About the Carrot Slice (Orange) Painting

Oil painting on 20 inch diameter shaped canvas

Oil painting on 20 inch diameter shaped canvas

How did this painting come to be?  It all started with a salad.

I was slicing a cucumber for my salad one evening back in 2005.  I paused for a moment to hold up a slice of cucumber and look at it with the light behind it.

The symmetry and beauty of that simple cuke slice, the pattern of the seeds, and the threefold geometry of its construction were irresistible. I had to draw it.

This led to a whole body of work, Exploration of  Natural Design, which took form as an independent study class at the University of Farmington when I was working on my bachelor’s degree.  I used A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe (subtitled “The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, And Science”) by Michael S. Schneider as my guide book. 

I started keeping notes about geometry, number and nature in a handmade book.  I also created a series of paintings of the natural mandalas concealed in cross-sections of familiar vegetables, branching out from cucumbers to zucchinis, squashes, and carrots. Most of them were painted on shaped round canvases.

In order to better draw attention to the beauty of the forms, I played with the color. A cucumber-colored painting of a cucumber slice is nothing but a recognizable cucumber. But a brilliantly colored painting of a cucumber slice displays its internal geometry in a way that goes far beyond salad.  The delicate calligraphy of the structural elements in a carrot cross-section has to be seen to be believed, and that is what you are seeing here in this painting.  Try it yourself.  Cut a carrot crosswise, and then cut a very thin slice and hold it up to the light. There it is!

This project taught me how to see the natural world in a deeper and more thoughtful way than I ever had before, and so was a lead-in to the work I am doing now.  I am not painting cucumbers any more, or playing with compasses and geometry.  But I still often pause when I am making a salad to appreciate the unique beauty of the vegetables in my supper.  And I am never disappointed.

(Some of the above was taken from my book Moments of Transcendence.  There is a link to the book in the menu bar under “Shop,” labelled “Books,” if you want to read more.)

This painting is posted for sale on eBay right now.  A search for Carrot Slice (Orange) will bring up the page.

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2 comments on “About the Carrot Slice (Orange) Painting

  1. Gail Downey says:

    I was searching to see what other artists are doing with shaped canvases, and came across your carrots. Really nice stuff!!!! I too am working with a circular format and deriving patterns and imagery from nature.( Very different, I may add) Yet, your stuff was an inspiration. Can you please point me to more of your work?

    • bgbell says:

      Thanks, Gail! You can see the work I have posted on Fine Art America’s print-on-demand site if you go to http://betsy-wakefield-gray.artistwebsites.com/ . The link is in the menu above under “Shop” and “Fine Art Prints.” That body of work was all part of a school project when I was in college, 2004-2007. But I have been doing round work and mandalas since about 1970—I just love circles! And I still have more ideas for round.
      Where do I go to look at your work?

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