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!

 

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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

 

 

An Archetypal Image

I think I have mentioned before how I see many fractals as somewhat archetypal in nature.  We have, in our decorative past, incorporated many motifs that turn out to be quite common in fractal geometry.  The swirls and whorls, the spirals and branches, the radiating patterns… it is like we knew about fractals before we knew about fractals.  But of course we did, didn’t we?  Because fractals are the shapes of nature, and we are a part of nature ourselves, and surrounded by it.  We noticed the regular and irregular natural patterns around us and we appreciated them.  We began to find them beautiful. Then we began to associate them with ideas, and some of them became symbolic.

This particular fractal is one of those ones that seems to be archetypal.  Of course the cross shape, as a symbol, is much more ancient than the Christian religion.  This is more complicated than a simple cross, though.  What other associations does your mind bring to this image?

Symbol.  Digital fractal art on metal.  Single edition print. 16x16". Lianne Todd

Symbol. Digital fractal art on metal. Single edition print. 16×16″. Lianne Todd

I hope you’ll come out to my studio this coming weekend during the Oxford Studio Tour to see this piece and more.

A Farewell to “Wind”

A while back I found out one of my fractal pieces had sold from the Art Gallery of Lambeth.  I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for representing me and for selling this piece.  I didn’t find out which one it was, until recently, and then I was not surprised, as many people at various exhibits have told me it is their favourite.

I was going to find the image on this site and change the caption to say it was sold… and then realized I have never posted it here!  I’ve used the image to advertise some of my shows, but have never quite written the blog post I wanted to write about it.

While “archetypal” comes to mind (and is wrong) to describe this image, I confess I’m at a loss otherwise.   And maybe that is why it took me this long to write about it.  There is just something about it that speaks to people, and while I feel it too, I can’t describe it.  Who needs words when it comes to visual art anyway, right?  But I would love to hear your ideas.

My original title for this was “The Birth of Wind”, but then it just became “Wind”.  I don’t even have an explanation for that!

All I really have to say is, while this image is also one of my favourites and will stay with me for a long time, I am glad someone else is now able to enjoy it on a daily basis.  If you are the buyer, thank you and please let me know as I haven’t been told who you are.

Wind. Digital Fractal Art on metal, single edition print. 20x20". Lianne Todd. SOLD

Wind. Digital Fractal Art on metal, single edition print. 20×20″. Lianne Todd. SOLD

Scarf Arrival

Yesterday, my scarf order FINALLY arrived.  (I ordered it December 15.  It is now March 1 –  Hardly the 30 days between order and shipping that was promised by the company).  I received several surprises between then and now, and not all of them were pleasant.  Please know, I have been on their case about the lateness of the order fulfillment, among  other things, and while they were not prompt with their response, either, they have responded and are taking measures to remedy the situation for the future.  At least, that is what they are trying to do.  They are a pretty new company, so I guess we can give them the benefit of the doubt.  If you, like me, placed an order, I hope yours has also arrived.  If not, I am sure it will, very soon.  And I am sorry if it hasn’t.  In every other way, the VIDA company has dealt with me fairly and has generously kept my page live past the original deadline.  For that I thank them.

Now, on to the scarf!  I only ordered the one design, so I don’t know how other designs will turn out.  The colours are a little different from the original design – some are more intense and others a slightly different hue, but the clarity of the image is great and the quality of the scarf is quite nice.  All in all, I’m happy.  I hope you will be too if you purchased any.  Thank you for doing so!

The original design compared to the actual scarf (which I haven’t ironed yet – sorry!):

Design&RealityArtifactAnd here it is on me, tied a few different ways:

Artifactsscarf4

Artifactsscarf1ArtifactsScarf2aArtifactsScarf3

 

 

Turbulence Revisited

Big whorls have little whorls
Which feed on their velocity,
And little whorls have lesser whorls
And so on to viscosity.
-Lewis F. Richardson

In the book I reviewed in my last post, Chaos: The Making of a New Science, by James Gleick, this quote begins one of the chapters.  And in the first paragraph of that chapter, another quote is mentioned which is in the description of this interesting video about the unexpected math in Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

James Gleick makes no reference to that painting, but goes on to describe the stories of past mathematicians and physicists trying and failing to solve the problem of turbulence.  Finally, along came Chaos Theory and Fractal Geometry, and things started to make some sense.  It is easy to understand why, when you look at the self-similarity and the complex patterns of a turbulent system.

I wonder what was going through Van Gogh’s mind when he was painting Starry Night.  According to the video, it was during one of his “periods of psychotic agitation”.  Perhaps the patterns approaching chaos happening in the electrical signals of his brain were translated to his expression with paint?  It’s an interesting point to ponder when you consider all of the systems in our bodies that involve fractal patterns.

I can assure you I was perfectly calm and sane during the painting of Turbulence and Bubbles – I was just letting my own hands and brain interpret the patterns that arose from an external fractal formula.  When I first started I had a completely different title in my mind, but then as I was painting it, I realized the black whorls reminded me of turbulence, and it looked like the yellow parts were bubbles emerging from some unknown source within it, and merging with each other when they touched.  We know turbulent systems do produce bubbles… (think boiling water)… I doubt this is how, but still!   I know I’ve introduced it before but here it is again:

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

Turbulence & Bubbles.
Watercolour on Gessoed Paper.
20×20″.
$625.00.
Lianne Todd

Here is a raw fractal which, to me, looks like a cross section of a wave crashing in.  A detail, below it, shows the patterns present within.  I haven’t quite decided what I’m doing with this one yet, but thought I would show it to you as it relates to this post so well.  It’s not exactly turbulence, as there aren’t any true whorls, but you can see how fractal geometry would lend itself to the study of turbulent systems.

waveeditsmwaveeditcrop

Pics of the current show

The Station Arts Centre has turned out to be a great location for my original series of fractal art.  Their new lighting system really shows off the metal prints well, and the one wall was the perfect length to show off the larger paintings all together.  Much better than crowding them into my home gallery, that’s for sure!

Here I am with a few of the pieces, on the night of the opening:

Lianne+Metal PrintsLianne+PaintingsAlso, the Station Arts Centre took a few photos on the night of the opening and posted them on their Facebook page.  You can view them here.

The show runs until April 7.

 

Show Reprisal!!

I haven’t written in a little while but I now have some great news for followers in the area who haven’t had a chance to see my fractals in person yet.  I am showing those that are left (31 pieces) at the Station Arts Centre in Tillsonburg for the month of March.  The show opens March 6 (this Friday) at 7-9 pm.  It runs until April 7.  The show is called, this time, A Fractal Universe.  Come land in it!

AFractalUniversegraphicwb

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″.
$625.00.
Lianne Todd

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″.
$625.00.
Lianne Todd