#5, 2012, egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper, 15 x 15 in.
When I began this series of drawings based on six circles around one that I found in a book on Islamic design, I wrote in this blog post that they seemed to be a spiritual exploration, which was totally unexpected for me. I became very curious about this feeling, so when a friend, the blogger and artist Deborah Barlow suggested that I read some Sacred Geometry, I ordered a couple of books on the subject, including Sacred Geometry: Philosophy and Practice by Robert Lawlor. I've been poking away at it, and find the subject fascinating, from very basic concepts––the Circle, which is Unity, as The Heavens, the Square as Earth, and the Triangle in its three part nature which is Heaven, Earth, and Human––to more complex ideas about the nature of reality. Lawlor writes that:
The practice of geometry was an approach to the way in which the universe is ordered and sustained. Geometric diagrams can be contemplated as still moments revealing a continuous, timeless, universal action generally hidden from our sensory perception. Thus a seemingly common mathematical activity can become a discipline for intellectual and spiritual insight.
By seeking the invariable relationships by which forms are governed and interconnectedwe bring ourselves into resonance with universal order.
I've even begun to understand Plato's ideal forms, the concept of which I've long resisted.
#6, 2012, egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper, 15 x 15 in.
I think that some of the uncanny feeling that I have while working on these drawings, that they are something almost beyond me, comes from their basis in the overlapping circles of six around one, the six days of creation and one of rest; any shape I find within these circles seems to have an emotional weight greater than a simple pattern. (it's also possible I'm just being silly). At any rate...this downward facing triangle has been used to represent female energy.
#7, egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper, 15 x 15 in.
#8, egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper, 15 x 15 in.
There are also smaller shapes created by the overlapping circles, thin pointed ovals that look like the petals of flowers when seen at the circles's centers. I picked out three horizontals and crossing diagonals to make this image of not-quite three primary colors––blue, yellow, orange––on blue. I continue to be amazed at the range of shapes and compositions that can be found within the same pattern of circles.