Surreal Abstract Bird Skull Heart – Black and White

Bird skull heart with white curved lines, surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Gray Love From Ornithurae, and breaks down like this:

‘Ornithurae’ is the taxonomic term for the clade birds are a part of.

‘Gray’ because it’s black and white (the color version being Love From Ornithurae), but it’s more than a mere description of whether there’s color or not. Typically there’ll be a color version of my images too, and I love the poetic effect of appending gray or black onto the color title.

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Surreal Abstract Bird Skull Heart

Bird skull heart with white curved lines, surreal abstract art in red and blue by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Love From Ornithurae. Ornithurae is a taxonomic term, being the clade birds are a part of. It’s a slightly twisted title given that the vaguely love-heart-shaped thing is a bird skull. But the name is appealingly ironic to me.

There was a vague hint of two heart chambers in the original photo, but they were mostly constructed during editing.

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Surreal Abstract Elephant Bone With Circle

Circle surrounded by bone, surreal abstract art in tan and dark blue by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Disconnect the Dots.

I notice in these posts I often talk more about the title than the image. That’s because there’s not much expounding to do about the art itself. The process starts with perusing my photos of subject matter I’m aesthetically attracted to, often bones at the moment (actually for years now). Then I select one with shapes and tones I think have potential, crop, and play with colors and geometry to till I like the result.

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Surreal Abstract Frog Bone

Frog skull with geometric lines. Surreal abstract art in rust and blue-green by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Chalice, the eponymous chalice being a frog skull.

I love the look of bones, and I’m continually drawn to them in my work. Their forms are fascinating and mysterious. They also vary hugely, both within an individual organism and across species. Which, being as I can’t seem to leave them out of my art, is a boon for me.

There is also a black and white variation of this picture named Black Chalice.

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Surreal Abstract Frog Skull

Frog skull with geometric lines. Surreal abstract art in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Black Chalice, the actual chalice part being a reptile skull of some kind (if memory serves, which it might well not).

[Edit – yep, memory didn’t serve. I subsequently looked it up and found it’s actually a frog skull.]

Typically my images are color first. If I decide to do a black and white version, I often prepend or append “black” to the title. First it’s indicative of the lack of color, but I like the poetic effect also. The word black can really change the connotations of a phrase. The color sibling is named Chalice.

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Surreal Abstract Jawbone and Stripes

Shark jawbone with geometric stripes, surreal abstract artwork in red and blue-green, by Joseph Westrupp.

Title: Cherry Vitium.

That V-shaped bone is actually a shark jaw, or at least half of one. It’s an odd looking species named the Port Jackson shark.

As it looks like a V, I decided to give it a name starting with that letter, and I came across vitium in my search. It’s a Latin word meaning fault, crime, or defect, depending on where you look. I thought with cherry prefixed it had a nice poetic quality.

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Surreal Abstract Shapes With Lines

Curved shapes with geometric lines. Surreal abstract artwork in black and white by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Avidity.

The curved shapes beneath the lines are the same as in Propinquity, from a photo of a saxophone I took. Those shapes are the keys, which I isolated and distorted.

It’s a simple image, but composing all the elements was surprisingly time-consuming and involved a lot of experimenting. But that’s always the way—I rarely have a concrete idea of where I want an image to go, but I know what I don’t like. So the process is to tweak and test till it works. Probably not the most efficient workflow in the world, but it gets me there in the end.

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Surreal Abstract Bones With Lines

Blue bones with geometric lines on red background, surreal abstract art by Joseph Westrupp.

The title of this picture is Minerva.

This could be considered a homage to my skull phase. I got to a point where I’d done what I needed to do with skull art, and began to feel its constrictions. Counterintuitively, boundaries are great for art, and facilitate thorough exploration of a direction, but I’d narrowed myself down too much. So it was time for a change.

Odd considering I was looking for something different, but I used one of my skull images as a base, and deconstructed it such as you see here. The experiment was highly stimulating, and I realized the possibilities of this surreal-abstract, geometric direction. I’ve been exploring it ever since.

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