Special Interests

 

 Like most people, I have several special interests that impact my mind and sometimes my art.  These include:  Chaos Theory, Golf, Runes, Creative Writing, and Christianity, but there are others.  I regularly read, contemplate, and sometimes practice various topics of special interest to me. 

CHAOS THEORY

This introduction to Chaos Theory is taken in part from Greg Rae’s Home Page: http://www.imho.com/grae/chaos/chaos.html

chaos theory" comes from the fact that systems described by the theory are apparently disordered. But chaos theory is really about finding the underlying order in apparently random data. The first experimenter in chaos was Edward Lorenz. In 1960 he had a computer set up with equations to model what the weather might be.

One day in 1961 when he wanted to see a particular sequence again he started in the middle of the sequence instead of the beginning. He used the number off his printout and left to let the computer run. When he returned, the sequence had evolved differently. Instead of the pattern as before, it diverged, ending up wildly different from the original. Eventually he figured out what happened. The computer stored the numbers to six decimal places in its memory. To save paper, he only had it print out three decimal places. In the original sequence, the number was .506127, and he had only typed the first three digits, .506. By all conventional ideas of the time, it should have worked. He should have gotten a sequence very close to the original sequence. A scientist considers it lucky if measurements have accuracy to three decimal places. Surely the fourth and fifth, impossible to measure using reasonable methods, can't have a huge effect on the outcome of the experiment. Lorenz proved this idea wrong. The flapping of a single butterfly's wing today produces a tiny change in the state of the atmosphere. Over a period of time, what the atmosphere actually does diverges from what it would have done. So, in a month's time, a tornado that would have devastated the Indonesian coast doesn't happen. Or maybe one that wasn't going to happen, does. (Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos, pg. 141)

One mathematician, Helge von Koch, captured this idea in a mathematical construction called the Koch curve. To create a Koch curve, imagine an equilateral triangle. To the middle third of each side, add another equilateral triangle. Keep on adding new triangles to the middle part of each side, and the result is a Koch curve. A magnification of the Koch curve looks exactly the same as the original. It is another self-similar figure.

Many scientists were exploring equations that created fractal equations. The most famous fractal image is also one of the most simple. It is known as the Mandelbrot set. The equation is simple: z=z2+c. Fractal structures have been noticed in many real-world areas, as well as in mathematician's minds. Blood vessels branching out further and further, the branches of a tree, the internal structure of the lungs, graphs of stock market data, and many other real-world systems all have something in common: they are all self-similar.      

                                             

Mandelbrot Set Image

Computer art has become more realistic through the use of chaos and fractals. Now, with a simple formula, a computer can create a beautiful, and realistic tree. Instead of following a regular pattern, the bark of a tree can be created according to a formula that almost, but not quite, repeats itself.

Music can be created using fractals as well. Using the Lorenz attractor, Diana S. Dabby, a graduate student in electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has created variations of musical themes. ("Bach to Chaos: Chaotic Variations on a Classical Theme", Science News, Dec. 24, 1994 ) By associating the musical notes of a piece of music like Bach's Prelude in C with the x coordinates of the Lorenz attractor, and running a computer program, she has created variations of the theme of the song. Most musicians who hear the new sounds believe that the variations are very musical and creative.

 

Golf

      

I’ve been playing golf since about age 12.  As Mike Linder states in his book “Golf and the Spiritual Life, there just is no other game like it.   Only in golf are the players expected to keep the rules on themselves.  Of course, some pay less attention to rules than others, but by and large the scorekeeping and assessing of penalties are done by each player.  It occurs to me that Golf is very much like life.   People set specific goals to reach and follow certain rules in getting there.  Honesty is a strong value in life and in Golf.  In football, no player ever tells the official that “No, I didn’t catch the ball – I trapped it against the ground”, to the contrary football players claim catches and look for advantages regardless of the rules.  But if a golfer inadvertently moves the ball before hitting, the player will call the penalty even if no one is watching.  In Golf, I’m always just competing against myself and the golf course.  It is the only game I can think of where an opponent will cheer when you make a good play.

 

Birds and Enviroment

 

 

I’ve always been interested in birds and their place in our environment. My home has a waterway behind it and my yard is frequented by White Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Little Green Herons, and a whole assortment of the usual backyard birds at various times of the year such as Cardinals, Crows, Hawks, Sparrows, Warblers, Bluebirds, and Painted Bunting. I began to include these beautiful creatures in my otherwise abstract paintings. I've had a great deal of fun working to resolve this real and abstract contradiction.

 

Runes

        . My watercolor and acrylic painting sometimes explores repetitive patterns and relationships between colors and shapes and their connection to the natural world.  On a trip to Great Britain , I saw the use of RUNES in ancient religious structures and burial sites. My paintings that incorporate references to Runes are intended to visually explore and interpret the natural use of Runes in the ancient Celtic cultures in the purer light of contemporary painting.  Ancient uses of the Runes included “scripts” and “poems” of related Runes and I have included a script of secondary Runes associated with the primary Rune in my paintings. I'm also interested in exploring the meanings of petroglyphs and symbols of other ancient cultures.

 

CREATIVE WRITING

 

        The last couple of years I was on the faculty at Jacksonville University, I studied Creative Writing with Robert Stanton.  I found the creative process in this art form very much like painting.  In fact, I simply “saw” a scene visually and then described it in sensory terms.  No doubt there are other methods of approaching writing but this worked for me.

 

CHRISTIANITY

 

        I make no apologies for my religion.  In this age of political correctness people sometimes seem to bend over backwards to keep from offending anyone of any religious group or anti-religious group, except for Christians.  I teach a Sunday School class and have learned a great deal as a result of reading the Holy Bible.  The Book is a documentary of the relationship of an entire people with God and how they were affected by that relationship.  Being the chosen people was not an easy task for Israel and it is not easy for the extension of Judaism into Christianity by Jesus, the Messiah.