Just Add Water (abstract landscapes from space)
Sometimes artwork just makes more sense when put into context! As I’m writing this, there are 15 abstract landscapes hanging at The Goodfoot and they are labeled “Abstract Landscape #3” etc. and I’ve started thinking that the typical viewer isn’t going to spend enough time with them to figure out that they are worked up from satellite photos. I think they look a bit like sixties geometric art, which is cool; however, I find it more interesting to know that they are real places that exist in Oregon.
I’ve wanted to paint versions of large scale man-made compositions, since flying home from Los Angeles years ago and photographing suburban cul-de-sac patterns as we flew north. Years later, Google brought us Google Maps and Google Earth and now we can fly everywhere, looking for pattern and composition. I started with Oregon and was drawn to the irrigation circles created by agriculture in the dryer central regions of the state. Many of the screenshots that I snapped are areas near Klamath Falls and Christmas Valley. I took notes on the locations; in retrospect, I wish that I’d copied down latitude and longitude coordinates. In the future, I’ll be more specific with my titles!
My process involved cropping the screenshots from Google Maps, printing black and white versions at 8×8 inches, and using an architect ruler to scale the 8″ size up to 24″ square. Then I just used a pencil and T-square to map the fields and roads as closely as I could. The circles were traced around vinyl records of various sizes and some other circles I had around. The painting was done in many transparent glazes, sanding in between. I used masking, stenciling and both acrylic on a brush and airbrush. My goal was to stay close to the original color scheme and light/dark values. Here’s some Google shots vs. my final paintings. Obviously the Google shots are on the left. I’ll label each one with the approximate location in Oregon. Have fun spotting differences!
I tracked down all of the locations and linked them to the captions but for some reason, they aren’t working; if you copy the caption and paste it into Google Maps, each one should take you to the location so you can browse around the surrounding areas if you like. I’d love to see some of your favorite compositions as well and if you are in the area, photos from ground level would be pretty sweet too!! Enjoy!