Blog Menu

Light as Circular Figures: Painting by Randall Stoltzfus

A painting by Randall StoltzfusCorona, acrylic dispersion with gold leaf on recycled polymer canvas

Randall Stoltzfus grew up in rural Virginia and later studied painting in Washington, D.C. His current practice is focused on detailed landscape paintings that view light as circular figures, creating paintings that sit somewhere between abstraction and figuration.


A painting with many overlapping circles of a blue gradientStorybook, acrylic dispersion with gold leaf on recycled polymer


Stoltzfus’ method of dividing the space of the canvas into numerous overlapping circles of paint is almost reminiscent of Chuck Close’s cellular painting method. Seen up-close, the circles are actually quite textural, raised slightly from the surface of the canvas while the dark, tree-like forms of the backgrounds are as flat as the shadows that they imitate. Each circle seems like an individual lens flare, a moment of bright, haloed light, to make each painting look like a landscape seen through a window covered in rain drops.


Stoltzfus’ compartmentalization of light also reminds me of the work of Dennis Ekstedt. In some cases, too, Stoltzfus creates his circles in increasing density toward the center of the canvas, producing a series of halos that in turn form one, huge and inescapable halo. 


An abstract painting composed of orange circlesPsyche, acrylic dispersion on polymer canvas

Images courtesy of Randall Stoltzfus

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

Read more of Dallas' posts

Easily build your art website

and focus your time on making art.


Try free for 30 days. No payment required.