A Rhythm of Circles

I love using circles and round shapes for composing my abstractions. They can act as anchors or focal points as well as locations from which to radiate light or movement using line and color. In all three of these images circular shapes formed a starting point and central part of the compositions. Incorporating these shapes suggested using curved or rounded objects and lines to connect the elements of each design producing a “rhythm of circles”.

They were created digitally in Procreate app for iPad using an Apple Pencil.

We have recently been enjoying old Danny Kaye movies like The Court Jester and Hans Christian Anderson, wonderful comic family classics. Thinking about circles brought to mind this charming quote.

Draw a circle, not a heart, around the one you love because a heart can break but a circle goes on forever.

Danny Kaye

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A Potpourri of Confetti

Being almost housebound by the pandemic along with mid-winter snows in Northeastern Vermont makes one yearn for COLOR. Random shapes floating in a sea of contrasting colors is what these abstractions are all about. They are confetti-like in their sense of dispersion and provide a potpourri of color. I hope they brighten your day wherever and whenever you see them. They were created digitally in Procreate app for iPad using an Apple pencil.

Bolder on Black

Most of my abstract designs evolve over a white background giving the impression of having been done on white paper or maybe a white canvas. What happens if bold saturated colors are placed over a black background? I did just that and came up with some rather vibrant images.

One of the techniques used to create these designs in Procreate app is applying blending modes. The objects in the compositions are layered as if they were painted on clear glass or plastic then stacked one on top of the other to compose the final image. Blending modes allow for mixing or fragmenting the overlapped objects that are stacked. Part of one object might cause objects below it to change color where it overlaps. Sometimes the value (lightness or darkness) of the color will be affected as well. This is a great tool for making complex combinations of shapes.

Shifting Shapes

I love arranging shapes into interesting combinations. Using circles, triangles and various polygons, it’s fun to create a sense of motion and interrelatedness. With the three compositions I’m posting today there is the added sense of overlap and transparency. Shapes are either above or under one other. Colors sometimes change at the point of overlap. The transparency allows for an apparent shifting of shapes as we look at them. What’s above and what’s below?

All three incorporate similar shapes and colors. They also share digital techniques to get the effects that are created. For example, the larger circles and polygons in all of them were made as solid shapes and then a spatter-like tool was used to erase the central areas giving a gradation in tone out towards the edges. They were all created digitally in Procreate app for the iPad using an Apple pencil.

Sandinsky redux

My last posting featured two Kandinsky inspired compositions that, when finished, made me think of Native American sand paintings. I included two small examples of Navajo sand paintings for those who might not be familiar with this cultural tradition. Laureen at Walks in Watercolor, a long time follower of this blog, left a comment suggesting that it might be interesting to do another “Sandinsky” using the color scheme of this example.

Navajo sand painting with blue color scheme

That got my creative juices flowing and the result is shown below (“Sandinsky-blue period?”). As with all of my abstract images, this was created in Procreate app for iPad using an Apple Pencil.


What do you get if you combine Native American sand painting with the imagery of Vasily Kandinsky? I continue to be intrigued by Kandinsky’s paintings and enjoy adopting ideas from his iconography. That’s what I was doing here. Although it was not my intent while creating these designs, the end results end up looking something like Navajo sand paintings.

One of the techniques used in putting these compositions together was to create a large shape and then soften it’s edges to form gradations of tone. This is done by using a “brush” in Procreate app that resembles the texture of grainy chalk. When used on the edges of some shapes it gives a feeling of sand grains.

Below are examples of Navajo sand paintings.


The way I work in Procreate app is to put something down, a shape or color, and build on it without a lot of forethought as to where it will end up. In that sense, these are all improvisations. They develop by a kind of accretion, adding (and deleting) bits and pieces to form a final image. Working digitally allows for freely changing colors and textures as well as repositioning elements in layers to build the composition. These abstractions, though individual in content, all have this free wheeling spontaneous process in common.

Just for Fun

I often go to Kandinsky for inspiration and to be “wowed” by his ingenuity, originality and flamboyancy. I get lost in the intricate arrangement of his compositions and in the variety of interesting shapes along with his use of color. So, in an effort to “lighten up” in the midst of this prolonged pandemic, I put these Kandinsky-esque light hearted doodles together just for fun and to keep my mind and creative drive alive. I hope you will view them in the same cheerful light in which they were produced. All three were digitally created in Procreate app for iPad.

They go well together as a grouping as well.


The “APP”, as always is Procreate for iPad. It’s the one I use for creating abstract images. These are my most recent efforts. They feature multiple layers of semi-transparent shapes in mostly analogous colors. The underlying layers were created with texture brushes that mimic heavy paint rollers. I’m posting the backgrounds (lowest underlying layers) below each of the images to show how the “paint roller” texture shows through the upper layers of color.

Background layer for the above image
Background layer for the above image
Background layer for the above image

Primal Symbols

Circles, squares, triangles, polygons and lines, straight and curved, appear in the imagery of all of humanity’s cultures. They are the marks made on rocks by traditional peoples and they form the root symbols that became the alphabets of written languages. They also function as basic abstract shapes which I have used to compose these images.

These digital works were created in Procreate app for iPad. Each is composed of many layers of objects and colors built up gradually to form the finished image.