Further Fractal Frenzy

OK, you may have noticed I’ve been focused on the fractals lately. This is a hallmark trait of ADD known as “hyperfocus”, in which an individual who usually can’t pay attention the entire way through the sentence “Dave, do you think you could please take the trash out when you get a chance?” can suddenly, miraculously, spent hours or even days completely obsessing on a topic of interest. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize on behalf of all my fellow ADDers to all of our friends, coworkers, and life partners,  for whom this trait invariably produces fits of apoplexy. Sorry guys, we’re really not deliberately ignoring you, it’s just that OMIGOD LOOK WHAT THE IMAGE DOES WHEN I DO THIS TO IT!!!

I’m sorry, where was I?

Oh, yeah, the fractal thing.

While the artwork I am producing may not be “fractal” in the strictest mathematic sense, I am using concepts that I gleaned from my studies on fractal geometry. I am creating complexity from relatively simple images by repeating, scaling, flipping, and rotating them, then producing further complexity by layering them one atop the other, with the layers reacting to the layers beneath them in different ways.

A concept that I did not mention in my earlier posts is that one quality of fractal objects is that they exhibit “self-similarity across scale”. This is a fancy way of saying that if you look at a small portion of a river, say a creek or other tributary, it will have a shape that looks very similar to what you see when you zoom out and look at the river as a whole. If you look at a single branch of a tree, you may see that the way the smallest branches divide looks very similar to the way the main branches divide from the trunk. Repetition and alteration of scale of a simple pattern achieves the same self-similarity in my fractal-inspired pieces.

Here are two pieces I did in the last couple of days, one being a self-contained piece, and the other designed for some iterating into different versions. I tried for something a little more painterly than the strict geometry of the “Kaleidomorph” series.

First, the self-contained piece, “Spiral Intersection”. I started with a drawing of some spiral roll forms, which I colored in. Then I duplicated the image on several layers, which I flipped and/or rotated to change their orientation. Next, I set up the layers to react with the other layers, experimenting with different settings until I found something I liked. Finally, I painted over portions of the image on a final top layer, to isolate the parts I liked and create the impression of a figure on a ground.(you can see it’s got a little of that Cubist flavor that I love so well.)



I created “Echoes 1” using techniques similar to the ones I used making “Spiral Intersection”.

Echoes_1webI then made a merged copy of the final “Echoes 1” image. I rotated, flipped, and scaled it, and set it atop the first image. I played around with different ways of making the two layers interact, and ended up with “Echoes 1A”.

Echoes_1AwebI liked this image for its added complexity, but I wanted to see if I could make a lighter version, with a bit better color range. This is the result, “Echoes 1B”.

Echoes_1BwebAlthough I like the way the results look when I print them out, the colors are not quite as brilliant as they look onscreen – doubtless an issue with color gamut (meaning that I have colors in the file which will show onscreen, but the printer is unable to produce that color on paper). I hope to figure a way around that; it will probably involve having to work in something like Photoshop, as Procreate (the iPad program I made these pieces with) does not give one much control over the color space. That is NOT a knock on Procreate…I paid less than $10 U.S. for it, vs the $120 a year that I pay for the privilege of access to Photoshop, and it is far and away my favorite art-making app on the iPad, as you can see by the number of pieces I have created with it that are featured on this blog. Shout out to the Tasmanian devils at Savage for their excellent product! Learn more about it here:


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