Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Randomized Mandala

For a number of years I’ve been using mandala-making in my workshops as a method for quickly creating large-scale artwork.

Mandalas have a number of features which make them ideal for this use. For starters, you can take practically any element, like a line or dots or spirals or whatever, and as long as it is repeated with regularity around a central point, it will look intentional. Keep adding elements and building outwards and voila! This is helpful when I’m working with art novices for whom coming up with a compelling completed artwork from scratch could be a daunting task. It allows me to work with any number of people and have each person’s creation be unique. Collaboration between multiple participants can easily be incorporated with each person taking turns adding new elements.

The first thing that is needed is a framework. For a mandala the framework can be a series of circles and a few spokes. The number of each is not so important. The framework will not be visible in the final creation (unless desired)- rather it serves as a guide to staying even in placing and sizing new elements.

So we might start with a framework like this. Then, for any element that is added, decide where it is going, how large it will be, and then repeat the positioning for as many times as the circle has been divided by spokes. Keep adding new elements in a similar manner.

Sometimes deciding what to add next can be a stumbling block, especially during a workshop when there isn’t much time for designing. A new twist I have added is using a dice guide:
So, by rolling the dice (or going to this site which will give randomized numbers), whatever the dice comes up with your job then is to incorporate the new element. There are no rules for how the element is added- as many or as few as desired, inverted or sideways, large or small, filled in or left open. The great part about this system is that even though it is prescriptive in telling you what to do, it leaves open tremendous room for creativity. 

The guide can be any elements you decide, and there can be as many as desired (using the randomizing link for numbers not found on dice)

Here’s a go I had at using this system using a slightly more complex framework:

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Substructures IV

A recent artwork created for The Guardian UK. It is a variation of a line of inquiry that involves layering textures. I like this one :-) Many more variations to play with!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Beets!

Just harvested my Gaurdsmark Chioggia Beets and prepping them for my next round of ‘kraut. What a lovely pattern within.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Glyphs IV

A new ‘twist’ on the Glyphs series :-) A practice run for a future piece.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Problem with Goals and Purpose

This is a bit off-topic, but my interests and thoughts range widely and I’m getting back into speaking my mind, so here goes…

I recently came across a motivational speaker, someone famous for their accomplishments. He spoke about the unorganized expenditure of energy for people not connected to a goal and then stressed the importance of having a goal and then driving towards that with everything you’ve got.

I feel differently about all this. I don’t have an issue with having a goal or striving towards something. What I see is that, generally speaking, the goal itself is not the end. Once that goal is attained, then what? A new goal perhaps. Okay, fair enough.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Professional Development with Mountain View Schools

This past month I was invited to share perspectives and techniques in my style of art to 5 and under instructors from Mountain View Schools. During my site visit I was inspired with the layout of the school- numerous zones with different features- trees and grass and sand amidst the concrete jungle of Mountain View. I began visualizing my session.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Offset Dislocation

This concept comes from the book The Self-Made Tapestry by Philip Ball, which I speak about in this post.

Offset Disclocation as a concept arose in the section of the book that looks at how markings occur in on biological bodies. This includes phenomenon such as zebra stripes, fish banding, and butterfly wings. Each organism has its own approach to this and so Philip goes through many potential routes. The implications of the principles he engages take him all the way to pondering how a fetus knows where to place its head and fingers (more on that in a post dedicated to ‘Diffusion Fields’). Very cool.

An Offset Dislocation is like a tectonic fault line. A road is going along and then suddenly, after an earthquake, there is a split that cuts across the land and the road is now a shifted few feet to the side. In this concept, the entire field suddenly shift along a a specific (or sometimes gradual) fracture line.

This artwork of mine is almost, but not quite this idea:

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