Seeing a Photo Like an Abstract Artist.

Branches over water. Tualatin River.

This is a photo from my walk today, but squint a little and imagine it as an abstract painting. See those lines? The texture of the background? Darks and lights? When you strip what you're seeing down to basics, your brain doesn't need to identify the subject matter, and can instead think about how it feels. Restful? Anxious? Alive? Sad? Joyful?

For instance, I would not need to know this was a nature photo to feel restful when I look at it. I see the subdued colors, and the softness of the the textures and immediately feel peaceful. The dark lines help to keep it from being too sleepy.

And now I really want to show you this painting I love by Randall David Tipton, who is so adept at abstractifying landscapes. Instead of seeing just branches and riverbank, you may notice color, shapes and feeling first. The subjects clarify later. 

Randall David Tipton, Untitled (Bryant Creek)

It's an interesting way to look at things and helps one understand why abstract art can be abstract and still convey plenty to the viewer. 

I'm a huge fan of Randall's work and he's been a wonderful mentor to me as I struggle along this artist path. If you don't yet know him, he is @randalldavidtipton on Instagram.

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