Surreal Abstract Crab Shell Collage – Orange and Blue

Orange crab shell collage with black geometric shape, on blue background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Comma. When I was thinking of a title, it occurred to me the black shape in the middle looks like a stylized digital comma, so that’s what I decided to call it. Plus, it had never occurred to me before, but comma is quite a nice word. I like it as a title.

The composition here was an idea I initially rejected on the way to Anfractuosity. I kept the draft, and when I saw it again I really liked it. Seemed like a no-brainer to develop it into something. Funny how time lends perspective, though. It can really affect how I see my work.

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Surreal Abstract Crab Shell and Curves – Black and White

Crab shell collage with black curves. Surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Vagility in Gray.

This is another composition, along with Comma, that was initially rejected when brainstorming for Anfractuosity. Though unlike Comma, it still needed a lot of development, but the passage of time lent it an air of potential instead of a ticket to the trash.

The perspective a bit of time gives is a critical part of my process; I never know if I’m happy with a piece until at least a day after creating it. During editing I look at it for so long I become almost completely numb to it aesthetically. But the next morning perspective returns, and I can normally tell instantly if it’s working, or what still needs to be done.

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Surreal Abstract Elephant Bone With Red Rectangles

Elephant bone with red rectangles against a green background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Sentinelia in Absinthe, with absinthe being a reference to the background color (that’s what comes to mind for me when I look at it. Well the drink itself, but also a burning throat, and hazy memories).

Arguably there’s no right or wrong composition in art, especially for abstract. But I have a strong sense of what I like—when my vision isn’t quite fulfilled, it really grates. Initially for this image all the elements you see were in place, but something was awry, and I couldn’t work out what.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time juggling the composition, then made a ridiculously minor change (I moved the top rectangle up the bone a bit), and it just clicked.

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Surreal Abstract Elephant Bone With Rectangles – Black and White

Elephant bone with black rectangles. Surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Sentinelia in Black, with black being a reference to the black-and-whiteness of the image. Sentinelia is a hybrid of two terms: Saturnalia and sentinel. Saturnalia for mere prosody, but sentinel because the bone with the rectangles struck me as kind of guard-like.

This is the third major compositional overhaul of this image. In one of the variations, Sentinelia in Absinthe, I mentioned the difficulties of getting this composition to work, but that was just the icing on what was quite a difficult cake overall (to make the metaphor weird).

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Surreal Abstract Elephant Bone With Rectangles

Elephant bone with black rectangles against a blue background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Sentinelia.

The base photo is the same as used in the Disconnect the Dots series. It’s had a bit of pruning (so to speak) for this one, though.

It’s the first of what I think will be at least two variations. At minimum a black and white one, but possibly another color scheme too.

Well how ’bout this, in the mere space of the end of one paragraph and the start of another, one month has passed as I pick this up. My presaging was right (not much credit due there though, it was more plan than prognostication).

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Surreal Abstract Crab Leg Collage – Black and White

Crab leg collage with black triangle and white lines. Surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Midnight Ampersand. It’s a tonally very different take on Ampersand, which is a bright image in green and red.

The word midnight serves a few purposes here—it reflects the darkness of the image and the lack of color.

But it also evokes a scene in which someone’s woken from a dream with the surreal vision in the image just fading from memory. Strange, unnerving, and soon to be forgotten completely as sleep returns and the subsequent day subsumes the mental excursions of the night.

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Black and White Surreal Abstract Bird Skull

Bird skull beneath white lines, surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Dormiveglia Black.

It’s a black and white version of Dormiveglia. At first I thought I’d only do this image in color, but it works very well in black and white. Actually it’s a really obvious candidate, so I don’t know why it took so long to occur to me.

It’s rare to merely desaturate a color image and have it work, though. Normally adjustments to brightness, contrast, and overall tone have to be made. However, this one is a straight desaturation. Regardless, I still experimented to see if any adjustments would improve it, but eventually concluded that the simplest route was the best in this case.

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Surreal Abstract Crab Leg Collage

Crab leg collage in blue-green with red triangle and white lines. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Ampersand. Mostly because of the shape of the underlying crab leg on the right with the triangle against it. Kind of reminiscent of an ampersand, and I like the unexpected connotation of the name.

I’ve used the base iPhone crab shell photo three times, here, in Anfractuosity, and in another named Uhtceare.

I get a perverse satisfaction at using a cell phone to produce art. A super-high resolution camera capable of technically perfect images isn’t always necessary, but admittedly that might be in large part due to the nature of my work. Probably not quite as true for a landscape photographer for instance.

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