Yesterday I was thinking about diptychs. So much so that I felt the need to google the definition...
1: a 2-leaved hinged tablet folding together to protect writing on its waxed surfaces
2: a picture or series of pictures (as an altarpiece) painted or carved on two hinged tablets
3: a work made up of two matching parts
Initially it was Cathy Cullis's blog post that got me thinking about diptychs. She has been pairing an abstract painting with an old photograph or postcard. Her pairings aren't always side by side like a diptych but they do lead you to make a connection between the two pieces.
I got to wondering if she uses the photograph or notecard as inspiration for the painting or is it the other way around. It's the same question people always ask me about the food in my photos. Do I paint using the food as inspiration or is the meal inspired by the painting?
For me, it depends. Most often it's just a coincidence that they look similar. They aren't directly related at all. I think that when the two are paired, our brains automatically look for some connection.
So I thought it'd be fun to play with some images and see what kind of connections my brain made. I had about 50 photos on my phone and I just started looking at those to see what kind of pairing I could make. I began with these two photos.
That was a pretty easy pairing. He is learning to ride a bike right now. The colors are very similar. There's a lot of contrast in both images. So then I thought I'd try pairing a recent painting with a photo...
The colors in yesterday's painting mimicked the colors of the fruit at the farmers market on Sunday. I thought there was an interesting relationship of shapes between the two.
Then I paired this painting with the oranges photo. As I began rotating the photo I was pleasantly surprised to find the two hands mirrored.
And then these ideas led to today's painting. I pulled out an old National Geographic and found a photo that was interesting. Today's painting was inspired by this photo. I used some of the colors and shapes found in the photo to guide me. This is one of my favorite ways to work an abstract. The photo gives me a bit of plan to begin and then I can take it whatever direction the painting leads me.
For me this was interesting exercise that sparked several new ideas. Maybe try some random pairings and see what kinds of connections YOUR brain makes?