Monday…with a different maths and Pecha Kucha reflections

May 18, 2015

Filed Under : Art - My Home

Image 1 ( a )Last week I did my first ever Pecha Kucha talk as part of an event curated by Viva Brighton magazine and artist and illustrator Zara Wood aka: Woody.

It was a fantastic evening with 10 amazing talks from local creatives…mine was perhaps a bit abstract but I really enjoyed it once I got over the nerves and think it’s a brilliant way to learn about people and their work.

So, basically, here’s what my Pecha Kucha was…

I was never very good at maths…
There was huge pressure to sort it out as firstly I knew how important it apparently was in life and secondly because my Dad was brilliant at it ( he’d once got 100% in a maths exam ).
It was a language I was just going to have to learn whatever the cost, which was usually my Dad shouting that it didn’t matter that 4 was brown…Photo 22-04-2015 14 30 00However, maths, music and words tend to be in black and white.
Words I could get my head round: they have infinite patterns and combinations which create visuals when understood.
Music and maths are stricter; there always has to be a correct answer.
If maths and music had looked more like shade cards or Pantone books, I would have been much happier…and maybe even academic!Image 3 ( a )I was always pre-occupied with colour.
It created order and simple, uncluttered understanding for me.
My favorite book was my hymn book, where amongst the ‘puffys’, ‘scratch and sniffs’ and ‘shinys’ I colour coded my collection…reds, pinks, yellows and greens all took their places on the edges of ‘Songs of Praise’…IMG_8816Another tricky thing to deal with when you’re obsessed by colour in the 1970’s is home decor…
Here at home my brother and I sit amidst brown: curtains, carpet, chairs, clothes and even cat…although the Siamese cat has colours which perfectly blend and they’ve been a constant in my life ever since…
IMG_0418
It was a revelation to me at 11, to realise that you could actually choose how to make your bedroom look. I’d visited a friend who had a very ordered room, and also a bubblegum machine by her bed!
It was a turning point, and ever since I have been arranging my living spaces not only in colours but in detailed combinations which don’t mean anything but which just feel right…Photo 23-04-2015 05 49 35But back to the maths…
In the early days of my arithmetic, it had seemed exciting and full of possibility…
Yes, there were black printed numbers and symbols on a white background sometimes, but I could ignore all that as there was also loads of colour and plenty of objects to add up and re-arrange.
The book was right…this was addition made easy and written in my language…Photo 23-04-2015 05 46 05Collecting things has always been part of my life; leaves, shells, twigs…and more recently old pencils and rulers.
Finding the right combinations and patterns for them is very satisfying.
These leaves add up to something but the ivy beneath is an addition, so for me, this is an equation that makes you feel something rather than equalling anything.Photo 22-04-2015 14 44 59This maths book was the link to order and combination…
There were butterflies to look at and be counted…
The ‘ 2 add 1 ‘ section was particularly good…it had the right colour for the number 2 and the Orange Tip was just the right butterfly for ‘ 2 ‘ as well.
The addition itself became irrelevent and insignificant which could be where my difficulty with maths started…

Image 10Here I’ve added together a few marroon butterfly-like leaves, divided them by red and green and then multiplyed them with violet ( to the power of yellow )
This equation needed the tiny bit of yellow within the combination which for me is the power of this composition. The number of leaves is important but it is not neccesary to count them…Photo 22-04-2015 14 41 29By the time the book gets to flowers it’s also snuck in an ‘equals’ symbol, rather than the word ‘make’…
It’s becoming less of a story and having less relevance for me…
I barely look at the left hand side of the book and am fascinated by the different flower species; the daffodils match the yellow but do not match ‘4’ or ‘1’ and ‘3’ is certainly not pink…IMG_4969I enjoy the mathmatics of angles too, so taking the flowers here ( it’s not important to count them ) and combining them with angles above and below, multiplying their colours by angles red, yellow and green and putting them together with an aqua 360, becomes an equation which is almost like a piece of music…Photo 22-04-2015 14 35 54When the book moves on to fruit addition, the arithmetic symbols become simpler yet the objects more numerous.
By this point I have also moved on to a more detailed colour study of fruit which have infinitely more aesthetic possibilities…although ‘ 0 + 5’ can’t possibly be orange…it is silvery white add green…

image 14If I’m going to be simple about things, ‘ 2 ‘ is orangey yellow. But it isn’t that simple because it’s colour can change depending on the componants of the combinations it’s put in.
Here is a complex study of ‘ 42 ‘ with a base of ‘ 4 ‘ ( 4 being brown ), divided by shades of ‘ 2 ‘ and many angles and degrees of orange, with a ‘ 6 ‘ tone added for context…Photo 22-04-2015 14 32 13This page shows where maths got difficult, and possibly even where I opted out…
Eggs, sure: a great object, but for what was starting to develop in addition, eggs alone are just boring…
I wanted to add yellow eggs ( yellow is ‘ 7’ ) to brown eggs, feathers, butterflys and whatever else I could see around me in my small idyllic village school…Image 16 Having spent my teens and adult life resigned to the fact that I was bad at maths, I’ve more recently discovered my love for complex combinations:
A different maths without symbols which uses intuition and aesthetics without needing an equals…this is a sort of study of ‘ 24 ‘ divided by fruit and flowers and multiplied by eggs…
IMG_9978This addition is a bit like on the eggs page where the grouped objects started to just look like patterns.
But here each cup has a different size, volume and colour and each one could have milk or tea added at any moment and all this is then put to the power of pink. The combination has no real number associations, it’s just an addition which I find pleasing to look at.image 17This is a study of ‘ 6 ‘ or maybe ‘ 36 ‘ or maybe ‘ 63 ‘…it’s hard to tell, as ‘ 6 ‘ and ‘ 3 ‘ are both blue but different types of blue; ‘ 6 ‘ is definately a bluer blue than ‘ 3 ‘ which is a greenier blue, and in this composition it’s all divided by red…
In the end the numbers don’t matter, it’s the non-specific associations to the colours and objects that does. IMG_9834And this is colour algebra…
Algebra seems a complete nonsense..it starts and ends with nothing; just symbols taken from a dictionary.
We may as well say:
‘ red + flowers = shrivelled ilex berries x slightly past it petals ‘
Algebra is undecipherable unless you know the context…the context for my equation here is colour shape and things and the answers can change…Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset…and sometimes I also like to show my ‘working out’…
The Table has almost become my exercise book; it’s certainly a type of canvas where I can study the elements of arithmetic which interest me, but which no teacher at school, or my Dad were interested in…
After all maths is logical and I appear not to be…
However I did manage to scrape a ‘ C ‘ at GCSE which I’m very proud of!

( You can also see a version of this on my Steller Stories account today too )

5 thoughts on “Monday…with a different maths and Pecha Kucha reflections

  1. ann Clawson

    that post was absolutely beautiful. lol I bet you drove your poor dad crazy. my niece sees things in colors like you do, I now wish I did.

    1. 5ftinf Post author

      I think I did!..he was really logical and not interested in aesthetics at all…a constant battle, although I wish he was still here for me to have shown him how I’ve found a different way!

    1. 5ftinf Post author

      Thank you! I so wish I had found ( or even been allowed ) a magical way with maths when I was at school 🙂

  2. dawn

    oh my goodness … you have no idea how much i enjoyed reading this and how much i can relate … i was bad at math, reading and spelling; but colors, design and visuals i love … thanks so much for sharing this perspective … it was wonderful!!

Comments are closed.