An abstract image by Orkney artist Jane Glue

Going Abstract- creating a set of abstract paintings with Orkney artist Jane Glue

I used this image of the interior of Kirbuster farm museum in Orkney as my 'beginning' because I felt that it had a lot of possibilities for abstraction. I took the photograph with my camera phone on an open day at the museum when the peat fire was lit which added to the wonderful atmosphere there on the day. I chose this photo because it has a lot of different shapes, textures and tonal qualities which I felt would help me to create a collection of artworks. I particularly liked the sweeping form of the straw rope which hung from the roof and the sunlight shining through the open flag stones above which combined with the smoke from the fire created atmosphere and many possibilities for artwork. 

Taking a large A2 sheet of white cartridge paper I began by drawing the picture in a fairly realistic way using soft pastels, taking care to leave the paper white for the white areas and using lighter colours of pastels for the light tones in the picture. I then gradually built up the colour and shade with other colours, rubbing the pastels together with my finger and using a putty rubber to lift out any areas that I felt were turning too dark. I didn't over do the image and I stopped when I felt I had enough form and colour laid down. 

Drawing stage 1

I then turned my board/drawing upside down and I discarded the photograph completely. Turning the picture upside down or on it's side helps me see the image differently and not so realistically. I started working into the pastel image again, building up the colours and tones along with shapes and textures, taking time to continually stand back and half close my eyes to enable me to see the image more tonally.

Drawing stage 2

Now using my phone again, I took several close up photos of parts of the drawing, all the time looking for interesting shapes, colours and textures that I could utilise in further work. Here are a few of the images below, altogether I took fifteen. These images are the starting point for my abstract paintings. 

These images gave me ideas for more artwork. I began with painting a few small watercolour/mixed media pictures.

I used watercolours, oil crayons and gesso on watercolour blocks.

Then using these small paintings I moved on to producing larger artworks. I started by printing a few of the small images on to a bigger A3 size of tissue paper. I then took a few sheets of heavy watercolour paper and I glued parts of the printed tissue with the idea of creating new images. I also added on gesso to create textured shapes. Once this was dry, I then painted in more watercolour to create the sea, I also dropped in some salt into the wet paint.

Lastly I covered some 'found' shells and sea glass with printed tissue paper, sticking these down and drawing into the image loosely with more oil crayons.

This is the final image. I do think it is amazing that from a visit to my favourite Orkney museum, I end up doing a landscape!  

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