October 31, 2013

Four New Drawings

#23, egg tempera and graphite on hand toned paper, 15 x 15 in. 

I just finished four new drawings based on the overlapping circles from Islamic design. During my last drawing session a couple of months ago, I had two failures; they were pieces that just did not work, though I knew I wanted to revisit their ideas. #23 comes from one of those. I began with a dark red ground and had previously planned to work with opaque shapes on it, but as I worked I found the idea of overlapping transparencies more interesting. At that time, I couldn't shift gears easily, so the drawing was a mess. This time I understood more clearly where I was going so handled the paint more attentively. 

#23 detail

I slowly painted several layers of thin paint on each shape, and where they overlapped was a stronger yellow. Something I changed: I put the point of the "triangle" downward when it had begun up. I liked the feeling of the many ending by balancing on the one.

#24, egg tempera and graphite on hand toned paper, 15 x 15 in. 

In this group of four, #24 was the most surprising to me. I start with color sketches but sometimes the resulting drawing has a very different quality from the study. Here the two circles have a wacky presence with the vesica piscis shapes within them, as though they are strange insect eyes. They float above the translucent violet ground, mysteriously. These drawings continually end up in places I could not have imagined.

#25, egg tempera and graphite on hand toned paper, 15 x 15 in. 

When I prepared the papers for this group of drawings, I thought that this ocher-colored ground was too gray and dull and I wasn't sure I would be able to salvage it. I think, though, that the intense blue and dark red work to enliven the yellow; the monumental centrality of the simple shapes helps too. So I think it's okay.

#26, egg tempera and graphite on hand toned paper, 15 x 15 in. 

Two "V" shapes, one pointing up and one down, the pink opaque and showing through the blue above it. Both are more opaque than the translucent cool green ground so have a strong presence, as though they are symbols. All the images are discovered, or perhaps I should say uncovered, from the overlapping circles beneath: joining points with lines, following curves, to a seemingly endless number of compositions.


  1. The detail of first one most interesting since I could see the idiocyncrasies of the artist's hand.

  2. Thanks, U and Julie for your comments.

  3. So engaging. I studied sacred geometry with a wild and crazy teacher (Melchezidich) who claimed that everything comes from that flower of life overlapping form, the vesica picsis. Who knows, but I see versions of it in every culture and tradition.

    I am so grateful at how you share your work.

  4. These beautiful pieces are proof that it's a good idea sometimes to put stubborn work aside for a later time. This is a lesson for me as an artist as well.

  5. Wow! I definitely woke up upon opening your blog this morning. I love the golden yellow upon the deep red background. Your continued study of working with geometric shapes is exciting as well as constant reminder that one can have a lifetime of "employment" learning to be curious with "What if I altered this with color or placement?" Thank you once more for my daily inspiration.

  6. Thank you so much, Deborah, Cecelia, and Sue, for looking and reading and taking the time to comment. It is fascinating to me to come to this sacred geometry later in life and see that it does appear in many cultures. There should always be time and energy for exploration.