Playing with 13 Rectangles

In making a fused glass version of Kandinsky’s 13 Rectangles, I intended to explore his philosophy of color while translating the painting from oil to another medium.

I certainly learned about his use of values, which I didn’t expect; and a bit about blending, which isn’t possible in glass the way it is with paint.


After playing with 13 Rectangles in glass, I wanted to try variations on the theme. So I did three others.

The first was completely done with frit, finely ground glass. I thought it would help me to blend the colors and to make small squares, which can be difficult to cut evenly.

It was a disaster:


Frit creates texture, but in this case, it’s all texture and very little form. The edges became indistinct, which made it look less painterly rather than more.

The attempt at blending pink and midnight blue was a failure because the frit wasn’t fine enough to meld. Similarly, the overlap of red and yellow didn’t become orange.

Frit also has a tendency to stray, so the scattered bits of it simply look sloppy.

For the other two pieces, I stuck with cut glass, though it was a strain to maintain the right-angle edges with 1/4 inch squares. I tried to pay attention to the value range as well as the use of contrasting and complementary colors, and went back to the clear glass background.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Eleven Rectangles, below, has its own personality, while maintaining the spirit of homage to the original 13 Rectangles.


In Twelve Rectangles, I exploded the rectangles to make the composition more dynamic, but also to express the tumult that I feel these days:


Does it work?

I need time to try these with different frames and backgrounds.

I photographed these just laid against a beige carpet. They look better in a floating frame hung against a wall.

I’ve got one on display now, at the community fitness center where our artists group has use of the walls. When I hung it, a gentleman sitting nearby stared at it and asked me about how it was made.

I truly don’t care if he buys it, or just admires it for the next six weeks. That’s enough of a compliment to keep me going.

Today’s penny is a 2015, when I first began experimenting with 13 Rectangles.

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