Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Geometrography, a craft you cannot say ten times fast

my original painting didn't have the mathy part in it. But maybe I should add it in. People really like math here in Silicon Valley.
I had a painting kick the last few days. Maybe because I've been doing so much digital art, when I was inspired to paint with oils on Sunday, I've had dreams about painting; I wake up at like 4:30 in the morning thinking about it. Something about oil paint: it flows, it breathes, it's sharp and it's smooth. To me it's like the blue cheese of painting. Except it doesn't make you fat. It does kinda smell, though.

And I had this square canvas-I had the hardest time composing. First off, it's square so I can't rely on my typical long dimensions I'm used to composing. Also, I wanted to make more decoration-style pieces to add to my portfolio under a "gallery" or "for sale" tab (something to hang in a coffee shop somewhere, youknow?) and it came to me as I was brainstorming that I was at a loss as to what people actually want in their house. So I thought looking at my demographic, either dogs, landscapes, or patterns.

At first I thought I'd stick a bull dog in the middle part, as if it was a framed portrait, but when I started to draw the pattern, I realized how much I love building patterns.  This was such a large painting, I couldn't just print it off and trace it from the computer, instead I opened a pattern book on building classic Arabic patterns and traced it out with a compass and a t-square (and a 30-60 45-45 triangle when I felt like cheating).

It's stuff I haven't done since geometry class in High school (the clinical term for it is geometrography), and this is kinda weird so brace yourself, but I used to be a math person (at least in world standards, not Saratoga standards), up until I decided to focus on art and now I can't do simple addition anymore, but I loved making geometrography stuff then, and I still love it now. It's embracing a craft that artists used for hundreds of years before tracing prints from the computer.

Not only that, but I think my end result was a lot more precise. Maybe it took a little longer, but once I had the pattern down, it helped me understand it a little more. It had it's own little character. I didn't need to put a dog in it or a bird on it to give it a center of focus. The pattern was the center of focus already

Also, I finally know what to put inside stubborn square canvases.

Anyways, I highly recommend pulling out a compass and embracing your math side.  Here's some links to some fun patterns.


  1. the painting looks great...but math makes my head hurt. lol

    1. Haha, thanks! Luckily it only involves shapes and no real counting.

  2. Oh, math isn't my strong side but I love looking at geometrical images, hoping that one day I might do that too!

    1. You should definitely try it, it's very fun to see the bones behind a pattern.