Monument Circle


At the very center of downtown Indianapolis is a circle. In the middle of it is a tall structure known as the “Soldiers and Sailors Monument,” so the circle has been named “Monument Circle.”

I’ve wanted to do a painting of the circle for a long time. I knew I needed a view from above. One day I went with my camera to some of the buildings surrounding the circle to see if I could take some pictures. I wasn’t having any luck finding observation decks that were open. Finally I went to the tallest building. I got out my business card and and told the guard at the desk that I was an artist and needed to do a painting of the circle. He told me to go to the various floors and ask the businesses if I could take pictures out of their windows. That is what I did. I liked the view from about halfway up, about the 25th floor. The people were very willing to let me go in their offices for the view.

I wanted to do a large painting. I stretched my own canvas. It is 72″ x 48″. Here I am trying to paint it:


I had to block it in first. You can see the shapes I started with. I painted them separately just so I could tell them apart. I tried to figure out which direction the sun was shining so I could add shadows and light.


Here is the finished product. Note the windows, shadows, and even tiny cars on the circle. It was pretty fun to paint. The only problem was getting a painting this big to the gallery. I don’t remember how I did it, but it’s hanging on their wall.

Comments on Monument Circle Leave a Comment

November 8, 2007

Christine @ 9:43 am #

Very, very COOL!!!! Need I say more?

Larraine @ 12:49 pm #

Oh my GOSH! That is SO AMAZING!!! I love that it’s BIG, and the way you blocked it all in – really works! GREAT JOB!
You always use so much detail – you must have AMAZING patience!

Jennifer @ 1:52 pm #

This one is amazing. It would look great in one of the businesses that let you in to take the picture!

Todd Fiegel @ 1:53 pm #

You know how much I’ve always admired your work, Tom. I think this painting is magnificent.

But reading your post and studying the photo, something struck me about why I hold you in such regard.

The complexity, depth, and perspective of this piece are so rich that it’s like a visual representation of a great symphony. I don’t mean the notes on the page; I mean the overall aesthetic.

This is exactly how I get owned by and then take ownership of a major work that I am about to conduct.

You see the whole thing at once but are immediately drawn to the hundreds of smaller elements that comprise the whole. Even more remarkable is how all of those little pieces are immediately thrown together again to make something so great. They simply cannot thrive by themselves because of the magnetic relationship they have to each other and to the whole.

That is an exact parallel to the notes, rhythms, harmonies, instrumental color, and form of one of the great symphonic works.

I lose myself in so many of your paintings, but I don’t think in any as much as this.

November 10, 2007

Margaret @ 9:59 am #

This is one of my all time favorites! I continue to be amazed that you could create such a monumental work. it is indeed stunning.

Jan @ 1:08 pm #

Tom, thank you for sharing this magnificent art that you have created. Architecture is fascinating. Your talent is unmatched when bringing brick and mortar to life.

The process you used, starting with the basic foundation to bring about this painting is mind-boggling. Step-by-step. Piece-by-piece. Color-by-color. Shade-by-shade. Until the final masterpiece is unveiled. Remarkable.

Mr. Fiegel’s stunning comparison of your painting to his conducting a symphony is a remarkable explanation. In business, we call this Synergy – more commonly known as Teamwork – creating the Ultimate Team.

Today, I am thinking about your poignant explanations and realizing that the workings of the human body is also a Symphony of sorts, and a beautiful work of Art. Each part of our bodies has a responsibility and everything must work in harmony to be successful.

On a personal note: Today is the 15th anniversary of my daughter, Elizabeth, being the first child in Utah to have a Bone Marrow transplant at the University of Utah Medical Center, and survive. Because of this success, Primary Children’s Hospital in Utah built a Transplant Unit for children and many children have since had the same life-saving procedure. Her survival, and her life since Nov 10, 1992 is very much a miracle.

Thanks to all of you for allowing me to indulge on my personal life for a moment.
Whether it be art, music, or the human body – each individual part is doing its, or his or her job to bring about a masterpiece.

Tom, your painting is indeed a masterpiece!

(And, I would love to hear Mr. Feigel conduct one of his masterpiece symphonies.)

November 11, 2007

Susie @ 2:02 am #

Jan, what a wonderful milestone for your family! I hope Elizabeth lives a long and happy life.

I agree with all of the comments about the comparisons of art and music. Tom certainly creates a symphony on canvas with every piece of art work!

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