Spot the Pattern

You probably played this game as a child. Lying down on your back, you looked up at the clouds and tried to see shapes and patterns in the random fluffiness. I remember those games as magical experiences.

During the twentieth century, mathematicians began to grapple with uncertainty, noise and randomness. The mathematics of chaos and the geometry of fractals revealed that even the simplest and seemingly most mechanistic systems can exhibit chaos. It just emerges. More surprising still is that pattern is an emergent property of the universe. The more things turn chaotic, the more they tend toward some kind of discernible regularity (to paraphrase and over simplify). The universe, it appears, makes its own order out of chaos at a very fundamental level.

Interestingly, it also appears that humans are co-adapted to look for, see and discover patterns in nature. Patterns emerge and we can notice and understand them. What has that got to do with art?

Recently I have been experimenting with palette knives and something interesting happened. I found that when I tried very hard to represent exactly what I was seeing, I always felt that my painting was unrealistic, whereas when I merely suggested a shape or a feature, it looked MORE realistic. My brain was filling in the missing detail for me. Other people looking at my work also noticed the same thing.

So, by merely hinting at a feature, using a judicious dollop of paint, a shadow, a line, a curve or a blob of the right shape, you can create evocative images, by letting the eye, brain and mind of the observer spot the pattern. I recommend it.

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About tropicaltheartist

You can find out more about me here: There aren’t many people that exist in that conjunction of art, design, science and engineering, but this is where I live. I am an artist, a musician, a designer, a creator, a scientist, a technologist, an innovator and an engineer and I have a genuine, deep passion for each field. Most importantly, I am able to see the connections and similarities between each field of intellectual endeavour and apply the lessons I learn in one discipline to my other disciplines. To me, they are all part of the same continuum of creativity. I write about what I know, through my blogs, in the hope that something I write will resonate with a reader and help them enjoy their own creative life more fully. I am, in summary, a highly creative individual, but with the ability to get things done efficiently. Not all of these skills are valued by the world at large, but I am who I am and this is me. The opinions stated here are my own and not necessarily the opinion or position of my employer.
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1 Response to Spot the Pattern

  1. Well I don’t normally comment on blogs but I happened upon yours whilst I was doing a bit of job researching in Bing today therefore i thought I might shoot a quick comment. I’ve clearly put in a little bit of time here reading through and procrastinating! Keep up the excellent writing and i’m already looking towards reading future blog articles. Enjoy the week!

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