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!

Prismatic - abstract art by Jane Trotter

It’s amazing what your subconscious can come up with. A shot can be years in the making if you go right back to the very first inklings of the idea and then follow the creative process through to its conclusion. ‘Prismatic’ is one of these shots – a triptych which was a long time coming.

How did it all begin?

‘Prismatic’ didn’t begin as a triptych at all. In fact, the original image, ‘Glass Triangles’ was one which I was very content with for many years.

Glass Triangles - abstract art by Jane Trotter
‘Glass Triangles’

I loved the vivid colours and angular patterns – I could look at it for ages, finding new areas of interest to delve into and shapes to connect in my imagination.

Improvised Stained-Glass Window

‘Glass Triangles’ came about from playing with this colourfully painted vase.

Glass vase from which 'Glass Triangles' and 'Prismatic' were created

Reminding me of stained-glass windows, and taking my inspiration from them, I decided the best way to capture and exaggerate the colours was to use strong backlight.

Glass vase from which 'Glass Triangles' and 'Prismatic' were created

I ventured out onto our deck, and was delighted to see just how well everything ‘spilled’ out onto the white paper and how rich and deep the colours were.

The Next Chapter

That could have been where the story ended, and for a long time it did. But inspiration comes in many shapes and sizes and it was the tiniest of ornaments which propelled me to revisit the image with a new challenge in mind.

This tiny prism graces our kitchen window. I’ve often admired its simple yet intricate design, and taken much pleasure in the dancing lights which tease our kitchen walls as the light shines through.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I made a connection. That image I’d made years before with all of the triangles and rainbow colours – I could transform it into a prism just like the one in the window! I could make a triptych.

I Had a Plan

It was all systems go. I began to experiment with different crops to find areas which would work well together. I knew symmetry would play an important part, so there needed to be continuity of line and shape, as well as a balancing of the many varied colours.

Crop for top panels

In the end, the top two panels were relatively straightforward to find. With a 180 degrees rotation (and vertical flipping of the left panel) the long edges would now be pointing upwards and form the apex of the prism.

Crop for bottom panel

Creating the bottom panel took a lot more work and ingenuity. Not only did I have to incorporate the bottom edges of the prism and provide a sense of stability, but also ensure the colours successfully matched and counterbalanced those on top.

After a lot of trial and error and “that’s still not quite right!” muttered under my breath, I managed to find what I was looking for. As you can see, I’ve mirrored the cropped segment to create one long horizontal panel for the base of the triptych.

Journey’s End

They say ‘good things come to those who wait’. ‘Prismatic’ took a while to gestate, but I’m very happy with the end result. Looking back at all the stages of its evolution (perhaps ‘incubation’ is a more apt description), it’s fascinating to see the interconnections and apparently small observations which can set us off on a new path of creativity.

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