Texture is a feeling. Texture is an appearance. Texture is a consistency. Texture implies depth. Texture can be used to describe the look, sound, taste, or feeling of an object. Texture makes things interesting and delights the senses with contrast. There are so many competing textures in the world around us that sometimes they get lost in the sensory overload that is the modern experience, with all its immediacy and umbilical attachments to technology .
But one thing about texture is that it denotes a depth of experience that is best experienced in person, in three dimensions, and for that reason texture is difficult to convey on the flat surface of a video screen. But that will never stop us from trying.
“Nature abhors a straight line.” – William Kent (via)
While nature provides many shapes that are pleasing to the eye, such as the parabola, the spiral, and the ellipse, the straight line is far less common in the natural world. It is human’s folly to try to impose such rigid regularity onto our constructs and architecture.
The zig zag is also a pattern that is seen regularly in nature, and sometimes it seems like an attempt at at straight line before the invisible artist that shapes the universe changes it’s mind.
Euphorbia ‘Zig Zag’
Crassula ‘Red Pagoda’
Crassula ‘Tom Thumb’
Euphorbia rigida zigs
Posted for the DP Weekly Photo Challenge – Zig Zag
I guess I need to be more specific when I tell my students “Just stack the bricks over there.”
This photo pretty much sums up everything that is great and frustrating about teaching middle schoolers. They need help following directions, keeping their hands off each other and out of each other’s backpacks, and seemingly just about every other social skill associated with civilized societies. But they can also surprise you with some unexpected moments. The four boys in this photo all acted so cool and unaffected most of the time, like doing anything that required even a dollop of effort wasn’t worth the calories required. But when they were stacking these bricks they were so proud, and they seemed like preschoolers playing with building blocks. Unfortunately their structure did not pass the strict seismic building code in California and had to be scrapped and relocated to the place where they were supposed to stack them in the first place. It was one of those moments that made me laugh while I was pulling my hair out.
There are lots of cool things about nature geometry, but one of my favorite patterns is the spiral. The Golden Ratio and Fibonacci sequence have been used to try to describe this natural pattern that most people consider very pleasing to the eye. The Golden ratio is represented by the symbol Phi (φ), which is roughly equal to 1.618033988… Phi is considered an irrational number because it cannot be expressed as a simple fraction, and its precise calculation requires an infinite number of decimal places and has no repeating pattern of numbers. Irrational numbers are not unusual in nature math. Phi’s better known cousin Pi (π = 3.14159…) is also irrational, and is used to calculate the various intricacies of arches and perfect circles. The natural logarithm is another irrational number used to explain many natural phenomena — e = 2.71828182845904523536028747135266249775724709369995… I don’t know enough about mathematics to try to explain how these numbers are calculated. I just know that I’ve always found them confusing whenever I tried to wrap my brain around them in math class.
These irrational numbers are responsible for explaining the shapes and patterns taken by the natural world around us. I find it completely appropriate that those things we find most pleasing to the eye seem to defy a neat mathematical explanation. If all the patterns found in nature can only be explained through the use of irrational numbers, it leaves me wondering. Is it the world around us that is naturally irrational, or Homo sapiens quest to define every little phenomenon with a neat mathematical equation?
Some things may beyond the realm of the rational brain. Some things are just irrational. Some things we should just take a step back from and appreciate without trying to explain.
did it really look like this
Spirals are twists of nature. Photos of plants twisting.
What is art anyway? It takes so many different forms. By taking a photo of someone’s art are we stealing it somehow? Are we documenting or plagiarizing? A photograph can be art by itself, but can a photograph of art be art? Nature may be the greatest artist of all, but can nature be art? Does the artist make the art or does the art make the artist?
Art should be beautiful, moving, an extension of the artist’s vision. But much like beauty, it would seem art is in the eye of the beholder.