Saturday Special- Math + Art

Say the word “Algebra” to me and I dissolve into a mess of anxiety and fear.  I hate math.  We just don’t see eye to eye.  I mean I just don’t understand why it has to be so literal.

which brings me to a set of drawings I’ve been working on for a client

gothic windows are much harder to draw than you might think–and its because of my old nemesis….math.  This time specifically its geometry.

my inspiration~ no, not intimidating at all….

my research~  go on and google gothic windows–you could get lost reading about those!

I mean I am so bad at pesky notions  like “measurements” and “division” that when I need to find the middle–I just take the piece of paper and fold it in half.  My ability to understand volume is limited. (you know when you need to decide how big of a container to use for the leftovers?  Basic, practical everyday math. I have a hard time deciding which one will work-too big? too small? just right? Maybe curly locks and I are related?)

When people tell me they are not good artists because they “can’t even draw a straight line”–well I can’t either! When I looked up Crockett Johnson (illustrator of The Carrot Seed and Harold and the Purple Crayon) for this post last week I found out that he was a  great artist AND mathematician. They do exist, actually-great mathematicians and artists. There are many. (Clearly I will never be one-but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it.)

I was entranced by his Johnson’s mathematical paintings.  This man could draw straight lines. And perfectly aligned straight lines, and perfect circles too…..

This one was is called “Geometry of a Triple Bubble” 1966–based on experiments by Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau.

the inspiration for his piece–“Soap-bubble” by James R Newman from The World of Mathematics.

this one is called “Harmonic Series from a Quadrilateral (Pappus)” 1966

his possible inspiration -also from The World of Mathematics

These paintings are so incredibly modern.  The colors and forms timeless.  I guess math isn’t really going anywhere.  We should probably make peace so I can finish those gothic windows.

Wanna read more about Johnson and his Mathematical Paintings?  Head on over to the National Museum of American History.  I looked through the shop for prints and couldn’t find any, but would they make beautiful framed prints? And wouldn’t it have been nice to post this on PI day?  next year….

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