Circles & Circles & Circles Again

July 4th 2000, a month after my 24th birthday, my then boyfriend and I had just moved in together and threw a “White Trash 4th of July” housewarming party …where at the end of the night, talking with some friends, the conversation turned to panic and anxiety disorders …and how this young girl {maybe a year or two older than I was} had been struggling with them for a while now. And confused by it, I just sort of tilted my head and nodded, trying to be compassionate …but really, this was really the first I had heard of anything like that and since I had never felt it, I couldn’t comprehend it for one second.

Not a month later, after my morning ritual of an ice-blended mocha from Lily outside the Canyon Country Store and about 6 cigarettes in, we left for a fairly normal trip to down-town LA to pick up supplies for the business …{there’s a lot of back story here that I don’t really want to get into so for the sake of my present life, I’m just going to be a bit vague}…

We made our way down the canyon and just as we crossed Sunset I started feeling nauseous. We pulled over as I thought I was going to hurl but then nothing …so we continued on our trip. At that point, though, I regretted not turning the car around and going back home because I thought I was going to be sick for the rest of the day. I made it to a Ralphs grocery store and ran to the bathroom …where again, I thought I was going to be sick …but nothing. But as soon as I tried leaving the bathroom, the sickness would return. Needless to say, the rest of the trip was an ongoing battle of holding back vomit …when in actuality, I wasn’t physically sick at all. I was battling something mentally that I wasn’t admitting and my body finally had had enough.

I didn’t know at the time it was mental. No matter how many people told me it was “all in my head” the fact that my body was responding physically to it and literally making me ill, was confusing to say the least. It felt a bit similar to how Bill Murray describes it in this clip from the movie What About Bob minus the germ part.

I found solace in drawing circles …entire pages of circles. It moved on to leaves and squares and stairs and really any shapes that I could fill an entire 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper with. I started many that I never finished but I definitely felt a sense of calm in the midst of crazy and accomplished when I finished.

It wasn’t until 2004 when I noticed my circle drawings becoming more colorful and I realized I wasn’t doing them for the same reason anymore …I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. This isn’t the full story …but it’s definitely the beginning

Here are just a few of the many I created. . . the more creative less insane looking ones …lol

…and most of them {although not shown} look like this one …tiny circles

…a close-up of a blue one

This was one of the last ones I did. It was when I realized I was in love with Pep in Spring of 2004. {you can click to enlarge them but I think you get the picture}

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.


  • Chessa!

    May 4, 2009 |

    ohmygod. these are amazing. and, I love that you referenced Tori Amos. I heart you.

  • Hanako66

    May 4, 2009 |

    I am so glad that you are happy now (although your artwork when you were not is pretty amazing:)

  • Jules

    May 4, 2009 |

    Wow – even though they were getting you through a rough time, they are pretty amazing!

  • I Like Stuff

    May 4, 2009 |

    These are so cool! I hope you have them displayed prominently somewhere in your home. And it’s sad but true: sometimes misery begets the best art!


    Thanks for the What About Bob? clip. I needed a laugh this afternoon…

  • anhesty

    May 4, 2009 |

    i love this type of art as well. i use to do then all the time when i was younger. dot dot dot dot… yours are amazing!

  • Maegan

    May 4, 2009 |


  • Missy

    May 4, 2009 |

    Amazing! I wish I had your talent. 🙂

  • kathleen

    May 4, 2009 |

    It’s so great that you found an outlet to help you through that. It’s also great that you are talking about anxiety – something so many people keep quiet about. Thank you.

  • kathleen

    May 4, 2009 |

    Oh, and I love the Tori lyric!

  • BeeHappy

    May 4, 2009 |

    I love pointillism. I did a few of them growing up! 🙂

  • Felicia

    May 4, 2009 |

    These are so great!!!!

  • Absolutely Not Martha

    May 4, 2009 |

    hi again!
    1. hee hee–pointillism. (my major was art history.)
    2. ever since i saw the movie Laurel Canyon, it’s been my ABSOLUTE dream to live there one day. my husband’s brother lives in west hollywood where we visited a few summers ago–we drove by that country store!!!
    3. i hope you do prom hair tute.

  • K.Line

    May 4, 2009 |

    Look at you, morphing anxiety into loveliness! And, btw, I can really relate to the anxiety. I’ve had panic attacks and they are beyond terrible. Not till you start having those (and doubting sanity) that you realize mental health is everything…

  • brooke

    May 5, 2009 |

    wow….your pain brought true beauty…truly (and this sounds total cornball) but i have a hard time looking away…the whole thing of it the small circles creating beautiful works that are somehow so perfect i just honestly have no words….this is definitely a post i will continue to come back to stare…that one that looks like a flower is my favorite…

  • Meghan

    May 5, 2009 |

    Studies have shown many great artists have had their best work during periods of depression or anxiety. These are amazing, but I’m glad you’ve dealt with it.

  • g.

    May 5, 2009 |

    Love that last one. Very cool.

  • ~alison

    May 5, 2009 |

    Whoa…these are super cool! How is it that I have never seen any of these? And why are they hanging in your place?

    I want one! ; )

  • Jayci

    May 5, 2009 |

    Wow – your art is seriously awesome! I’m not an artist and the whole lots of circles thing looks so incredible.

  • freeTEYme

    May 5, 2009 |

    you are very talented. I would not have known these are circles.

  • Underfunded Heiress

    May 5, 2009 |

    Wow, these are really good. Do you continue to make art?

  • Megan

    May 5, 2009 |

    Those are should hang them in the gallery 😉

  • Maegan

    May 5, 2009 |

    thanks guys! …it’s funny, I never find these anything but a way to pass the time …more doodles than art …but ALISON: just today that last one reminded me reminded me of

  • stacy

    May 5, 2009 |


  • Summer

    May 5, 2009 |
  • Anonymous

    May 5, 2009 |

    are you kidding me? those are aaamazing!!! wow.

  • Elizabeth Marie

    May 5, 2009 |

    Wow…the mind is an incredible thing! I love the progression…and I’m so glad you’re happy now! xo

  • drollgirl

    May 5, 2009 |

    so tiny and intricate and cool. and therapeutic, too. 🙂

  • The Rest is Still Unwritten

    May 5, 2009 |

    Wow. THat’s all I can say. Those are amazing.

  • diane

    May 5, 2009 |

    These are absolutely amazing, and a real testament to your positive nature despite your circumstances. You could show these in a gallery, seriously. xo

  • Maki

    May 5, 2009 |

    Wow, Maegan, Wow!! You have so many hidden talent, I can’t stand it 🙂

    BTW, I tagged you – it’s been a while, so I guess it’s okay? I hope you haven’t done this one yet. xoxo

  • Becky

    May 5, 2009 |

    Wow those are very cool!

  • ms. shoo {}

    May 5, 2009 |

    You should be selling these + sharing them with to world! They would make great textiles. I love your use of colour. I know you say you see them as doodles, but the beauty in art is the emotions it evokes.

    Continued creativity, and let me know when you start selling these. You’d be surprised how many designers would commission you for work. Dream on it.


  • ms. shoo {}

    May 5, 2009 |

    PS: “dream on it” is my way of saying ponder it/sleep on the idea, heehee. Don’t want anyone to think I’m telling you to keep dreaming, that would beget my entire comment.

  • Cathy Voyage

    May 5, 2009 |

    That’s so cool!

  • ana b.

    May 5, 2009 |

    Wow. That’s a lot of circles. Lol. I find doodling pretty cathartic. My favourite thing to doodle are flowers.

  • Mary

    May 5, 2009 |

    very, very cool. That takes a lot of patience. I can see how it would be calming 🙂

  • Pretty Little World

    May 5, 2009 |

    I’m so glad that you’re feeling happier now!!

    These drawings are an absolutely amazing work to come out of what must have been such a difficult time for you — it’s wonderful that you have have these!

  • Saskia

    May 5, 2009 |

    These are incredible!! You are an extremely creative and talented lady!

    Saskia x

  • vicen

    May 5, 2009 |
  • Julia

    May 5, 2009 |

    Incredible! I’m so in love with the process and the theraputic nature of these little circles!

    Thank you so much for sharing!

    You’re not alone!

  • Anonymous

    May 5, 2009 |

    I adore these! I would hang every last one on my walls…

  • Leigh

    May 5, 2009 |


  • D.C. 2

    May 5, 2009 |

    I agree. You may have been going through a tough time but, you artwork is beautiful. You have a great artistic skill. Any for sale?

  • ♥ fashion chalet

    May 5, 2009 |

    Really trippy and so 70’s I like them! 🙂


  • ~Trish~

    May 5, 2009 |

    Those are so cool, I love the colors you used too!

  • Michelle

    May 5, 2009 |

    These are fabulous! I love the rose

  • lookrichbitch

    May 5, 2009 |

    wow… everyone channels their energy in different ways. i’m glad you found your light at the end of the tunnel!

  • writing4612

    May 5, 2009 |

    These are just beautiful! Seriously, I love detailed things, and these drawings are full of it!

  • Rachel

    May 5, 2009 |

    They are amazing…and I definately think they deserve to be hung somewhere on display!

  • Chris

    May 6, 2009 |

    These are really, really cool! And I love the story behind them. I totally get the anxiety thing, and I do agree that doodling and other such activities can be a soothing thing to a person. I tend to line stuff up and “pattern” things, perhaps to make sense and order of life?

    My favorite is the second from the bottom. Love the swirls and such!

  • Dan W Johnson

    May 6, 2009 |

    Those are cool. You’re so lucky to have found your way out, many don’t…

  • Maeko

    May 6, 2009 |

    Jesus, those are awesome. I wonder if you ever figured out what they stood for? The circles, that is.

    I love them. So intricate. A couple remind me of vaginas posing as roses, though. But my head is always in the gutter. It doesn’t diminish their beauty, though.

  • K @ Blog Goggles

    May 6, 2009 |

    These are unbelievable. It’s a shame they came out of a dark place, but I’m glad you’re doing better these days. I’m so glad you decided to share – really means a lot.

  • zoe aka drinkupthefashion

    May 7, 2009 |

    these are absolutely beautiful!

  • Selaen

    May 8, 2009 |

    That is such a random thing to do.. But these pictures are amazing!!! I absolutely adore the last one, I’ve been looking for something like that to brighten up my bare walls..



  • Jordan

    May 8, 2009 |

    I love the drawings! Art is such a great outlet for anyone, but those with talent produce such beautiful things!!

  • Joy

    May 9, 2009 |

    beautiful – just like you!! so glad you were able to create to combat the darkness…

  • Whitney Gray

    May 11, 2009 |
  • Once A Bride

    May 14, 2009 |

    love me some tori 😉

    and love these! the last one is now my desktop wallpaper–so thx!

  • Phyllis

    August 7, 2009 |

    these are so cool! i used to do tons of drawings with just lines and lines, kind of like what you have. always thought they were pretty but also thought i was a little OCD/ crazy. haha. just discovered your blog, i love it!

  • Bunnie

    September 5, 2009 |

    o m g . that is a LOT of circles. but it looks SO good! Do you have these displayed around the house??

    PS. i LOVE your blog. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

  • Jane

    December 16, 2011 |

    These are incredibly lovely! You have such innate talent.. I am just a tiny bit jealous;)

  • Jane

    December 21, 2011 |

    I just read this quote from Philippe Stark and thought of you and this post:
    “Creativity is almost a mortal sickness. It’s not easy to be happy and creative: With creativity comes great anxiety, great effort, great desire for love. To be creative, you have to be curious, generous, to want to try to understand.”

    I hope it helps.

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