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.


Doodads and Widgets

One of the great things about abstract art is that it doesn’t necessarily have to represent anything real. With these two designs there is almost something tangible but not really recognizable. Are these ancient (or modern?) hieroglyphs? Maybe circuit boards in space? I’ve allowed my penchant for detail a free rein and let these evolve into something intricate but ultimately unknowable. What do you call something like that? Normally, I don’t title my abstracts but I felt compelled to name these “DOODADS” and “WIDGETS” to add a bit of whimsy. It seemed appropriate. They were both created on an iPad with Procreate app and an Apple pencil.

Rainbow Orbs

Making abstractions for me is an improvisational process. Basic elements of the design occur to me as I’m working and they change as the composition evolves. As I worked to create these abstract designs, circles became a dominant element. Using Procreate app for iPad, I molded several of these into apparent 3D orbs which seemed to float in a gauzy colorful space. A mixture of shapes and patterns were layered transparently to create a mesh of color and texture.


These new digital abstractions are all about texture. The three were composed with the same palette of colors and texture “brushes” in Procreate app for iPad. There are several benefits to working digitally. For me, doing abstractions, the most important advantage is working in layers. Using Procreate, I can create textures, each on a separate layer and arrange or alter the layers individually. This allows for changes to color, density, transparency and the position of objects in the final composition. I can make changes along the way, emphasizing or minimizing any of the individual elements on any layer. The end result is a complex combination of the individual transparent layers stacked one on top of another.

Painterly Pastels

Of the many tools available in Procreate app for iPad, the ones I like best are those that clearly mimic traditional drawing and painting media. These new abstract images reflect that preference. They were all created with several of my favorite “brushes”. The most prominent ones are “Rull” (textured roller) brushes, “soft pastel”, and “Syrup” (a kind of flexible pen tool). Other brushes were used but these are the most noticeable in the current compositions.

Procreate “brush” samples

From top to bottom: Nikko Rull, Soft Pastel and Syrup

My intention with these new digital abstractions was to create a “painterly” result as opposed to the “hard edged” designs that I sometimes do.

A more “hard-edged” previously posted design

So…here are the new designs. They have a somewhat “pastel on textured paper” appearance with added graphic line elements as well. Although all three share many of the same colors and textures, each has a unique mood or “feel”.


Those of us who grew up before the digital era learned to “tell time” from the numbers on a round clock face. Behind the face rested the inner mechanical gears and springs of the clockworks, a complicated invention that for centuries has provided a universal fascination. These fanciful abstracted versions of clockworks might be at home in the land of Oz, Harry Potter’s Hogwarts or some other fantastical place. They were created in Procreate app for iPad with a wink and a nod towards Wassily Kandinsky.


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.

Pastel Variants

The abstract compositions in today’s post all have similar elements, a shared pastel palette of colors, textured background, geometric objects and straight and jagged lines. They are all variations on an angular theme created in Procreate app for iPad using various “brushes” (drawing tools) on multiple transparent layers. Later in the post I’ll explain one of the techniques used to create them.

An interesting technique

One of my favorite techniques working in Procreate is to use tools in an eraser mode. There are many drawing tools available in this app and they can all be used in an opaque (normal) mode or as an eraser. I sometimes make an object in the opaque mode and alter it by using the same or other tools in the “eraser” mode. In all three of the abstracts above, the blue “balloon” circles were created this way.

This example shows the use of a “stipple” brush both opaquely and in an “eraser” mode. From the left; a line created opaquely with the stipple brush; circle created with stipple brush; circle with eraser mode used to make the center lighter. To the far right is a circle created in an opaque mode with lines through it made in the eraser mode.
This example shows how a solid brush can be used opaquely and in the “eraser” mode. From the left; a line created with solid brush; solid circle with lines made in “eraser” mode; solid circle with shading done in eraser mode with stipple brush. At far right is a solid circle with lines made by stipple brush in eraser mode.

Here’s a triptych of all three above abstractions

Everybody Like Compliments

Today I give you compliments. I’m referring to color of course. These abstract designs deal with diagonals and complimentary colors. The dominant palette is bright and warm with oranges, reds and yellows (something we can all use in the gray of winter). The complimentary colors are in a range of blues, serving as accents against the warmer background. The images were created digitally with Procreate app for iPad. As is often the case with my designs, the three can be combined to make triptychs since they share many attributes.

Petite Pastels

Today’s offering is a small seasonal gift of brightness and cheer, something we can all use during this stressful time. These three minimal digital abstracts use simple shapes and subdued but cheerful pastel colors which make for an airy and breezy feeling. They were created in Procreate app for iPad.

Best wishes for the holidays!

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