When the shape is more important than the pattern

I favor the “squares-squared” pattern of components as presented in my last post because it’s hidden by its regularity; that is, what catches your eye on the 3-dimensional surface comes from the image itself, not from any part of the pattern. However, the subjects of some photographs have recurring shapes that can be mimicked by the individual components. For example, an Xtra-Dimensions piece derived from a photograph of a maple forest with its fall foliage has additional depth when the components are shaped like the leaves themselves.

How does this work?

Instead of using square components, or warped-square components as described for pictures of Lake Tahoe, I use overlapping leaf shapes. They are arranged in the same “squares-squared” pattern shown before:

Leaf layout pattern.jpg

On the left above is shown the regular pattern, on the right is the arrangement of overlapping leaf shaped components according to this scheme. (You’ll notice that their positions are identified by row and column addresses; that’s important in helping to locate where each one goes!)

The components themselves are also 3-dimensional!

Where a faceted shape to the components is appropriate for the pictures of water surfaces, the leaf-shaped components are made convex by drawing (creasing) veins on the back. For one thing, doing this makes the components quite uniform, as shown by the stack below:


Even more important, the 3-dimensionality of the leaf-shaped components brings another level of visual connection to the subject matter. As you move around the piece, the components alternately disappear as they combine to make the image, or they stand out as individual leaves, layered as in the forest scene itself.

Vine Maple combo.jpg

“Vine Maples Along the Santiam River,” created from a photograph by Mike Putnam, was one of the first that I made using this approach.

In a later blog, I’ll describe pieces for which both the pattern and the component shapes are tailored to the scene.

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