Patterns of humanity

I have mentioned a few times in previous posts about fractal images often being archetypal.  I’m not really sure I was correct in describing them that way, but what I will say is that they often look familiar in a way that transcends their immediate translation into a real object.  For instance, when I first looked at this fractal image, I immediately thought of the Aztecs and the patterns they incorporated into their art forms.  Having now looked at some Aztec art in more depth, I’m not even sure why I thought of them, other than the  feather motif and the colours.  That’s just what immediately came to mind.  And I have other fractal images created (not shown here) which really speak to me of Native American blanket patterns.  Others might look at this piece and be more immediately aware of the hourglass shape.  Maybe you will look at it and see something else entirely.

My point is, from near the beginning of humanity, we have been making patterns, whether or not they were drawn with a stick in the sand, sculpted along the edge of a stone building’s rooftop, painted on a cathedral ceiling, or digitally on a tablet.  Possibly for 60,000 years, we have been making patterns!  And if you look at all the patterns we have been making, you may notice that many of them are self-similar on smaller and smaller scales.  We were making fractals and we didn’t have a name for what was common to them all.  And we didn’t have a concept of the way fractals were involved in the geometry of nature – not consciously, anyway.  Maybe we were consciously inspired by nature, but didn’t recognize that specific aspect of it.  Only for the last 30-40 years have we, thanks to Mandelbrot, come to an awareness of this common denominator.  I like the way fractals connect all of humanity over time, and the way they connect us to nature.   I’m really looking forward to exploring this with future pieces!

Aztec Gold. Watercolour on Gessoed Paper. 20x20". $625.00. Lianne Todd

Aztec Gold.
Watercolour on Gessoed Paper.
20×20″.
$650.00.
Artist Lianne Todd

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Physical Phenomena

If I am postulating that the universe is fractal in nature, it makes sense that structures formed by molecules behaving in their natural way should be recognizable as fractals.  Such is the case with frost, turbulence, and bubbles.  Just do a little Google search with each of those terms alongside fractal, and you’ll see what I mean.  Mandelbrot made groundbreaking progress modelling turbulence, which had confounded mathematicians before him, using fractal geometry.

It also makes sense that in my random wanderings through the fractal universes I create, I encounter images that remind me of these phenomena.  Such is the case with these two fractals which I chose to paint.  I especially like the way the bubbles in Turbulence & Bubbles look like they are in the process of being blown, sometimes from multiple locations, and melding together when they meet, just like real bubbles would.

Hot Frost. Watercolour on Aquabord. 6x6". $175.00 Lianne Todd

Hot Frost.
Watercolour on Aquabord.
6×6″.
$175.00
Lianne Todd

Turbulence & Bubbles. Watercolour on Gessoed Paper. 20x20". $625.00. Lianne Todd

Turbulence & Bubbles.
Watercolour on Gessoed Paper.
20×20″.
$650.00.
Lianne Todd

Imagining the Cosmos

As you may know, if you have been reading all of my blog posts, I like to dabble a little in cosmology.  Not that I really know anything about it, but it fascinates me, and I like the kind of abstract thought it stimulates.  I was given a Great Course one Christmas on Dark Matter, Dark Energy, The Dark Side of the Universe, which I’ve enjoyed a great deal.  Dr. Sean Carroll is great at explaining cosmology in a way that I, at least, can understand.  I also read Brian Greene’s The Hidden Reality, a fascinating book.  I subscribe to many Facebook Pages which post news about the latest pieces of knowledge in this field.  The abstract thought appeals to me, and I think I’m pretty good at it, but my math and physics skills are limited to helping out my children when they were doing grade twelve homework.  Which may be nothing to sneeze at, but is less than what is required for particle physics.

One of the things that really strikes me, is that the visual components, be they illustrations or actual data translated into an image, of almost every piece of news in cosmology, are recognizable to me as being fractal in nature.  Perhaps it is because I’ve spent so much time looking at fractals, zooming in, and examining them from every angle, that I notice this.  I am always mystified when no mention of fractals is made, in these cases.  I’ve written a  whole post (and another) about fractal dimensions before, so I won’t go into that here, but that’s another part of the puzzle I like to think about.

I know these two fractals don’t really illustrate anything in particular, but they make me think along the lines of particle physics, and stardust, and the early universe.

"Stardance". Watercolour on gessoed paper. 20x20". $625.00 Lianne Todd

“Stardance”. Watercolour on gessoed paper. 20×20″.
$650.00
Lianne Todd

"Particles and Fields". Fractal Digital Art on Metal, single edition print. 20x20". $325.00 Lianne Todd

“Particles and Fields”.
Fractal Digital Art on Metal, single edition print. 20×20″.
$345.00
Lianne Todd

This past summer, during my exhibit, I was told about a person in the same city (London, Ontario) who, it seemed, had a lot of the same thoughts I was having about the fractal nature of the universe.  She is a software engineer and has been studying fractals for much longer than I have!  Needless to say, her math skills are much better than mine.  I was fortunate to meet her (her name is Lori Gardi) this fall.  She has two websites, the first of which I’m going to direct you to Here, in which she has laid out some of her thoughts in a pretty clear way.  I’ll link you to the more recent one later… I think it’s a good idea to start at the beginning of her thought process. We (artists, software engineers, mathematicians, physicists, philosophers) may not all have the same thought processes or reach the same conclusions in our explorations of fractals and their role in the universe, but all avenues should be explored as long as they can exist within the rules that have been truly established by scientists and mathematicians in the past.  I am, unfortunately, not capable of judging whether anything follows those rules, but others who can, need to at least look at this work with an open mind and decide for themselves. ESPECIALLY if it may help solve any of the mysteries still out there.

Thoughts on fractals and dimensions

Back in 2012, when I had begun my study of fractals, and had begun painting them, I wrote a blog post on my other website, entitled Fractal Dimensions.  It contained my thoughts about the missing dimensions that some cosmologists would like to discover/elucidate in order to make sense of the equations describing String Theory.

While it may be a naive article to have written, given my minimal physics education, and I may be wrong in my approach, I do think there is still merit to the idea.  As it turns out, there is such an area of study as Fractal Cosmology, so I am not completely off the mark.  And since I wrote that post, I have read quite a bit of Mandelbrot’s The Fractal Geometry of Nature.  It turns out, (as I mentioned in my first post on this blog) fractal geometry is all about dimensions – specifically, a fractal is defined as:

A set for which the Hausdorff Besicovitch dimension strictly exceeds the topological dimension.

i.e. every set with a non-integer D is a fractal, but a fractal may have an integer D

So, it has been established that much of nature can be interpreted or described using fractal dimensions.  Can ALL of it?  That is a big question.  And when we refer to fractal dimensions, are we referring to the same kind of dimensions that cosmologists refer to in String Theory?  I wish someone would tell me.

For now, and since I am an artist, I use what my eyes tell me.  In July of 2012, the Higgs Boson was finally found at CERN.  Here is a recent article referring to that discovery and its validity:

Check out the image in that article.  At the time of the discovery, I was already working on a painting based on this fractal right here:

Happy3croppedwm

Do you see the resemblance of the black parts of this fractal to the yellow parts of the collision image?  Not a proof, by any means, but it makes you wonder.

Here is the finished painting, which was beside me in the video I posted in “Publicity”:

The Higgs Boson Collision

I think this may be the first time I’ve shown both a digitally generated fractal and the painting based on it, at the same time!

More thoughts another day… it’s thundering a lot outside and I could lose power any second!

Publicity!

I made the news today – and while an actual review would have been nice, I will take free advertising without complaint!  This article appeared on the front page of the Today section in The London Free Press, and I am grateful to them!  Nice to be featured with these other excellent artists as well.

I have decided to post my own watermarked photo of the featured painting they chose for the article – it will give you a better idea of the colour.  This is one of the five watercolours on gesso that are in the exhibit, and it’s called Colourfest.  Like the others, it began as a digitally generated fractal, and developed from there.

Colourfest, 20x20", Watercolour on Gessoed Paper.   Lianne Todd

Colourfest, 20×20″, Watercolour on Gessoed Paper. Lianne Todd

Another item of publicity is this video made by The ARTS Project.  It was the end of the day we hung the show, so I hope I am not rambling too much in it.  You can see Colourfest hanging behind me!