Art 1 – Due Monday 1/7/13


Watch the following video – do not rush this – allow your sense of wonder some space and time to take a journey through the phenomenon.

During the winter break, start to notice flow phenomenon in your everyday world.  List five things in your experience that captured your attention (they may not be as dramatic as those pictured.) They can include all physical phenomenon that demonstrated “flow.”

Comment on the one which you found most engaging on a visual and scientific level and explain why.

In your sketchbook, do an hour drawing (mark the time on the back) that is inspired by the patterns in the video and in your experience. Try to make a balanced, abstract composition and use color and shading. It may be smaller, depending on detail and media.


33 responses »

  1. 1) Raindrops on a window.
    2) Cheese melting over bread.
    3) Egg yolks in milk and flour.
    4) Oil on top of water.
    5) Smoke from a hot pan.

    I found that raindrops on a window engaged me most. It was interesting to see the hydrophobic glass repel the water droplets and cause them to bunch together because of their polarity. This engaged me visually because I like the uniform circular droplets. Scientifically it is interesting because it leads me to wonder if one could make a water magnet. If one had a very positively charged object, one could suspend water in mid-air in perfectly round droplets, hypothetically.

    • Great idea – isn’t that how clouds work? I remember when my infant son was watching water droplets; he was so motionless that I thought he had hit his head on something. Then I realized how marvelous the raindrops on the glass are and I became entranced too!

  2. Here are some of the things that I found interesting and that demonstrated “flow”
    1) The grooves left by waves in wet sand.
    2) Flames and their movement in the wind.
    3) Highway traffic.
    4) leaves in a creek.
    5) milk in water.

    Yesterday as I walked along the beach I happened to look down and notice a strange phenomenon. there were small wavey furrows in the sand that had recently been layed bare by the retreating tide. I deduced that these were the high points of waves marked in the sand. This was interesting to me in several different ways. For one, the shape and size of waves long past was recorded in the small rocks and peaces of shell that we call sand. You could say that the final liquid form of the wave had been transmuted into a solid sand form. However what really caught my attention was the information that those furrows must encode. Waves forms are changed by solid objects that get in their way. Also waves that crash here where I am, on the eastern coast of Oahu have traveled all the way across most of the Pacific. Because of this we can state that every wave that crashes here has been changed, if ever so slightly by everything it has touched and therefor when the waves furrow is created it must encode some information about everything that wave has touched. With the right technology we could figure out how many fish there are in any given place, the location of every ice burg in the bearing straight, the propeller design of every boat, who is walking on any beach and so much more, just by looking at waves.

    • I like the poetic-philosophical ideas you bring to the waves patterns. Thinking about the idea of flow in traffic reminds me of the cool effects you get in nighttime photography of traffic. Maybe your idea for technology to figure out all the fish and propeller designs of every boat in the ocean should be ocean powered!

  3. 1. Milk in coffee.
    2. Smoke right when you blow out a flame.
    3. Egg whites and sugar being whisked into meringue.
    4. Water rippling.
    5. The way the air from closing a book quickly blew the flames in the fireplace

    The one that I found the most interesting was the smoke right after I blew out a candle. Not because the smoke was so fascinating (though I do think smoke is beautiful to look at) but because of the discussion I remember it prompted a few years back. Right before I blew out the flame, I had been watching the blue and orange and yellow colors of the flame, and been mesmerized by it. The quickness that the color ended and swirled into the grey colors and clouds of smoke was even more intense. I had asked my grandpa about the reasoning for the colors. That discussion trailed off into questions about all types of things like why we can’t see all colors as humans and questions about the galaxy. It was a nice memory about a discussion where my grandfather had used science to answer my questions I had asked from an artistic perspective, and how the two related.

  4. 1) steam from a kettle
    2) sound vibrations from a guitar
    3) soapy dishwater in a greasy pan
    4) frothy egg whites on top of eggnog
    5) jellyfish at the aquarium

    I was particularly enraptured by the jellyfish at the monterey bay aquarium. In order to propel themselves through water, jellies pulsate rhythmically, which is quite mesmerizing. Visually, jellies are fascinating because some are bioluminescent and give off an eerie glow. I find these to be very flowy creatures.

    • The jelly fish flow is a mesmerizing one – so beautiful in a kind of slow-motion. I remember observing one by the Monterey harbor dock and watching the added element of the tide with the jelly fish movement.

  5. 1. Steam rising from a cup of tea.
    2. Pouring milk into tea
    3. A stream running over rocks
    4. Candle wax melting and dribbling down the candle, then solidifying
    5. A flock of birds wheeling in the sky

    I found watching a flock of birds flying to be most intriguing. They all seem to know which way the flock is turning next, and they all stick together. And if they split up, they come together again beautifully.

  6. 1. Pouring milk into coffee
    2. Dropping a lump of butter into a bowl of flour
    3. Rain falling into a puddle
    4. Food dye in water
    5. Pictures of traffic taken with a long exposure
    I personally like the idea of traffic as an example of flowing because I think it’s very easy to relate to. You don’t generally think of traffic as flowing (I think of it more as stop-and-go) but if you look at pictures of rush hour with a long exposure, they show how traffic flows.

  7. 1. Snow falling
    2.Cupcake batter dripping from the spoon
    3.Raindrops on a car window
    4.Syrup spreading over a waffle
    5.Soccer ball rolling across the ground

    To me syrup spreading over a waffle reminds me of flow becuase you pour one drop of syrup and then is just flow over the waffle. The syrup won’t just clump into a ball. It will go over the waffle. Most times it will go off the waffle and then flow onto the plate. Which is even more flow because the syrup will keep spreading over the plate.

  8. 1) half and half swirling through Green Tea
    2)steam swirling over the top of a cup
    3)oil on wax paper
    4)food coloring in half and half
    5) oil floating above half and half

    To me, the most intriguing of these phenomenons was the oil floating above the half and half. I pored half and half into a jar and pored olive oil over it. The oil, as I expected sat on top of the half and half. Where I pored the oil, a bubble of cream formed. This bubble wasn’t filled with air. It was actually just cream separated form the rest by a moat of oil, as if it was a castle .

    • There’s a lot of flow in cooking, isn’t there? The aesthetics of cooking involve all our senses but for me the two tops are sight and smell – even taste comes in third! The worst is when your ingredients don’t flow like in lumpy gravey or milk in lemon tea.

  9. 1. waves
    2. colored flames
    3. breath in cold air
    4. food coloring in water
    5. boiling water

    For me, waves are the most intriguing because of how forceful they can be without any human effort and I think they are visually appealing because of the way that they curl and crash and create foam. And they are never still.

  10. 1. For Christmas my family got a new milk frothing machine that is completely and totally awesome (but that is beside the point). Anyway, the way it works is it spins the milk around and around so quickly that the kinetic energy heats it up—and even froths it! It’s amazing! It creates this little anti-tornado effect where there is a big hole in the middle and the milk is pushed out to the sides.
    2. For the break I went to New York, and it snowed there! I’m in love with snow, so I actually just sat for a while and stared out at the window watching it. The way the air currents made the snowflakes rise and fall before they went to the ground was so soft and beautiful. (I really, really love snow, in case I didn’t get that across).
    3. Another thing I did was heat up some milk (in my amazing milk-frother, of course) and put melted chocolate into it. That was really fun to do because at first the chocolate stayed on the top due to surface tension, but eventually it sunk into the milk. Except it didn’t just plunk straight in, it sort of spiraled down to the bottom of the mug.
    4. After that, I wanted to actually mix in the chocolate and not just have it sit down at the bottom of the mug. So I stirred it with a spoon. At first it was all clumped up, but the spoon broke it apart and eventually the amount of milk was so much larger that the size of the little clumps that they just broke up and soon became evenly dispersed throughout the milk. That was interesting to see because, not only was I very excited for my hot chocolate, but the white of the milk slowly got darker and darker as the chocolate spread throughout it more and more equally.
    5. Last but not least, the whipped cream! I felt very, very special because I actually bought heavy whipping cream and whipped it myself! (With an electric whisk, though, so I guess that was kind of cheating.) The heavy whipping cream is a lot thicker than milk, so pouring it was cool to watch because it has a slower, lethargic look to it as it comes out. Then, as I started whipping it, it got more and more fluffed up with air bubbles and eventually became this weird mixture of a solid and a liquid that we call whipped cream! I still have yet to decide which one I think it is.

    So that was my experience of making hot chocolate on a snowy day in New York. Hopefully I described the fluidity of it all correctly! Happy holidays!

    • Wonderfully detailed observations – you did a great job of conveying the phenomenon – with delight! I’m glad you did not whip the cream too long because if you do, it suddenly turns to butter (little tiny slivers that ruin the whipped cream effect!) You may even want to consider someday painting with chocolate – there are some fun youtube videos of it……

  11. 1) Ballerinas’ skirts
    2) The fibers in paper
    3) Weeping Willows
    4) Mist from a nearby fountain
    5) Harps

    I was watching a Marx Brothers movie the other day when I thought of this. With an MGM movie, at that time, there had to be at least one big 10 minute production musical/dance number in every film. (Even if the film was supposed to be funny.) This particular musical number took place at a water carnival and began with a love song and spectacular fountains. When the song ended, the fountains parted and reveled ballet dancer Vivian Fay with about 60 other ballerinas all in sparkly, white, floor length, silk skirts. As they were dancing, their skirts were catching the air and I was reminded of this assignment because the word that came to mind was ‘flowy’.

    • Aren’t those old movie productions amazing feats of organization? Your comments remind me how important the idea of flow is to dance in general but especially when it is being filmed as in those grand old musical productions. Choreography was combined with clever cinematography and strategic editing and I bet many of the same professionals worked on those productions.

  12. I found the oil drops burning on string to be the most incredible photo to me. i thought it was very simple but the smoke made intricate lines and shapes. i also thought it was smart to put more than one drop to show how each drop had a different smoke pattern, all unique. although they were all different each small smoke line was climbing up, which i thought was cool in a kind of symbolic way. over the break i observed many different kinds of smoke just traveling. things like large smoke stacks, cigarets, breath when its cold outside, and i think its interesting how every kind of smoke can have a different texture.

  13. Phenomena in my life.
    1. The wind’s effect on eucalyptus leaves
    2. The way flames burn and blacken paper
    3. Raindrops rolling off a raincoat
    4. The way food cooks
    5. The fizz rising to the top of poured apple cider and receding again.

    Favorite Photos

    1. Fire on boiling water.
    I like this one because of its contrast in fires and darkness, almost as if the practicles are combining in a fragile, difficult to understand way in which we observe two contrasting elements coincide with each other, somewhere in between a battle and a dance.

    2. Soap and Syrup
    Again with the contrast. I like the way that one substance bubbles at the top of another one and the mixtures of blues and greens, perhaps created by light and perhaps created by chemicals. It’s mysterious, which makes it fascinating.

    3. Water Talks
    I like the way that they stand upright for a few seconds, face to face like people conversing, until sinking into the water. The drop of water loses its active feel and becomes temporarily a scene between two people.

    4. Smoke
    The way the smoke swirls and dances out of the smoker’s mouth gives it an etherial sense to it. The smoke spirals in circles until meeting at the center of a whirlpool.

    5. Jake Lievan’s Floating
    This is my favorite. It has beautiful rainbow ripped and the dullness of the rock highlights the bright colors on the reflected water. It feels less like a cultural phenomenon and more like a collection of images brought about by dreams, never truly taking shape but meaning something anyways.

  14. 1) Marshmallow over a fire
    2) Cream on top of thai iced tea
    3) Water on a trampoline
    4) Condensation on a mirror
    5) Eucalyptus oil above a candle

    The most interesting of these to me to watch was the cream on top of the thai iced tea. When you first get the drink, the cream is completely separated from the tea. There is pure white on top and very dark orange at the bottom of the glass which fades to lighter orange before it hits the band of white at the top. When you begin to mix it, the white cream enters the orange in swirling billows that spiral down towards the bottom and soon disappear. After a while of stirring, the color of the drink evens out to a medium orange.

  15. 1. The waves of an ocean and how they recede from the beach before the next one comes.
    2. The wafts of smoke from a cigar.
    3. A hawk circling the sky
    4. The creases in the mud when a car’s tire passes over it.
    5. A hibiscus flower wilting within the time of an hour.

    For me the most interesting was either the wafts of smoke from a cigar or the mud.
    The smoke that comes out of the cigar comes out in any shape it wants to, twirling in the air and being manipulated by the light breeze of movements of people trying to wave it away.
    The mud also gets manipulated by people, as every time the car passes over the dirty tracks, it makes its own, and the mud retains the shape until someone else passes over it. I like the way the mud squishes out from under the car tires.

  16. 1. Wind blowing through the leaves of a tree
    2. My dog disappearing into tall grass
    3. Oil into vinegar
    4. Bouncing on a trampoline
    5.pasta into boiling water
    My favorite one that I saw was the fire extinguisher shot off into water because the contrast of the yellow powder substance on the pitch black background. It kinda looked liked raw eggs that had blown up into a milky like substance.

  17. 1. Clouds rolling in before a storm
    2. water on wax paper
    3. steam off of a cup of tea
    4. my breadth on cold winter’s night
    5. a fog machine enveloping the first row at A Christmas Charol

    My favorite one I saw was water water on wax paper. Because water is a polar molecule, it sticks to itself, forming droplets which can be pulled around (something I did while making cookies). It’s quite magical. If two droplets intersect they form a larger one which can be pulled until its surface tensions breaks.

  18. 1) Waves crashing on the rocks
    3) Water on the windshield
    4) Traffic
    5) When I could see my breath

    My favorite one of all was when I was able to see my breath when I was outside. It’s interesting to see my breath condense because it’s like your breathing something totally different. Something that I, or anyone one who lives in Santa Cruz, don’t get to see everyday.

  19. 1) Broom sweeping the floor
    2) Water flowing from a pitcher
    3) Wind blowing against curtains
    4) Lava lamp
    5) Frisbee being thrown

    My favorite was the wind blowing against my curtains. It was a warm night and a nice breeze filtered through my window. I liked how there was a steady breeze against the curtain but then a periodic gust sending the curtain flapping. I enjoyed the sound of the curtains as well. Since it was also a nice flow.

  20. 1. Smoke trailing off from a burning log
    2. Mixing two liquids (i.e. milk and chocolate syrup)
    3. Scarves blowing in the wind
    4. Ripple of vibration on a drum
    5. Condensation on surfaces (mirrors/windows/etc.) in heated environment.

    I dunno if it’s my favorite, but I always notice the rippling of my drums when I play them. It’s subtle, but kind of incredible to actually see the sound travel down the drum, almost exactly like a ripple in water after a drip has struck the surface.

  21. During the break I discovered some things out of pure boredom.
    1) Smoke from a recently extinguished candle
    2) Ink dropped in a class of water
    3) The whirlpool that forms when the shower drains
    4) Vinegar and Olive oil being mixed
    5) While dipping candles seeing the hot liquid become a solid thing.

    Over the break whenever I had nothing to do while around family I would take the opportunity to pay attention to the flow that existed in objects. What I found was that on a whole each thing I observed was making some kind of circular movement. The smoke danced in circles, it made rings and flowed about. The ink was basically a liquid form of the smoke (it was interesting to see how opposite things made the same movement).

  22. 1) The clouds I saw on airplane.
    2) Thousands of people walking along a street.
    3) snow drifted down from the sky.
    4) visible steam flowing over a hot pot.
    5) water fall off on a umbrella.

    My favorite one is the snow drifted down from the sky. During the winter break there was snowy at my hometown in China. The snow was quite heavy and it soon accumulated on the ground and buildings. I like the feeling when I stepped on a field of thick snow and there was still more and more snow falls and melts in my skin. I enjoyed the white world.

  23. 1. the rain falls down on the window of the car.
    2. add steamed milk into a coffee, and then there will be a special pattern on the top.
    3. a shape of a smoke from a smoker.
    4. put oil into a water.
    5. pour some water into a cup of orange juice, and after several hours, there is one layer has the darker color, and the other layer below has a lighter color.

    My favorite one from these five is number 2. I really enjoy the moment watching people pour the steamed milk into the coffee. At first, you won’t see the milk, then before you finish, the final milk floats on the top, and you could make it a special shape, such as apple, smiling face and so on.

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