Sunday, 31 July 2011

High Bush-Cranberry leaf in pen and ink

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is obsession.

It doesn't take a very long browse of this blog's album to discover one of my brain's life-long obsessions. Count the number of leaves, trees, and branching patterns in general, and you just have to figure that something's going on there.

I like patterns. A lot. I like symmetries, I like branching, I like regularity... but I absolutely love the way nature takes those basics and then messes with them juuust a little to keep me interested.

It's all about me, of course.

Um, yeah. Anyway. Superficially speaking, there's a lot of regularity and symmetry in nature. That's only superficially, though. If you look a little closer you find that what seems very basic and repetitive is actually full of complex variations. Sometimes it's irregularity in growth, like the veins on a leaf, but sometimes the symmetry was never there to begin with. Look at us, for example. On the outside? Well, I'm sure most of us did the symmetry exercise in school (I... think most of us did. I'm getting on a bit now. Maybe they don't do the symmetry stuff anymore) where you're given half of a picture and have to use a mirror to make it into a full picture. Often the half-picture is of a person, and the resulting reflected picture looks very familiar in its symmetry. It's what we think humans look like.


Look inside. Check out an anatomy textbook. Humans (and most other animals. Zoologist here, remember? I saw the insides of a lot of animals back in the day. But that's a whole 'nother topic) have almost nothing to do with symmetry once you get past the superficial.

That's unexpected.

And that's interesting.

And that's the kind of unexpected and interesting that keeps my OCD brain from getting bored. And believe me, it obsesses me enough that if I'd had more time on my break I would have gladly drawn out all the minute veins in today's leaf rather than just the major ones.

Is that weird?

Ah well. Can't say it would surprise me if it was. It still makes me happy, though, and that's what counts in my brain.

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