"Family No. 5"

This week’s featured painting is “Family No. 5” from 2023.  It is done with oil on panel, and measures 2 x 5  inches.

I love to look at well done paintings of groups of people – like some of the Dutch Golden Age group portraits (Rembrandt’s Night Watch, for instance), or the enormous history scenes that were painted on mile after mile of canvas in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Although it’s the kind of thing that the viewer is never really meant to notice, it’s actually quite difficult to arrange groups of things – people, marbles… anything, really – in ways that do not seem stiff, formal, and forced.

Rembrandt, "The Night Watch"(from Wikimedia Commons)
Rembrandt, “The Night Watch”
(from Wikimedia Commons)

Getting a sense of good, lively flow through a group of similar things almost begins to feel like a musical exercise.

In fact, I think of these groupings in rhythmic ways – as my eye scans one of these paintings, and encounters the elements, something like a sense of beat and rhythm makes itself felt in my imagination.


Not exactly the way I experience rhythm in music, but something kind of like it.

In the hands of a real master, the effect can be electrifying.