April 13, 2010

Five Circles

Five Circles, egg tempera on panel, 8 x 8 inches

I completed Five Circles a couple of days ago, and I still think it's a very odd image; compelling, but strange. Its presence 'in person' is much more satisfying than online because the physicality of panel and paint is an important part of its meaning. But, flawed as reproduction is, it is still great to be able to show the painting.

At first I painting the whitish surface with a varied touch of subtle color shifts, but then decided that a more uniform surface would serve the idea better. It still has variation, as you can see in the detail below, and the paint is many-layered, giving the surface plane visual weight.

The actual size of the dark interior circles is 1 1/4 inch in diameter; you can get a sense of the size of the work if you play around with the enlargement size on your screen. And below is a photo of the work hanging on the wall behind my desk (it's original hand-planed, beaded wood paneling, if you're interested), alongside a 5 x 7 inch miniature on vellum.


  1. It's brilliant!
    I think you should light the work from the same angle the image has to the panel casts a shadow on the gallery wall to continue the illusion. But that's just me.

  2. very odd indeed! and arresting. on the wall in a room it would make one stop and ask What Is This? beautiful simplicity here. my personal title for it is: blind. that's what it says really visibly!

  3. What popped into my mind, seeing the finished painting, is Leonardo's drawing of the figure in a circle, the head and hands in the positions of three of your inner circles. A curious and fascinating image. I like the pink in the shadow of the large circle!

  4. thanks for the positive feedback, folks, and interesting takes on the painting. I like the "continue the image" idea, making the painting a 'thing' equal to that depicted; Blind: perfect and very disturbing; a Leonardo reference makes sense in continuing the body metaphor.