Nov 03 2008

Combining Pattern and Realism

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For some time, I have been interested in ideas related to mixing abstract elements of pattern with more realistic interpretations of subjects. Perhaps the most famous artist to be successful at this idea is Gustav Klimt. Almost any appreciator of art will be familiar with his iconic painting, “The Kiss”.

Thaneeya McCardle, Vamoos
For a more contemporary inspiration, I turn to an artist whom I discovered online, Thaneeya McArdle.  I find it interesting that Thaneeya divides her creative focus between completely abstract pattern paintings, photorealism, and what she terms “composite realism”, which combines the worlds of abstraction and representational painting.

The painting at left is part of her ZenPop series. The abstract background is actually an archival giclee of one of her original abstract paintings. This series relies heavily on a stream-of-consciousness method of allowing images to arise and suggest themselves. After selecting an abstract starting point, she chooses a specific image and builds the painting around the image (in this case, a fluffy white sheep). After meticulously painting the sheep in a photorealistic style, she added a decorative abstract border to the top and bottom of the painting.

Thaneeya divides her composite realism works between her “spiritual” and “animaux” subjects.  For this post, I’d like to focus on the animals, which provide the main focal point for the composite image.  I’m including a number of her images here for inspiration (click to view enlargements).

Thaneeya is very generous in illustrating the steps that go into making some of her paintings.  Her Iguana is a particularly good example of mixed media techniques, since she utilizes a collage of book pages, gold-leaf, and acrylic paint.

To view more of her artworks and learn more about the artist, please visit her website at

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One response so far

One Response to “Combining Pattern and Realism”

  1. Colin Hall says:

    I love your concept. I can see a feature wall size working really impressively.

    Best of luck

    Col 🙂

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