Realism to abstraction


I am revisiting a series of images from my 2022 exhibition “The Nature of the Horse”.  Here is the first one.  I would like to explore it further and create a different version which will form a proposal for a new exhibition, centred again on the “private life”of the horse quite separate from humans.  So far I am simplifying the original into tonal shapes and translating it back into colour again.  I begin with just three tones plus black and white.  It is surprising how much information just those shapes can convey and how much freedom of expression.

Below are my first experiments and sketches from the subject.

I have cut out the main shapes and translated them into colour.  I will take this into a collage.  Again, the simplicity is pretty powerful.    I am learning an amazing amount from this exercise!  The piece is already finding a different aspect and voice.









I am now experimenting with colour – keeping the same palette and tones but getting looser.  These are the cut out shapes again.  Once I have really grasped them, their tones and their colours I will start to play with them.  I know I am moving with this project but it is still fluid.

I have made some collages from the basic shapes and am using them as the springboard for further abstract interpretations.

Here I have made interpretations (left to right) of the collages in layers on a large canvas 1200 x 1000 mm.  I was not happy with the final stage, so I reworked the canvas using elements from the different collages (see large painting below).   It has been an interesting experiment.  I prefer the lightness of #1, but I wanted to take the experiment as far as I could.   I now feel I really “know” the subject and am confident enough to make some small paintings using ideas and elements from the project.


Further searches for the ultimate abstraction