My wife and I are driving down south tomorrow to seek spring. Should be gone about a week, so likely no posts for a while.
I’ve been exploring the new technique of simulating folds in the image by lightening and darkening alternate panels. It seems to work best on images that appear to be two-dimensional. In images with depth it can be jarring. This image uses the technique very subtly to add complexity to the lighting without having obvious creases, which would clash with the content.
The underlying pattern is the same as the 2005byarda pattern in an earlier post. First let’s look very close to see the smallest details you would be able to see in a large print. Notice the sort of rippling ridge effect.
Backing out a little, we can see some larger features. The metal of the bridge in afternoon sun creates the luminous quality of these stars.
In an earlier post, Meg commented, “Also, you might experiment with the ground, and figure-ground relationships. These images are almost iconographic, like altar images of saints and angels. They exists in their own world, and not of ours. How can you ground them to ours?”
Here’s one attempt to do this, by darkening alternate panels to simulate folding.
Today I’d like to show you the underlying structure of a pattern. The one I’ve chosen is made from a photograph of wet leaves and pine needles, taken in my back yard in 2005 as the title (vaguely) suggests. You can click through to my Imagekind gallery for magnified views.
You can see a 12-sided figure in the center and a different 12-sided figure repeated in the center of each quadrant. Each of them is surrounded by 5-sided figures. Filling the gaps are two different 8-sided figures.
Each piece of the pattern is cut from the photograph. Since each piece is next to a reflection of itself the color and texture is continuous, so it may be difficult to see where the cuts are. Here is a diagram of them, in red.
Here is another view of the underlying design. In this one the reflected pieces are in black and the unreflected are white (or vice versa).
Without further comment, here are some enlarged details of the design:
I’m always pleased if you comment, of course!
This is an exciting day. I’ve been thinking through different challenges to making really interesting, colorful, sellable images using these reflection techniques. It’s hard to find photo opportunities with the kind of lines, curves, connections and colors that work well, especially in New England during March. Mud anyone?
It’s a problem using someone else’s photographs. Few of them have the right kind of imagery, for one thing, and sharing ownership with the original photographer is thorny.
Making borders that seem right is usually a problem, too, as when you cut off one thing at a convenient place, it usually cuts something else at an incovenient place.
But I woke up this morning with lots of ideas, and the best idea was to remember the stamp collection I inherited from my mother. I collected stamps briefly as a child, then put them away and never looked back. My mother evidently kept my collection and added to it. We lived in Naples, Italy at the time, my mother was a very good correspondent with friends all over the world, and she was neatly organized, so she’d snip off stamps and put them in envelopes. I didn’t know what had happened to the collection, but apparently it grew and grew. I suspect that over the years friends who collected stamps would die and their spouses would give them to Mom, knowing she had a collection. I infer this from the very different degrees of organization and knowledge shown in different parts of the collection.
When she died in 2006, we had no remaining collectors in the family, and it came back to me, only to sit in a box in the basement.
But stamps are the perfect solution to my needs! They are colorful, have fascinating geometry, are easy to arrange and photograph, present no copyright problems, and have a large body of people who are interested in them. And they already have nifty borders! Here’s a first effort:
This pattern, viewed from a distance, makes me think of fireworks.
Barberry is one of my favorite subjects, because when it begins to change color in the fall there can be many different colors on the same bush. This one is particularly colorful because the sun is coming through the leaves. The curves, crisp edges and distinct central fold on the leaves give me a lot to work with geometrically.
This pattern has a region of 16 sides and several 12 and 8 sided regions, with transitional regions in between. It is identical in underlying structure to the bankhosta pattern discussed earlier, though much more colorful. (Click on the following thumbnails for larger version.)
Up close the leaf shapes and delicate colors stand out.
[Update] This work made it to the front page of RedBubble. I’ve really enjoyed the comments and attention from RedBubblers. They’ve encouraged me to find a way to print this on fabric. Anyone know a practical way to do that?
[Update] I’ve since printed this on fabric at Spoonflower.com. It has a smaller color range on fabric, but it’s very pretty.
I’m trying an experiment that is completely different visually, though it uses the tools I’ve already developed. This pattern has no evident repetition — it’s sort of a big swirl, but the individual pieces are still reflections of adjacent pieces. Here the template is applied to a familiar photo of a barberry bush, and a photo of creepers hanging from branches, silhouetted by a dawn sky.
If you would share your reactions to these, I’d be interested in hearing them.
[appended this image in illustration of a comment below]
The feedback I received on my contest entry candidates was tremendously useful. This is different from the responses I get at craft fairs, where people are often a bit anxious that expressing interest is going to lead to pressure on them to buy. It’s different from what I hear at art show openings, where the social atmosphere is so strong. It’s different from what I hear from my family, who have been surrounded by these things for years. This was thoughtful, reflective, personal, and I appreciate it very much.
What I’m hearing is that the people who enjoy the “window into a continuous pattern,” that I like so much, are a minority. Most people prefer a structure that is bounded within the frame, or at least has a strong relationship to the frame.
Many people enjoy juicier designs, with more colors, and interesting organic things happening in a size large enough to be seen while taking in the whole pattern. There are some whose primary enjoyment comes from the drier aspect of geometric interaction, but they are fewer. And they mostly emailed rather than posted, interestingly enough.
I’ve been working this snowy morning to develop a style of pattern that may be able to give pleasure to all these types of viewers. It is bounded within the frame, with a shape that readily allows one to project meaning (that is, you can easily imagine I actually mean something by it!). It has interesting geometric interaction at an easily visible level, but it also has room for a large section of the photograph, repeated only a few times, so that the organic details are easily visible. Color depends on the photograph, and it’s minimal in this first test design, but I thought you might enjoy seeing the first one.
Here’s number 2, with more color. Just beginning to explore how to get the most out of this template.
This is more intense. Good stuff in the wheel parts, could use more interest in the center, I think.