Oxford Studio Tour coming up!

It’s April, and that means it is almost time for our annual Oxford Studio Tour here in Oxford County, Ontario.  My studio has been one of the locations for this tour since its inception nine years ago (I also look after the website and some other stuff!).  I will have plenty of work here for visitors to see.   If you’ve never been out on the tour, it is a great way to celebrate spring, which I am hoping is right around the corner… here is a view out my front window yesterday:

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So yeah, we’re not quite there yet.  But the daffodils in my back yard are really trying to bloom.  The ones out front are a little slower but they are hopeful.  Here is a painting I did of the ones out front a few years ago – it’s still available, along with several other watercolours in a variety of styles:

NewGrowthThey’ll get there.

One of the newer fractals that I showed at our recent Artists of Oxford show at Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre, is Diaphanous.  It will be here for the studio tour, along with some other new pieces.  I will even have a couple of Artifact scarves available for purchase.

Diaphanous. Original Digital Art, available printed as single edition on acrylic. 20x20"

Diaphanous. Original Digital Art, available printed as single edition on acrylic. 20×20″

I hope if you live in the region, you’ll grab a friend or three, hop in the car, and make a day of it.  There is a ton of talent to see on this tour, as well as a lot of lovely countryside, and I especially hope you’ll make it out to my location, #6, at the south end of the county.  Here is a google map of the whole tour.

Keep an eye out for our red posters advertising the tour around the region, and our printed brochures designed by artist and graphic designer Rhonda Franks (she’s at location #7 along with Sue Goossens, who is the founder for the tour).  The brochures include descriptions and maps to help guide you around the tour.  If you’d like me to mail you a brochure, please contact me!

Rough Waters

A little over a month ago, my mind was in turmoil and I spent some time creating this image.  The process of creating is always calming and even though none of the problems turning circles in my head were solved by it, it was a way for me to get through that time.  The piece is called “No Port in Sight”. Since then, things have gradually become better.  The waters have calmed.

No Port in Sight.  Digital fractal image.  Lianne Todd.  Unprinted as yet - only one print will be made.  If you wish to own this please contact me to discuss format, size, etc.

No Port in Sight. Digital fractal image. Lianne Todd. Unprinted as yet – only one print will be made. If you wish to own this please contact me to discuss format, size, etc.

Unbeknownst to me, at the same time, another artist, a photographer named Dave Sandford, was capturing the real thing from my favourite beach, Port Stanley!  I hope he won’t mind if I link to his photos here.  I don’t know him but apparently he lives in my “hometown” of London, Ontario.  They are absolutely awesome, would have been difficult to capture, and really exemplify the turbulence and fury our Great Lakes are capable of.  I hope the fractal nature of these is as obvious to you as it it is to me, especially after seeing the image above created entirely using fractal software (Mandelbulb 3D this time – a new (to me) application I’ve been learning to use).

On that note, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year – and may you always have a port in sight!

Wearable Fractals!

I am very excited to share with you a new direction I am taking with my fractal art.  I was approached a couple of weeks ago by VIDA, which is a global partnership of co-creators – artists and designers all over the world, makers in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Latin America, and consumers all over the world.  They are backed by, among others, Google Ventures and Universal Music Group. One of the reasons I accepted their proposal is their socially responsible outlook.  The makers receive a living wage, as well as a basic literacy and math education they wouldn’t ordinarily get.  The artists receive ten percent of all sales from their collection, and nothing is made until it is ordered.

I love the idea of my fractal art being worn!  What a great way to show off the natural beauty of the fractals while increasing my exposure as an artist.  I have chosen, at least as a starting point, to only use either my original watercolour fractals as designs, or digital fractals I haven’t printed on metal or acrylic.  My first pieces are silk square scarves, as they worked well with designs I had already created.  One of them has been designed using the software Mandelbulb 3D.  Click on the image below to visit my VIDA collection and shop online!

VIDApage

November News

I am very pleased to announce that some of my fractal art will now be available at the Art Gallery of Lambeth!  I grew up in that area so it is really nice to be able to display my art there.

I still have many pieces at my home studio/gallery though, and that’s a good thing, because this weekend is Welcome Back to Otterville, our 19th annual Studio Tour.

For details, please see my previous post. As always, I have a few things left to do before morning so I will keep this short!

You could also visit my other site, liannetodd.wordpress.com, to see a couple of new pieces I will have on display.

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Following the Patterns of Nature

It is an absolutely beautiful day today in Otterville, full of colour and the patterns of nature, so I plan to spend some time outside.  It was during another beautiful day a few years back, hiking in the woods at Awenda Provincial Park, that I came across many kinds of fungus.  I took a number of photos, and an edited version of one of them ended up as part of this image I am presenting to you today.

On another completely separate occasion, I was creating fractal images and found that, as is often the case, there were distinctly natural and vegetative features recognizable in one.  I saved it, and later on when looking through all of my photos, I noticed how well the features in it mimicked and extrapolated the patterns of growth I had noticed in the fungal photo.  I had even just happened, by whim, to have edited the photo so that its colours matched the ones I had, by chance, used in the fractal creation.

What you see below is a digital collage of the natural and the generated fractal patterns, printed on metal.  Once again nature shows how it is a manifestation of the fractal patterns of the universe.

Following the Patterns. Digital Fractal Art printed on metal, single edition. 16x16". Lianne Todd. $225.00.

Following the Patterns. Digital Fractal Art printed on metal, single edition. 16×16″. Artist Lianne Todd.  SOLD.  Private Collection.

Biological Forms

Examples of fractals in biology are not difficult to find, and indeed if the universe is fractal, there should be a fractal component to all biological forms.  In the post entitled The Photographs, in which I have captured some natural fractal forms, there are at least five forms which are biological.  In the post entitled Butterflies and Moths, there were several digitally generated fractals which just happened to look biological.  Anyone who has looked up the word fractal has probably been given the example of the fern, or the romanesco, or even the tree.  In fact, people can create extremely realistic looking plants using software that takes advantage of fractal geometry.  Our lungs, and our vascular systems are obviously fractal in nature.  Ever looked at a sea slug?  Beautiful little fractals.

When I create my fractal digital art, and sometimes watercolours, I don’t try to make things that are biological, but I recognize natural forms when I see them and they pop up on their own all the time.  The fact that I’m not making them on purpose somehow speaks to my scientific side, and relates them to evolutionary theory.  I talked about this a little bit in The rose and the creation process as well.

These two pieces are examples which are maybe not as obvious as the butterflies but do remind me of biology just the same.

Cell Division. Lianne Todd. Watercolour on Aquabord. 6x6". $175.00

Cell Division.
Lianne Todd.
Watercolour on Aquabord.
6×6″.
$175.00

Triad. Lianne Todd. Watercolour on Paper. 20x20". $625.00

Triad.
Lianne Todd. Watercolour on Paper.
20×20″.
$650.00

 

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.

The Experiment

This series of four paintings was an experiment.  Not a very scientific one but I did try to control variables and make predictions.  My hypothesis was that since all pigments are different in their molecule size, shape, and hydrophilic and hydrophobic qualities, they would all move differently through the medium of water, and as they interacted with each other, and that their movement would be fractal.  In other words, I expected them to appear, at the end, as if they were something like a cloud, or some other natural item that is already known to be able to be modelled using fractal geometry.  A coastline, for instance.

All four pieces were executed and controlled in the same way (I won’t give away all my secrets!), the only differences being the pigments I used and the order they were used in.  I tried to reduce the effects of gravity by levelling my table but it is kind of obvious there was a tiny bit of gravitational effect.  I changed the orientation of the final products so that when they were hung together, it would be aesthetically pleasing.  Other than that, the results you see here are basically the raw data.

I called them Negative Nebulae, because I looked at all the white space around them and imagined if it was black, and the colours were reversed, they would look a bit like those photos you see from NASA of distant nebulae.  In other words, these would be like the negatives of those photos.

Here they are – what do you think?:

Nebula Negative I Watercolour on Yupo 10x10" Lianne Todd

Nebula Negative I
Watercolour on Yupo
10×10″ (sold)
Lianne Todd

Nebula Negative II Watercolour on Yupo 10x10" Lianne Todd

Nebula Negative II
Watercolour on Yupo
10×10″ $125.00
Lianne Todd

Negative Nebula III Watercolour on Yupo 10x10" Lianne Todd

Negative Nebula III
Watercolour on Yupo
10×10″ (sold)
Lianne Todd

Negative Nebula IV Watercolour on Yupo 10x10" Lianne Todd

Negative Nebula IV
Watercolour on Yupo
10×10″ (sold)
Lianne Todd

Here is what they looked like at the exhibit:

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Curious to know what they do really look like when you invert the colours?

Non Negative Nebula I (the inversion) Lianne Todd

Non Negative Nebula I
(the inversion)
Lianne Todd

Non Negative Nebula II (the Inversion) Lianne Todd

Non Negative Nebula II
(the Inversion)
Lianne Todd

Non Negative Nebula III (the inversion) Lianne Todd

Non Negative Nebula III
(the inversion)
Lianne Todd

Non Negative Nebula IV (the inversion) Lianne Todd

Non Negative Nebula IV
(the inversion)
Lianne Todd

 

A Game of Ball

I touched earlier on the aspect of self-similarity on smaller and smaller scales in fractals.  I find the ones that are exactly the same on smaller and smaller scales a bit boring – like the Koch snowflake or the Sierpinski arrowhead or the Menger sponge (though it has a nice surprise).  It’s the fractals that take on the slightly chaotic characteristics of nature that are the most interesting, and which stimulate the most thought about how this whole complex universe of ours developed.

The series I am presenting to you here does not really look like something you would find in nature, strictly speaking, (except for the parts that look like peacock feathers) but I thought it lent itself well to the illustration of self-similarity while emphasizing the variation.  And because it already included elements of a human game, why not present it as a game?

The series is called “The Ball Went Over the Fence”.

Up until this point, you have probably looked at the fractal images on this site and you’ve detected the self-similarity, but what you maybe haven’t seen is what happens when you travel into a fractal.  You can’t properly zoom in on a fractal without the equipment to do so – i.e., the software which allows you to make the fractal in the first place, or a video or .gif someone has prepared that takes you through it.  When I say travel into a fractal, I mean precisely that – it resembles exploring a new realm.  You enter the realm, you set your sights on a distant object, and when you get there, your surroundings have changed –  you know you’re in the same realm, because it all looks familiar, but that which was tiny is now large and detailed, and you can see off into a new distance.  You set your sights on that, and continue on your journey…. and you can keep doing this over and over again for a long time, depending on how many iterations of the formula you’ve rendered.

So I travelled into this fractal I created, and I stopped along the way and saved some images.  The game is for you to try to figure out where I zoomed in to get to the next image. Give it a shot.  In a couple of days, I’ll edit this post with the key at the end so you can have the answers.  Hint 1:  the orientation of the image doesn’t change.  Hint 2:  Some of these are a lot easier to find than others.  Also, the first two images will open larger if you click on them, but the rest are locked at their size.  (They are all scaled relative to their actual artwork size).  The key at the end will open larger so you can see more clearly.

All images are watermarked and copyrighted.

The Ball Went Over the Fence 1, Lianne Todd. Original Fractal Digital Art, single edition print on metal, 28x28" $525.00

The Ball Went Over the Fence 1, Lianne Todd. Original Fractal Digital Art, single edition print on metal, 28×28″ $550.00

 

The Ball Went Over the Fence 2, Lianne Todd. Original Fractal Digital Art, single edition print on metal, 20x20" $325.00

The Ball Went Over the Fence 2, Lianne Todd. Original Fractal Digital Art, single edition print on metal, 20×20″ $345.00

If you are having trouble with the first two, try looking at #2 and #3, this is the easiest solution of all of them.

The Ball Went Over the Fence 3, Lianne Todd. Original Fractal Digital Art, single edition print on metal, 16x16". $225.00

The Ball Went Over the Fence 3, Lianne Todd. Original Fractal Digital Art, single edition print on metal, 16×16″. SOLD.  Private Collection.

 

The Ball Went Over the Fence 4, Lianne Todd. Original fractal digital art, single edition print on metal. 12x12". $145.00

The Ball Went Over the Fence 4, Lianne Todd. Original fractal digital art, single edition print on metal. 12×12″. SOLD.  Private Collection.

 

The Ball Went Over the Fence 5, Lianne Todd. Original Fractal Digital Art, single edition print on metal, 8x8". $110.00

The Ball Went Over the Fence 5, Lianne Todd. Original Fractal Digital Art, single edition print on metal, 8×8″. SOLD.  Private Collection.

And now, as promised, the key to where the zooms took place – a map through the series:

Zoom Key, The Ball Went Over the Fence series

Zoom Key, The Ball Went Over the Fence series