Flash Fiction February 2020 – “Circles”


I continue with my illustrations for Flash Fiction February 2020, twenty-nine days of flash fiction stories at Fictive Dream,  an online fiction magazine featuring short stories.

For the event I created a small abstract painting for each selection – in fact, I did more than one painting per story. I am showing you all the images, day by day, throughout February. I’m also including a short write-up as to how I went about turning the authors’ words into pictorial representations.

I hope you’ll take a look at my art, then go to Fictive Dream, see which image editor Laura Black chose for the magazine, and read the story!

Thank you to Laura for her faith in my work and to the authors for such wonderful material to work with.

Today’s story is:

Circles by Len Kuntz. Read it here at Fictive Dream.

Here are the artworks on their own:

and here they are with the banner.


This story uses the motifs of circles and of the ocean to show the moment of detachment from a relationship. The first line of the story says, “We are circles eliminating circles”, so that shape figures in the artwork, as well as do the colors and shapes of the ocean, currents, waves, and beach.

Image 17 – I used an array of circles to mark the exercise the therapist has the couple go through in order to reach a final answer. I showed these shapes moving across a body of water and up on to land, all the choices that have led to this result, with the black circle representing the one answer the narrator arrives at almost by default or by surprise, coming ashore on a new and unfamiliar land and life. The water takes up most of the image; it is the present, with the new land just now showing a bit of itself.

Image 18 – I used the same idea of circles moving across water to land, but this time I made the water journey a bit more chaotic with less defined circles, emphasizing the idea of the current pushing the narrator along to a new fresh land. I wanted to show the new location as welcoming, so I used green and made tree-like shapes. The idea that the narrator does not seem to have made a choice and yet all the previous choices have led to this place, this result, is shown in the array of circles, none of them emphasized over the others and all of them out in the water.

Read the story at Fictive Dream.

4 thoughts on “Flash Fiction February 2020 – “Circles”

  1. Diane

    Flash Fiction is very fortunate to have your dedication and creative spirit as part of their project. I am sure you also get much fulfillment and joy from your participation. I have some favorites of the stories but I will reserve that for when we “chat”. XO

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. Made my day to read this, thank you. I have learned a lot from the project and it was also nice to put a lot of painting time in, with a purpose. There are many more stories, I think you will find plenty to think about!

  2. Fictive Dream

    I found it very hard to decide which image to choose for Circles by Len Kuntz. Eventually, I chose image #17 because of the well-defined circles, the black circle which could represent the therapist and the splash of red bottom right corner, which lifts the whole thing. I also felt there was a greater impression of movement in this particular artwork. Not an easy one. Thank you, Claudia.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      The motif of circles was easy to spot in the story, obviously, but there were different manifestations of it, and that pointed to making images with a more symbolic approach, and using colors and other images from the story. I am glad the various elements were able to combine like this.

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