Liquid fireworks

It’s nearly that time again.. and some people have already started fireworks around here. These are some inksplosion pictures I took a few days back – they reminded me of firework colours and patterns, and the glow they make in the dark sky. ‘Feather flurry’ reminded me a little of a catherine wheel with its angled trails.


Feather flurry


Bubbleglow in the sky


Bubbleglow in the sky development

After the flow has gone …

Yesterday in the lab, I arranged some pools of ink, turned off the flow and looked at how the ink arranged itself in a small residual amount of water. Particles suspended in the ink were deposited on the glass surface, and the patterns were reminiscent of aerial views of rivers and estuaries. The branching patterns also looked like trees and leaves.


Sedimentary foliage

I was reminded of my ink on paper work, where the ink would often similar residual patterns as it dried, as in the example below called ‘The Deep Winds rising’.


‘Deep winds rising’ like underwater currents passing through sea plants

Recently I have been looking for a way of visualizing vortices in one of the larger tanks in the lab – but have not quite got there, partly I think because the flow may be a little choppy. One of my colleagues suggested a peristaltic pump as being a good source of laminar flow, so I will try that soon when the equipment is ready.

Meanwhile, here are a few vortices within the surface tension-driven flow I tried in the lab yesterday:


‘Mushroom vortex’


‘Yin and Yang’

Creating time-rich images and watching the gaps

A friend of mine from Flickr asked me recently what I meant by the phrase “time-rich image” … here’s a short explanation and some examples.


‘Cosmic Aqua Blur’

I’ve always been concerned that my images should represent the passing of time in some way, and this concern is reflected in the name I chose for my work “chronoscapes”. Time may be represented in many ways – in photography, motion blur will indicate the passing of time, or the presence of similar forms at different stages. Both these indications of time can be seen in the image below, ‘Cosmic Aqua Blur’, with its streaks of gold particles moving at fast speeds, and ‘younger’ red/gold ink circles which have not yet begun to progress outwards.

The image below, ‘Go Supernova’ also features motion blur, this time contrasted with relatively sharp red lines at the central stagnation point. The relative speeds of flow are apparent.


‘Go Supernova’

I will be posting more on this soon; I find it a really interesting topic.

The behaviour of ink always continues to surprise me – it never does quite what I expect! I have noticed in the lab recently that when it flows slowly over plastic, it leaves strangely shaped gaps which then sometimes become islands. I wonder if this is something to do with the surface tension properties of the ink. Here are a couple of examples; the second of which has the texture of molten glass.


hexagonal plant form


‘Molten flow’

Insights into the inside

Last week I went along to the private view of the ‘Before the Crash’ exhibition mentioned below, and learned some fascinating facts about how it’s possible by scanning to reveal and record the inner surfaces of objects. I wondered whether it was then possible to produce objects based on the scans which are ‘inverse’ – whose insides are outside and vice versa – will have to read about this. Meanwhile, it got me thinking about topology, and about a picture I made recently where surfaces seemed to pass over and under each other in an illogical way; I called it ‘Mobius trip’ and it’s made with light and glass:


what is inside; what is outside; what is in front of what; the topologistics are baffling

Back in the University lab, the quest to capture vortices proceeds – I tried visualizing them as flow went round a cylinder with a strip light reflection. I liked the way the reflection of the metal grid on the light bent in the water.


neon striplight reflection – the cylinder is on the extreme left of the image

Here is a more straightforward visualization with ink taking up ring forms:


And here are a couple of screenshots taken from movies I made yesterday using perspex sheets and fluids of different viscosities travelling between them:


‘Bubble escape’


‘Nouveau Art Nouveau’

I love the idea of old art forms being re-interpreted in new terms, and these plant-like forms reminded me very much of one of my favourite artistic movements, Art Nouveau, with its stylized flowers and buds.

Solar echoes

I just came across this image of glass and light which I photographed a few days ago. Its repeated shapes put me in mind of shoals of fish cruising the bottom of the sea. The repeated shapes reflect the process by which the image was made.


Organic forms captured in full sunlight

New exhibition of scientific art

Simpleware Ltd. is organizing an exhibition of art based on scientific phenomena as part of the European project “Immersion in the Science World through Arts” (ISWA). I am delighted to have some work on show there. Below are details of the exhibition:


*Venue: Exeter Castle, Castle Street, EX3 4PU, Exeter *

*Dates: October 15-20, 2011 *

Opening times: 11am to 7pm