New Eyes

Thank you to all who came out on the weekend for the 11th Annual Oxford Studio Tour, and welcome new subscribers!  I just wrote a post for my other blog, which is on my watercolour site, and I wanted to make sure it reached all my followers for both sites.  So, if you’ve already seen it, please go on about your day.  If not, here it is:  New Eyes!

 

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Not-so-alien Vegetation

Have you ever wondered if there is any other life out there in the universe?  I think there must be.  The universe we can see contains around 100 – 200 billion galaxies and it is estimated that is only ten percent of what it actually contains.  That’s just galaxies – each galaxy contains perhaps 100 billion stars.  I don’t know about you but I have a hard time wrapping my brain around numbers that large.  The odds against this being the only planet to support life of some kind are huge.  So, then one wonders, what would alien life look like?  We’ve seen so many science fiction movies, now, where others have imagined it, and they’ve done a really convincing job.  It’s amazing, really, what our minds can come up with.

But what if we leave it all to the mathematics?  If fractal geometry is the geometry of nature, let’s assume that all nature, not just that of planet Earth, is governed by it.  I find it really fun to create a little ‘planet’ using Mandelbulb 3D, and then explore it, finding scenes that remind me of Earth.  I’ve done this before with ‘Climb it, Change’, ‘There is Always a Bridge’, ‘No Port in Sight’, ‘Ocean Floor’, and many more that I haven’t shown anyone yet. This one I call ‘Coniferous Tree on Planet B’. Obviously the ‘coniferous tree’ isn’t the only bit of vegetation on this particular ‘planet’.  I see vines, and cabbage-shaped types of vegetation, and driftwood – but you might have to come see the piece in person to appreciate all that.  Next weekend is the 11th annual Oxford Studio Tour and I am at Location #4.  Why not come out and see it for yourself?

Coniferous Tree on Planet B. Digital fractal art printed on metal, single print. 24×32″. Artist Lianne Todd. $525.00

This is the first piece of fractal art I’ve created and shown that isn’t square, but rather a landscape format.  I hope that doesn’t throw anyone off!

 

Feast

I cannot wait to show you this latest piece in person.  Some images conjure up abundance, richness, and decadence, and this is one of those images. There is plenty here for your own imagination to work on, but you won’t be able to properly see it unless you come to my studio!  Lucky for you, my studio is often open, all you need to do is contact me.  But even luckier, there are a whole bunch of studios open on May 5 & 6 in Oxford County, and mine is one of them!  I am at Location #4. 

This image you see here is a mere fraction of the size I have printed it – 24 x 24 inches.  As usual, I only have one print made of each fractal piece, on metal (or sometimes acrylic), so each is an original.  Although, I think this would make a great metal album cover don’t you?

Feast. Digital Fractal Art printed on metal, single edition print. 24×24″. Artist Lianne Todd. $425.00

 

 

A Matter of Scale

There exists a very old phrase, ‘as above, so below’.  Its meaning is interpreted in various ways, depending on where you look.  Its source is generally attributed to Hermes, though according to some, it is probably even older than that.

According to Wikipedia, the full quote translated from Hermes ‘ The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, as translated by Dennis W. Hauck, is “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing.”

Isaac Newton translated the Emerald Tablet’s passage as follows: ‘That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing’  (according to Quora).

I don’t know exactly where I first heard the phrase, but it certainly popped into my head a lot as I began to explore fractal geometry.  The more I learn about fractals and about the cosmos, the more I see similarities between large scales, like the universe, and small scales, like an atom.  Perhaps an easier example to envision is the similarity between say, a river drainage pattern and the venation in a leaf.  After all, fractals are often self-similar on smaller and smaller scales.  It is one of the ways in which fractal geometry was discovered by Benoit Mandelbrot.  My cursory understanding of such things, as an artist whose education was mainly in biology, does not diminish my enthusiasm for humanity’s search to find a Theory of Everything.  Whenever I see a Physics article in my various news feeds, I am struck by either their use of illustrative images which I recognize from experience as being generated fractals, or how much the actual images generated by their physics experiments resemble generated fractals.  Maybe someday the ideas will all fit together.  Until then, I will continue to happily make my art and notice how in reality, sometimes it is tricky to know what the scale of an image is.

This piece will be on display in my gallery this weekend during ‘Welcome Back to Otterville’, our town’s 21st annual studio tour.  Please visit www.WelcomeBackToOtterville.ca for details of the tour, including maps and times.

microcosm or macrocosm?

A Matter of Scale. Digital Fractal Art, printed on metal. 20×20″. Single edition print. Artist Lianne Todd. $325.00

 

Studio Tour coming up!

I posted at length about our ‘Welcome Back to Otterville’ studio tour yesterday on my watercolours blog, and I wanted to make sure everyone who subscribes to this one knows about it too.  There is a press release contained within that blog post, if any local journalists would care to deliver our story to their reading public.

This is our 21st annual tour (the 12th one I have lived here for), and every year it is slightly different.  The tour was founded by my good friend Sue Goossens, pictured here with me.  As you can see, she is also a very talented watercolour artist.  Our website is www.welcomebacktootterville.ca, if you’d like to see who else is on the tour.  If you are unfamiliar with my art, you may also see a good sampling of it here, and here.

I hope to see you here in Otterville, Ontario on November 18 & 19, from 10 to 5 pm.  It would make a great, stress-free day-trip for anyone in the area of London, Stratford, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Hamilton, Simcoe, St. Thomas, and all points in between or south to the lake.  Look for the yellow flags, and I’ll be waiting in my gallery with some hot cranberry wassail!

Sue and Lianne

There is always a bridge.

We live in a very divided political landscape these days.  There are a great many vocal people on both the left and the right, and sometimes it is difficult to imagine we can find any common ground with each other.

I helped found, and am the publicity director for, the Canadian branch of the International Watercolor Society (IWS Canada).  Our mission is to “promote peace, harmony, love, understanding and acceptance of each others’ differences” through the medium of watercolour.   We recently held a contest in which we asked people all over the world to express ways in which they celebrate.  We asked what celebration meant to them.  Many interpreted the question as ‘what’ do you celebrate, rather than ‘how’. In a way, we were asking for participants to build a bridge for us so we could learn about their cultures.  It has meant we’ve interacted with 1450 people all over the world.  It may be a small contribution to peace, and love, but many small contributions add up!  The 150 finalists chosen by our four jurors can be seen on our website (thanks to the hard work of Ona Kingdon, Elizabeth Franchetto Irvine, and myself ;)), along with the videos in both English and French made by our president, Ona.  We recognize, of course, that all art forms “can bring people together despite differences in race, religion, culture and distance.” We just happen to especially love watercolour.

As you know, I also happen to love digital fractal art.

This piece of mine illustrates a landscape full of great divisions, but wherever there is a chasm, the fractal algorithm has built a natural bridge.

Fractal landscape, natural bridges

There is Always a Bridge. Digital Fractal Art printed on metal, single edition. 20×20″. Artist Lianne Todd. $325.00

What if we did that?  What if each of us made it our business to build a small bridge wherever we see a chasm we can’t fill (like in that song by Sting!).  Our hearts can be open without compromising our ideals. We don’t have to have “fortresses” around them.

Anyone who knows me knows I love to argue (not fight), just for argument’s sake.  So it may seem odd to them – me talking about building bridges.  But my arguments are never meant to hurt or cause strife – they are meant to bring more understanding, both for me and for the other person.  It really saddens me when that isn’t the outcome, as is sometimes the case.  There is always a bridge that can be built or found.  We can’t/won’t always cross the bridges, and can’t expect others to cross over to us either, but at least we may get a little closer to seeing the others’ point of view, and sometimes we can meet in the middle.

How I spent my summer holidays…

It has been a long time since I posted any news here, and tomorrow I am participating in Woodstock’s ‘Pavlo in the Park’, a Canada 150 celebration, as an exhibitor, so I thought this would be a good time to do so.

It was such a busy summer I didn’t even have a chance to go to my own exhibits!  Allow me to explain:

In June, I was very lucky to be able to spend a couple of weeks in Italy, with my husband.  I took a week-long painting holiday at a place called The Watermill, which was fantastic for both of us. He was able to explore the Tuscan mountainsides hiking while I learned from watercolour painting master Keiko Tanabe and both of us had all the delicious food and drink we could want and met fabulous people.  After that we explored the Cinque Terre, Milan, and Venice on our own.

A scene in Verrucola.

A painting I completed in Italy

While I was away, my daughter helped me out by delivering a few of my watercolour paintings to our Artists of Oxford ‘Canadiana’ exhibit at The ARTS Project in London, Ontario. I arrived home just as the exhibit was closing.

Then, in July, my daughter and I went on a three week train trip across Western Canada.  She had had the good fortune to acquire a Canada150 VIA rail pass and invited me on her trip.  It’s a good thing we get along!  P.S. Canada is very beautiful.  P.P.S. It might be even more beautiful if you go by car and sleep in a bed at night ;).  P.P.P.S. I hate waiting for freight trains…

While we were away, my husband helped me out by delivering (and picking up) a couple of my fractal pieces to the Bridges Math Art conference at the University of Waterloo (our alma mater).  I was really pleased to be able to participate with my art, even though I didn’t get there myself.  Maybe next year!

When I returned home, it was time to fulfill my duties as a Co-Representative for the International Watercolor Society’s Canadian branch (IWS Canada).  We held an online competition from July 1st to August 31 to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary.  The three of us processed 1450 entries from over 80 countries around the world!  I am not a juror for the contest but they have a large job ahead of them!  Only 150 entries will be juried in to the final online exhibit, and eight lucky participants (3 in each adult category, 1 in each youth category) will be chosen to receive prizes.

I was also interviewed for a feature article in a new little local free newspaper.  It is in this week’s edition.  A big thank you to The London Review for supporting the arts!

So now, (after this weekend!) I am really looking forward to settling in to my studio and doing some serious watercolour painting.  I have so many reference photos to inspire me!

Ethereal Visions

Before I begin to introduce this new piece, I would like to thank all of the nice people who visited my studio/gallery this past weekend for the Oxford Studio Tour, and showed such fascinated interest in my fractal art.  You really do help me keep the inspiration fresh!

As you may know, clouds exhibit fractal geometry.  Mandelbrot’s famous quote:

“Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line.”

is certainly a confirmation of that if you needed it.  That quote is from the very first paragraph of his book The Fractal Geometry of Nature and he discusses the topic in several places throughout it.

I took the photo of these clouds at sunset one evening here in Otterville.  Living down close to the historic mill in this little town, we don’t always get the best view of sunsets, but every now and then there is a spectacular one that must be photographed.  And of course since I am interested in the cloud geometry, I also like the way it is highlighted by the colours.

It seemed like a very natural place for this fractal, created in Oxidizer, to occupy.  The shape immediately brought to mind something happening in the sky, perhaps a place Zeus would be.  There was an obvious (to me) song title that came to mind too, and perhaps you can guess what it was, or maybe not.  But it didn’t quite interpret this the way I wanted, and I was stumped for a while trying to think of a title.  I liked the little spirals and the curved shapes reminded me of somersaults, and I still felt there was a musical component.

After having it printed on acrylic, and hanging it on my gallery wall, I showed it to my son, and asked him what he thought I should call it.  It didn’t take him very long to say “Aerials” and although the word on its own is ideal, I immediately knew he was referring to the song by System of a Down.  It is on their Toxicity album.  I confess I only know it (and all the other metal that I like) because of my son, but it is truly one of my favourite songs of all, and I hope they don’t mind me naming this piece of art after their music.  I agreed with him that it is the perfect title.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of it myself.  My suggestion is that you first go find and read the lyrics.  Then listen to the song.  I think you might agree too.

fractal, ethereal, sky, Lianne Todd

Aerials. Digital fractal art printed on acrylic, single edition. 20×20″. Artist Lianne Todd. $360.00

Awaiting the Tourists!

Hey everyone, the 10th Annual Oxford Studio Tour is this weekend, May 6 & 7!  That’s just in case I haven’t reached you yet… I have been so busy promoting the tour on its website, and on Facebook and Twitter, I almost forgot to post on my own blogs!

As you may know, my gallery/studio is Location #3 this year.  There is another near me, Location #4, and we are always happy when studio tourists make the trip out to the southeast corner of Oxford County, Ontario, to see us. Here is a peek at what you’ll find when you get here.

The entrance to my gallery is at the rear of the house:

I’m still saving the new art for when you get here!  😉

Have you seen our posters or picked up a brochure yet?  They are in libraries, tourist offices, and many nice businesses in and surrounding the county.  You could also get one from the first artist you visit.  This is what they look like:

But here is the basic information to get you started, and our website is full of maps as well: