October 28, 2014

A New Boxed Paintings: "Reds"

Reds, egg tempera on calfskin parchment; 3 1/2 x 5 in.

For this latest in my series of boxed paintings––tiny paintings contained in a box (you can see a couple of previous ones here and here)––I worked with the theme of the color red. I used the various red pigments that I have: different hues of cadmium red including vermillion, medium, purplish; alizarine; earth reds. Because I think of red as a color linked to organic life via blood, I used curvilinear forms for the box and the small paintings, trying to stick with an organic theme.

Reds, lid and inside of box

For the cover a circle within curves, for the bottom of the box two ovals overlapping.

 Reds, paintings side 1; each ca. 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 in.

 Reds, paintings side 2

The parchment is translucent, so the painting on one side is often visible on the other; I take this into account when painting these tiny pieces, trying for a relationship between the two sides. It wasn't easy for me to stick to somewhat organic shapes––I have a strong affinity for the geometric, hence the circles and ovals––but it was fun trying.


  1. Another great installation possibility along with the box.

    1. The box is part of the work, Dee. Installation is difficult because it would have to be protected from possible grasping hands.

  2. I just love art that is experienced slowly, like opening a box of presents.

  3. This reminds me of a kind of box/game I make for my children and grandchildren. I call them "Fives". Fives is a square dovetailed box of thin hardwood, with a slidelid, and is snugly-fitted inside with five layers of plywood pieces, the first layer composed of square units, the second rectangles of two units, twelve of them and an odd single, and so on. Each layer is painted in a way which plays on the corresponding number, the first have one large dot in the center of each, the second two lines, the third three c-shaped arcs, plays on the numeral 3, and so on.
    It is wonderful to watch a child open the box, ask how you "play" it, and respond to the fact that there are no rules. ...At all. Well, no throwing and losing pieces....
    The lid has a finely-delineated grid of 25 spaces, which some children receive as a gameboard.
    Colors, shapes, proportions, sorting, the lessons are many.
    Thanks for doing something similar!

    1. JBS, your box sounds a great deal more complex than mine. Your children were lucky to have been able to play with such a marvelous object.

    2. THANKS

      - not always easy!