September 15, 2014

A New Painting: "Disk and Pipe"

Disk and Pipe, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 7 x 8 1/2 in.

When I began working on this painting I found the image very strange, almost disconcertingly so. There was something about that big staring black circle surrounded by a gray bent pipe that unsettled me; it seemed to allude to a figure. As I continued with it, I became more comfortable, and now it interests me: it seems to flipflop between humor and dead-seriousness, the serious part coming from the black and gray, the humor from the shapes.

Disk and Pipe detail

In the very center of the black disk is a tiny dot; it was in the source photo and I had to decide whether or not to include it. It's a seemingly small thing that to me had large effects in the painting. I kept it because it draws your eye into the center and makes you aware of the subtle shifts of color in the black, indicating a surface not totally flat.

Disk and Pipe detail

Another indication of not-flatness is the little flip of light at the bottom of the disk. I could have left that out, but I like the way it pops the edge upward, while the green form turns down and away, a push-pull bit of illusionism.


  1. Colors are wonderful!
    The enigmatic shadow keeps me wondering....why do abstractions need to make sense?