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.


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.

Further Experiments

As I continue to explore the creative possibilities available in Procreate app for iPad, one thing remains constant. There is always a drive to find new ways to use the many available tools to create abstractions that catch the eye through composition and color. My most recent experiments are posted below. They differ in many ways but share a varied and rather contrasting palette of colors. My usual method of improvising and editing as I create was used on all three and, as always they were all built up in layers.

It must be obvious to regular viewers of this blog that I love complexity in my designs. These three definitely offer that. In addition to that intricacy I also try to add a sense of the “hand made” to these digital creations. I love looking at the surface of paintings to see how the reflected light defines their textures. All of these were edited in iColorama to give either a pitted or “dimensioned” quality to the digital “surface”. Therein lies the contradiction of digital art; to make the images look more “real” one tweaks them with even more digital magic!

Textured Abstracts

When I’m creating abstract designs I usually work on three images at a time. The reason for this is to explore the possibilities of individual tools in Procreate app and to consider variations on a specific compositional theme. Therefore, all three of these abstractions have several things in common. They share subject matter composed of geometric shapes (circles, rectangles, etc) and various uses of lines. Their color schemes are related and all three evolved using the same few tools in combination.

All of the designs were created using multiple layers in Procreate app for iPad. The texturing of each surface was done separately in iColorama which is a photo editing app that works very well to alter the look of original artwork as well.

This composition incorporates a warm palette and limited values of light middle tones without great contrast. Using overlapping similar values and colors creates a subtle complexity.
Still using geometric shapes and lines, this composition uses high contrasts of values and a mainly cool palette of blues and purples with a few warm colors added for variety.
The final design continues with the geometric theme and combines both the warm and cool palettes. A new addition is the use of black overlaid circles and lines to add motion and unity to the composition.

“Painterly” Abstracts

I suppose these abstracts could be called “expressionist” as well as “painterly”. What I’ve tried to do with this group of images is to use the digital medium to appear as if painted. There are fewer specified objects and freer handling of color and texture than I usually work with. I have described my working method as a kind of “visual improvisation”not starting out with a predetermined idea. I just add or subtract layers of shapes and textures until a desired effect is achieved, the end result “evolving” gradually. Most of the abstract compositions that I have posted over the past year have tended to be a bit more structured and somewhat less spontaneous than this trio though I feel that these still have form and visual interest.

All three were created on an iPad with Procreate app and some additional surface texturing in iColorama for iPad.


The theme of this trio of abstractions is contrast. There are differences between the images and within each of the three are contrasts of colors, values and textures. For example, notice the difference between the background and foreground elements in all three. The backgrounds tend to be more textured and generally “brushy” or roughened. The foreground elements are more defined, particularly the first and third. There is a major contrast between the first two and the last, mainly in the color palette and darker values. All three designs were created in Procreate app for iPad and additional texturing was added in iColorama app.

The background pattern mimics a roller where “paint” is applied in layers over textured “paper”. The line image in white and green is superimposed over the background as if on transparent film or glass.
The wrinkled texture was added in iColorama. The overall feeling is almost like a batik printed on cloth.
Using primary colors red, yellow and blue along with relatively dark values and rough textures, this composition has a sense of mystery and timelessness. There is an implied feeling of antiquity, similar to that of petroglyphs or ancient cave paintings

Three Palettes

The three abstractions I’m posting today all use different color palettes. All three were created in Procreate for iPad and enhanced in iColorama app and Photoshop Elements for Mac.

The first uses one of my photos taken of a cloister wall at the monastery of St. Paul de Mausole in St. Rémy, France. This was the sanatorium where Van Gogh stayed and painted some of his last and most famous paintings including Starry Night. I used this photo to provide a semi abstract background for the layered objects in the composition. The palette consists of warm reds, oranges and yellows with touches of green and blue for contrast.

photo of a wall at the monastery of St. Paul de Mausole in St. Rémy, France in the background

The next abstract uses a strikingly more analogous palette of greens, yellows and blues. The composition contains more arcs and rounded objects arranged to imply motion.

analogous palette with implied motion

The last composition incorporates a palette that I rarely use, predominantly of blues and purples. As in the mainly green image above, I tried to create motion by using curves against more static objects.

cool analogous palette of blues and purples with implied motion

You can view a larger image of each by clicking on the thumbnails below.

Between the Lines

When working on new abstract ideas, I often do them in “3’s”. It’s fun to do a series of compositions that work around a particular technique or concept. The three abstractions I’m posting today have something in common. All of them are composed of multiple shapes with assorted lines floating above. The idea is that the lines will give structure and visual interest to the miscellaneous shapes below. Each of the designs have a unique texture and arrangement of compositional elements though they all share a warm color palette of reds, yellows and oranges.

created in Procreate app for iPad – textured in iColorama app
created in Procreate app for iPad
created in Procreate app for iPad – textured in iColorama app

Fill in the Blanks

Here are three new abstract designs. All were created in Procreate app for iPad. I used the same basic technique for all three designs. Starting with a black pen tool, I set the overall design down on one layer. I made this the “reference” layer which allowed me to just drop solid colors into any open area in the reference design. For example, the illustration below shows the “filling-in” of the first two colors.

I used six colors for the completed design, each color on a separate layer. Then I added various textures to the individual color layers. I added five rectangles onto a top layer which show through transparently in a blue-green tone.

Here is the finished design.

The second design was created in the same way using a reference layer and filling in with six colors on separate layers. Textures were added to the individual colors. The main difference with this composition is that I used an airbrush tool to break up the original line design (reference) with black and white. This gives it a metallic appearance.

The last composition started out in the same way as the first two; reference line design and color fill-ins. Eight color layers were used. No textures were added to the individual colors. White was used as the reference line color. A top layer was added with three light blue polygons used transparently to add color and complexity. An airbrush tool was then used to add color toning to a couple of the color layers. Finally, I brought the completed image into iColorama app and added the surface texture over the whole design.