SIGnificant advances

Abstract is one of the SIGs (Special Interest Groups) operating under the Collective umbrella. A few months ago, its members agreed to a challenge: create abstract work based on this shared photo.

0 Blasted Tree model

Not a particularly prepossessing image, is it?

Yet a few daring individuals rose to the challenge, & then presented their work to the public after the Collective AGM on 21 November.

Bobi Leutschaft Poitras acknowledged she was initially flummoxed by the challenge, but that changed. In her words:

I loved this project!  It took me three paintings to finally come up with an actual abstract.  I found it challenging to paint from a black & white photo: when I did, I found myself wanting to use realistic colours.  In my first painting, Two Minutes to Midnight, the colours are somewhat representative of the photo – except the sky.  In the second, Acid Rain, the colours are abstract, but the tree & its surroundings are still representational.  Finally, on my third try, I went solely by the feeling the photo gave me, ignoring the images, & this resulted in an actual abstract, Extinguished

4 Acid Rain jpl3 Two Minutes to Midnight BLP5 Extinguished jpl


Lynne Ayers contributed two works to the challenge, In the Face of Adversity & Inside My Head.

I really enjoyed the challenge.  Previously I had been unable to produce what I felt was an interesting abstract but with the jumping off point of the photo & the nudge with the challenge, I feel I’m finally on the right track.  I’d like to do more.  The showing was also a good idea & interesting with each of us giving some context to the work we produced. Good learning opportunity.


1 In the Face of Adversity LA2 Inside my head LA

Careful observation of the first work reveals the V-shaped skyline of the original photo. She worked with colour & texture, marouflaging a smaller work onto a cradled board, then enlarging that original image.

Katie Ditschun, an accomplished musician, is relatively new to the plastic arts.

Abstract Attempt was my first attempt to create an abstract work using a photograph as inspiration. I am new to painting & felt a little overwhelmed by the challenge. My first draft, I felt was just an abstraction of the image we were using. My second attempt I tried to look more closely & see what part of the image moved me the most. I chose to focus on the rubble of the building & keep my whole work fairly dark.6 Abstract Attempt KD

Her title says it all, Abstract Attempt. Katie overlapped four brilliant colours to create a moody technicolour work on paper that speaks to mood and remembrance.

Finally, Yvonne Callaway produced variations on the theme: Blasted Tree I & II, one


bright & cheerful, the other a subdued multimedia work with a number of stylized trees inhabiting an indeterminate plane of words, textures, flowing colours.

# # #

The photo SIG has projects planned. We look forward to hearing/seeing work from the other SIGS: writing, landscapes, sculpture, portraits, performance!

SIG pages are now open to Collective members. Visit, investigate, be challenged—& share. We’d appreciate knowing what you are up to.

One comment

  1. Such a varied and brilliant array of colour, texture, and visual interpretations by the artists. Each rendition was surprising and unique. Thanks for a stimulating treat to begin the new winter season….SandraSent from Samsung tablet


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