Surreal Abstract Seashell Collage

White seashell collage with lines, on dark blue background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Limen (the li- pronounced as in lie), which means the threshold of perception.

This is another seashell creation. I made extra work by accidentally taking the base photo in the wrong format (JPEG instead of raw). At the time I saw what I’d done and took more photos, but of course the wrong version turned out to be a nicer composition.

JPEG isn’t too bad if everything goes well, but the exposure was off slightly. That meant I had to divert some creative energy to artificially rescuing blown highlights. But I got there in the end, and I’m happy with the result.

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Surreal Abstract Elephant Bone Collage – Orange and Blue-Green

Black and white elephant bone collage on orange rectangles, against blue-green background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Orange Endobrume, a low-key take on Endobrume, which is much lighter with quite a different atmosphere to it.

I’d like to chalk any successful art I do up to sheer talent and skill (though ‘successful’ is a tricky term, being that art is so taste-dependent with no objective good. But let’s say it means a piece meets my sense of aesthetic). And further, the ideal trajectory should be: conceive idea > execute > stand back and admire.

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Surreal Abstract Elephant Bone Collage on Rectangles

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

The title of this picture is White Endobrume.

The bones are cut from a photo of an elephant skull. Despite the crop, it’s still clearly bone. However, the skull part is pretty well obscured at this point, let alone the type of animal it was. That’s because I tend to home in on small parts of photos, isolating shapes I find interesting, sometimes completely changing outlines and manufacturing my own shapes.

Whereas once I’d try to make a complete picture with my camera, now base photos are merely my clay, the first step in a line of editing, composing, and manipulation.

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Surreal Abstract Elephant Bone Collage – Verdigris and Pink

Pink elephant bone collage on rectangles, against verdigris background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Endobrume, which is a term I constructed ad hoc after completing the image. It parses like this: endo is a prefix meaning inside or within, and brume is a French-derived word meaning winter (at least directly; further back it’s Latin). So my idea is that the white area within the bones is winter itself.

Incidentally, I learned another word in doing this image, ‘verdigris’ in the title. It’s tricky coming up with titles for my abstract imagery because so many of them are described by ‘surreal abstract bone collage’, but of course each title has to be different (because each URL has to be different, and the title makes the URL). So I often add colors to differentiate. And that’s what verdigris is—the color that best matches the background here.

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Surreal Abstract Seashell With Rectangles

Red seashell collage with rectangular shapes on blue background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Fugue Mechanics. I’m alluding to the psychiatric sense of fugue here—a state in which someone is apparently conscious of what they’re doing, but has no recollection afterward.

Consciousness, thinking, and brain function are mysterious, and when they go wrong, eery. And mystery and eeriness are two key aspects of surreal art.

Thus if I was to choose a single concept for all my surreal abstracts, it’d be the visual representation of mental workings and brain-states. It’s what consistently comes to mind when I look at them. However, to avoid being parochial in the poetry of my titling I seldom reflect that in my image names. There’s way too much fun to be had in other directions to constantly invoke the same concept.

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Surreal Abstract Seashell With Rectangles – Black and White

Seashell collage with rectangular shapes. Surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Fugue Mechanics in Black. It’s the companion to Fugue Mechanics, which is vivid red and blue.

This is a simple, minimal composition, thus you’d think quickly conceived and completed. Interestingly, I find getting even a small number of elements to work harmoniously is incredibly time consuming. The fewer compositional elements there are, the more focus each has, making it important to get them right. In and of themselves, but also as a cohesive whole.

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Surreal Abstract Elephant Bone Collage – High Key Black and White

Elephant bone collage on rectangle against light background. Surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Gray Powder Bone Flare. It’s funny, that name is the result of a title assembly kit I’ve inadvertently made. For color and tonal variations of images I’ll add a word to their title to differentiate from the original. Normally something logical that reflects the difference, but it has to also have poetic value.

In this case Bone Flare is the original, and I then made a black and white of that—Gray Bone Flare. Next came a pastel color scheme, which I called Powder Bone Flare. (Not sure if it’s obvious, but ‘powder’ is sometimes used to name lighter color shades, ‘powder blue’ for instance.) And lastly is this, which is a black and white version of Powder Bone Flare, so it gets the ‘gray’ appendage.

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Surreal Abstract Elephant Bone Collage – Black and White

Elephant bone collage on rectangle against dark background. Surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Gray Bone Flare.

I mentioned in my post on Powder Bone Flare that it took a few goes to get the composition right for this. I didn’t mention that the whole concept stemmed from a rejected idea that I saw potential in after some months had passed.

That’s happened a few times lately, which prompted me to reconsider the viability of artistic ideas. Previously I’d have said that it was binary—an idea is either good or not. If it’s not good, tear it all down and start again. However, I’m beginning to think it’s more nuanced. I’m finding that almost regardless of how bad an initial draft is, with persistence I can make it work.

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Surreal Abstract Elephant Bone Collage

Yellow elephant bone collage on brown rectangle, against dark red background. Surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Bone Flare. Flare has multiple meanings, but my idea is a calcified burst of flame, as if a fire had been frozen or crystalized mid burn.

I like the poetry of that idea, but had to play with verbiage a bit to get it right. Frozen Flame, or Crystal Flame were casualties of the title search, and seemed too corny to stand. I think Bone Flare has a nice lilt, though.

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Surreal Abstract Frog Skull Rose – Black and White

Frog skull with geometric shapes forming a rose. Surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Gray Rose.

It’s a black and white version of Rose, created about half a year after the original, when I noticed it was a good candidate for black and white.

It was interesting examining this composition again. Half a year isn’t an especially long time, but enough to see a change in my artistic choices. It’s subtle though, maybe not obvious from outside.

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