobo chalk, I’ve created images that have a diffused, spatter-like quality. One has a white background showing subtle overlapping color mixtures that are almost like miniature pointillist painting. The other two compositions have dark backgrounds that emphasize the intensity of the speckled colors. A technique that helped create them is to use a “brush” as an eraser. It can cut through or around dappled areas to create negative lines.

White background with “pointillist” overlapping
Dark background emphasizing bright areas of color
Dark background emphasizing bright speckled areas of color
negative lines created with “eraser” brush

Circular Thinking

Well, it may not be “circular thinking” as such but at least thinking about circles. That seems to be what was on my mind while working on these abstractions. Circular shapes of various textures, colors and sizes are the subject matter of all three compositions. The backgrounds of all three have a stippled or textured quality giving a sense of “dry brush” or of being “rolled” on. All were created digitally with Procreate app for iPad using an Apple pencil.

Opuses 47 and 48

When I create a new abstract design in Procreate app, a title is automatically assigned if I don’t intentionally name it. That title is “Untitled Artwork” followed by a number. I have actually done several hundred works and I don’t know where the 47 and 48 come from but that’s what they were titled. I thought it would be fun to shorten them to “opus 47” and “opus 48”. Both were built up of many layers of lines, shapes and colors. Using transparency, I was able to mix areas of color in overlapping shapes to create variety. Ellen thinks they have a “spacey” look and they reminded her that the Perseid Meteor Shower is due to occur this week.

Pixels in Pastel

All three of these digital abstracts share the same “pastel” color palette. They are composed of multiple layers of color with some overlap and transparency. Another common attribute is the texture and colors of the background layers. The backgrounds were created with a “brush” that simulates the surface of canvas. They were created in Procreate app for iPad using an Apple pencil.

About Face … Again

Over a year ago, in the midst of rising anguish about Covid-19, I posted some humorous abstract faces to try to cheer things up a bit. That was in April of 2020.

Things are improving but we still have a ways to go so here are a few more that I just finished. My hope is that they will cheer up those still struggling with the pandemic and maybe, provide a sigh of relief for the rest of us who are fortunate to be past the worst of it.

They were created with Procreate app for iPad using an Apple pencil.

Ellen thinks this is my self portrait … who knows

Just … Happy!

Life is beginning to return to some version of “normal” in Vermont. The rate of Covid vaccinations is almost 80% of the state’s eligible population and cases are going down substantially. We just had several days of chilly and cloudy weather but today the sun is full and the temperature mild. All things considered, I’m happy and these decorative and bright abstractions seem to reflect that mood. I hope the outlook is also brightening wherever you are. Maybe these digital designs will help. They were created in Procreate app for iPad.

Here are some arrangements as triptychs.

Feral Colors

Wild, untamed, undomesticated; those are synonyms for feral. “Untamed” splashes of color burst forth unexpectedly as I was putting these compositions together. Maybe it’s due to the arrival of spring or the easing of Covid restrictions locally. Whatever the reason, these bright colors seemed to be appropriate and using a black background helped to make them “pop”. As usual, these abstracts were created with Procreate app for ipad.

Something Borrowed and Something New

When I’m working on a new abstract design I usually combine layers of colors and shapes to make a coherent composition. I’ve done that with the three abstracts below but with a twist. Rather than “starting from scratch” and freshly creating each element, I did what collage artists do all the time; I digitally cut and pasted pieces of existing patterns to accomplish the task. Some of these disparate patterns came from existing textile and wallpaper designs. There are also digitally created textures that I fabricated some time ago. All of these bits and pieces found their way into these new digital collages, something borrowed to make something new.

The compositions were created in Procreate app for iPad using an Apple pencil. Some textures were created in iColorama app.