Patterns of Patterns in Nature

On my route to work I often pass through St. Andrew’s square, which I consider to be a little oasis in the midst of Edinburgh’s concrete city center. You can’t miss the Melville Monument, because its a towering pillar smack dab in the middle of the square but this month the main focus no longer involves craning your neck upwards so much. The Edinburgh Science Festival brings to all curious pedestrians an outdoors exhibition, Patterns in Nature, by concentrically displaying high definition images around the base of the monument.

St. Andrew's square Monument (2013)

The Melville Monument, Edinburgh (2013)

Personally I find displaying patterns in a pattern is quite a clever curatorial twist. Each double-sided canvas has a descriptive passage under its main image explaining how the pattern occurs and what the pattern would look like in a geometrical sense if disassociated with its context. Through comparing patterns designed by man with biologically-formed ones, the exhibition reiterates a fine line between the realms of art and science.

Patterns in Nature Exhibition

Patterns in Nature Exhibition (Feb.2013)

On the 2nd of February, I found myself straying off the footpath towards a close up of a Map Puffer fish. Having seen these in Indonesia, a strange wave of familiarity washed over me. The security of knowing that this  image wouldn’t instinctively swim  and having only seen specimen about the size of a clenched fist, I was drawn into the depths of it’s shiny eye like a magnet…

The Map Puffer Fish, Patterns in Nature (2013)

The Map Puffer Fish, Patterns in Nature (2013)

And influenced to draw that very same afternoon, however, I struggled to make it *pop* the way the photo does.

Sketch of the Map Puffer Fish Eye (2.Feb.2013)

Map Puffer Fish Painted (2.Feb.2013)

My painting in progress (5.Feb.2013)

Its missing some shadows and shading but I’m waiting for the light of sunny day… that doesn’t come around too often in Edinburgh.

Overall, I’m quite content with my interpretation since I’m not much of a realist, nor do I try to paint exact copies of what I see; my perception has always been on the 2D-side as I’m more of an illustrator than a painter. As a long-term pattern enthusiast however, I do however think my watercolour version of Mr. Puffer’s “Turing” stripes is commendable. In high-school, my final year portfolio involved hand-drawing cultural patterns of the world using different media, and Patterns in Nature brings back memories of painstakingly tracing florets off batik at 2 a.m. to meet a proposal deadline. One little visual blast from the past below to finish today’s post; here’s evidence that ‘attention to detail’ is one my best and worst qualities!

LPC ART: The Asian Tree (2007)

LPC ART: The Asian Tree (2007)

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