October 26, 2013

A New Painting: "Curves and Square"

Curves and Square, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 6 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. 

Centered/off center: I was wondering what would happen to a centered object, here the small square, if the curves above it were not centered, instead each moving slightly to the left. Does the painting seem off kilter? or do your eyes keep juggling the elements, wanting them to settle down into a nice, comfortable symmetry? I deliberately drew the curves off center, wanting a bit of movement and enjoying the odd sense of an central opening visually pushed to the right. My other challenge was the color relationships: I tried a few different colors for the rectangle behind the yellow, including blue, but settled on a blue-gray; it sits back spacially and makes the other colors more intense.

Curves and Square, detail

I also had to play with the shadow color and value quite a bit in order for it to look like a shadow and not a line drawing across the orange; I hope it now has enough light within it to read as a shadow. The little square hole had a surprise inside: a triangular shape, barely visible, that draws the eye to look, as though diving in.


  1. This painting is really thrilling: the light in the shadow, the triangle within the recess, the glow in the gray, the reflected light on the yellow tube - I wouldn't say "off kilter"; I would say "alive"!