Abstract diptych of Pussy Willow catkins by the local duck pond together with the accidental art gallery created with concrete forms at a local building site

Natural/Unnatural : Focussing on Details


I’ve spent this COVID winter going around the neighbourhood taking macros of tree bark and urban debris. In March I started combining them into diptychs, trying to find a commonality between the details of the two very different items.

Abstract diptych that combines white-striped trees with a white pipe dripping with black paint up against a telephone pole. abstract diptych combining trees with white-striped bark with a white pipe dripping with black paintA dialogue between the dotted shadow of a perforated steel stairway and trees whose bark is splotched with white lichen and green algae.  abstract diptych combining the dotted shadow of a perforated steel stairway with trees whose bark is splotched with white lichenAbstract diptych combining a macro of cracked palm bark (Costa Rica, not Vancouver) with the cracked weathered tape on a black lamppost (Vancouver). abstract diptych combining a macro of cracked palm bark with weathered and cracked tape on a black lamppostGraffiti on a wall combined with the exposed branches of an over-pruned cedar hedge with its underlying limbs exposed.abstract diptych combining graffiti on a wall with the exposed branches of an overpruned cedar hedgeI haven’t spent much time painting during the last year but these images are sparking a few thoughts about what the complimentary paintings might look like. This is the cedar hedge done in wax crayon (Crayola), pencil and watercolour.
Sketch of overpruned cedar hedge done in wax crayon, pencil and watercolourHere my thinking was that, somehow, the bark would somehow ‘explode’ into graffiti. Perhaps some more thinking is needed before I go larger because that didn’t happen, but this did. The problems in combining the two images in my head had me rethinking the graffiti half of that diptych. This one is less complex, and mimics the branches better – the orange brick wall in the background has better possibilities for a painting too! I showed a friend and she likes this version better telling me there was too much stuff going on in my first one. Here I’ve started with the accidental art on concrete forms at a local building site. But with spring on the arrival I’ve moved from focussing exclusively on bark and included these Pussy Willow catkins by the local duck pond as a compliment to the concrete ‘art’.Abstract diptych of used concrete form in yellowy-greens and grey combined with soft yellow catkins on a pussy willow beside a dark green pondAnd here is the sketch, crayons and watercolour. Again I have a vague idea of where I want to go which is along the lines of balancing a conversation between positive and negative, but I have a ways to go before I commit to a large painting. Sketchbook of Pussy Willow catkins by the duck pondMore on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Focussing on Details.

18 thoughts on “Natural/Unnatural : Focussing on Details

  1. I love your works in progress, Elizabeth. The combinations you’ve chosen really help us see the similarities in surprising and beautiful ways. I love this! I keep returning to the bark and pussy willows. Beautiful contrasts/similarities.

    1. All winter I was photographing tree bark and then I saw the pussy willows on March 1st, and my diptychs started going in a slightly different direction. I’m quite looking forward to coming up with the complimentary paintings…

  2. Perhaps I’ve said this before (?), but I so much love your eye for making the pairs, combining them into something whole. Decay and nature’s own designs, what a magnificent mix! Good luck with the paintings, it looks promising!

    1. This thinking bit is the most fun – I can go anywhere. The big paintings are a lot more commitment but I’m hoping to have some ready for our big November Culture Crawl, and hopefully Covid will have died down to the point where a show with big crowds is actually possible!

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