Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Nature is the primary source of my ideas. I use plant forms at all stages of the life cycle, from bulbs, through all phases of growth, to dried and pressed flowers. I simplify some elements and exaggerate others until I have reached the desired effect. The shapes are flattened and smoothed out while the colors are brought up to a higher intensity. Shadows are an important element in my work. I use them to form patterns of positive and negative space. Many of my paintings show plants and flowers several times larger than their natural size. This opens up a new world of subtle color and detail. In the early paintings I kept the surface texture to a minimum, concentrating instead on flat patterns of color. In some of the later paintings of roses I started to experiment with small amounts of texture as seen in Plate 1. I do not intend to limit my work to plant forms in the future, but they have been useful in my study of color, composition and pattern.


John Thorns, Jr.

Date of Award

Spring 1983

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1983 Elaine Merrill


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