Circle Me O God (No. 13 in 52)

This week’s portrait is inspired by the quote “Circle me God, keep fear without, joy within.” I read this on the Abbey of the Arts blog. It’s possibly based on a poem by David Adam and/or an ancient Celtic Christian prayer. In any case, it really resonated with me, anxiety being a thing for me, and joy my word of the year a second year running.

So a face in a circle ... Can I tell you how  many times I drew those circles? No, maybe I shouldn’t you’ll put me in remedial geometry class … the protractor-thingy kept shifting and wouldn’t stay in one place (missing its needle)…

I wanted to keep some Celticness about the portrait — so a redhead, naturally! I used the same palette as last time because I had plenty of paint left from the last portrait and I love love the quin nickel azo gold. I will have to use it again in connection with some other skin tones.

The face was basically done, I thought, so I took a close-up photo to check. Nope. Needed to fix the mouth, which I tinkered with until the very end of the painting.

Circles also led me to one of my favorite art periods — Art Nouveau — and Alphonse Mucha’s dreamy paintings. So that led to her hair style and design elements, the latter being something that I don't usually bother with...

yes, you can see where I started to repair mistakes in the design. Mucha must have used a stamp or something...
I couldn’t figure out what to do with the shirt. I knew I couldn’t keep it a flat, plain light blue and I couldn’t let it distract from the face either, so I kept working on the Celtic knots and design elements in the circle until I finally figured it out (thank goodness for reference images). Effy Wild calls this detail "sacred work".

This is truly a mixed media piece: acrylics (Golden heavy body, Golden fluid, and Blick matte acrylics), Faber Castell Pitt pens (I love Sanguine to bits), bronze/copper gel pen, and Posca paint pens.

Next? Well, I truly can’t say because every time I do, I end up getting inspired by something else entirely. I keep a list in my Notes app that I add ideas to for that day when there is a drought and there’s a painting I need to keep. But it might be the Lady of Shallot, inspired by @artsysumo on Instagram. It might also need to be a two page spread.


  1. Lar this one is beautiful, seeing the final portrait....Wow
    can mum have a copy to frame please
    much love


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