Category - Exposed

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Spoiler Alert!

In my 'Exposed' series of articles I reveal some of the secrets behind how I created my images.  If you don't want to know how I made this image, then STOP reading now!

Colour Contours - Abstract Art by Jane Trotter
Colour Contours

Often we take everyday scenes for granted and don’t give much thought to what secret, artistic potential they may be hiding. ‘Colour Contours’ came about because I learnt to pay attention to what I was seeing!

Observing the Everyday

The lounge window used in the creation of 'Colour Contours' - Abstract Art by Jane Trotter
My lounge window

Take my lounge window for example. I must walk past this twenty times a day or more. If I do glance over towards the window, more often than not I’m admiring the foliage on our very beautiful elm tree in the front garden. I’m not paying much attention to the narrow ‘micro blinds’ in front.

Steps along the way in creating the image 'Colour Contours' - Abstract Art by Jane Trotter
Sunlight through the blinds and curtains

We are blessed with wonderful afternoon sunshine streaming into our lounge. But sometimes it’s just too bright or just too hot, so either the blinds get dipped or the curtains get pulled. Nothing unusual there – most of the time I just carry on with my day.

But if we take the time to really see what’s around us, creative neurons start to spark! Just look at the patterns the blinds make on the curtains with the help of the sun’s strong back lighting. There was definitely abstract material here and I’d been walking past it for years without realizing.

The Blind Leading the Blind

Steps along the way in creating the image 'Colour Contours' - Abstract Art by Jane Trotter
Addition of the colourful scarf

Taking the idea of using fabric in front of the blinds, I decided to use a bright, colourful scarf of mine and pegged it up. This would give me a few extra options and variations of colour. The first few experimental shots I took were on the right track but with the scarf being flat against the blinds, the images were lacking depth and character.

Steps along the way in creating the image 'Colour Contours' - Abstract Art by Jane Trotter
Folding the scarf

So, imitating the curving folds in the curtains, I tried creating a similar effect with the scarf. This actually served two purposes – it added the depth I wanted by creating ‘valleys’ and ‘ridges’ but it also brought the different colours closer together so I’d have more variety and contrast.

The creative process behind the image 'Colour Contours' - Abstract Art by Jane Trotter
The creative process

This set of four images shows my progression through the photo shoot. Starting in the top left, you can see I progressed from a fairly straight line interpretation to more ‘wave like’ creations. Sometimes there were probably just a few too many ‘undulations’ going on in the shot (as in the bottom left) so I began to simplify and refine my view.

Original shot for 'Colour Contours' - Abstract Art by Jane Trotter
Original, unedited shot for ‘Colour Contours’

Here is the original, unedited image for ‘Colour Contours’.  You can see I’ve kept the design elements fairly simple. Using the dark blue fold as a point of rest, the gentle curves of colour pulse across the frame while the shadows of the blinds behind help establish an almost 3D effect.

Enhancing the colours and cloning out a few minor blemishes in the fabric were essentially the only tasks I needed to do to ‘tidy up’ the image.

I had a lot of fun with this shoot and was so pleased to have discovered the magic just waiting to be found in front of my window…seek and you shall find!

The Versatile Scarf!

My colourful scarf has proved to be very useful when it comes to my photography! If you’d like to see another image where I employed its vibrant colours, please visit the Exposed #1: Colour Cathedral article.

About the Author

Jane Trotter is an abstract photographer living in Dunedin, New Zealand. Reimagining everyday objects found around the home, Jane transforms them into colourful and dramatic pieces of contemporary art.

Jane Trotter