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.

I don’t think I’ve ever had such a minor detail make such a huge difference before, but there’s always a very particular moment everything comes together. It’s one of the best feelings when that happens.

This is the second of three, there’s also a black and white iteration called Sentinelia in Black, and the original, Sentinelia, has black rectangles on a blue background.

Canvases and Giclée Prints

Archival-quality prints of this piece are available. Options include framed and unframed fine art paper and canvases.

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