Master's Theses

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access

Date of Award

Spring 1983

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)




John Thorns, Jr.


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.


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Copyright 1983 Elaine Merrill

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