New Abstract Landscapes (Plein Air, Crop, and Collage)

New Abstract Landscapes (Plein Air, Crop, and Collage)

Abstract Landscapes, Plein air crop and collage

I’ve been trying a new process of taking a bare minimum of mix media and acrylic materials out to paint in the fresh air on location, and to come back to my studio, to crop them, tear them to pieces, and collage them back together.

Last week, I posted my first trip out this spring to paint outdoors, and the collage above is the result of tearing those into pieces.

This week, I went out again, however this time I took large (18″x24″) drawing paper, instead of the watercolor paper I took last time. The collage process works better with thinner paper. Below, you see the four new sketches I painted on site, and below that you can see the resulting eight crops with collage. Most of these are near to 12″x12″.

These will be pasted into a new sketchbook I’ve dedicated for abstract landscape ideas, which will be used to contemplate new paintings in my studio. I typically only paint landscapes outdoors, but am thinking of ways I want to abstract them further for future finished work, so I’m collecting ideas.

As mainly a conceptualist artist, abstracting the landscape–something I can see and respond to– feels so easy compared to always attempting to make non-material, abstract ideas tangible.  I’m enjoying the relaxation of this undemanding project right now– doing something different– especially as I’ve been busy with other things.  Plus, I’m loving being outside again after too much sedentary time.

However, my next abstract conceptualist ideas are burbling not too much below the surface, and after a few months of priming my pump with sketchbooks, I’m eager to get going painting “real work” again.

What do you think? Don’t all these paintings feel like March?













I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. K 4 months ago

    These are wonderful, Polly, and inspire me to try some similar techniques.

    • Author
      Polly Castor 4 months ago


      • Karen 4 months ago

        I love all of these. And amazing how you put some together to create an even more beautiful collage. Thanks for sharing these and explaining how you put it all together.

  2. Ellen 4 months ago

    I love these collages landscapes!

  3. Joan Wolcott 4 months ago

    I love the limited palette! You’re making the most of March, seeing its beauty. My favorite paintings are # 2,3,6,8. Maybe because they’re closer to reality, letting nature dictate the image. I like the way they’re reduced, simple in color and composition.

  4. Mary Jo 4 months ago

    I like the first three paintings a lot. They are simple but convey feeling and action. Feels like lovely windscapes to me.

  5. Brian G 2 months ago

    In one of them, I see an ancient prehistoric grey wolf bounding across the marsh from the side of the page. The deliberate brush strokes adds depth to the scene and draws me into it.

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