Sandra DeLozier Coleman

Artist, Poet, Writer, Retired Math Professor
Niceville, Florida

We are forever immersed in patterns of symmetry, whether seen or unseen. We see countless examples of symmetry in our everyday surroundings--in flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees. We are a little less likely to discover the symmetry and certain mathematical beauty in the unseen inhabitants of our world. A search for magnified images of viruses and vitamins reveals a fascinating hidden realm in which a host of structures display near perfect symmetry.

In my drawings I create images that suggest symmetry by thinking of each stroke as a step in an algorithm. The words I use to describe the steps define the repetitions. I create the drawings freehand in ink, giving the designs a human, organic touch, unlike computer-generated images.

Autumn Leaves
Autumn Leaves
50 x 50 cm
Ink on Paper

A recent issue of Physics Today relates the flow patterns associated with displacement of higher viscosity fluids by fluids of lower viscosity to the dynamics of biological growth, specifically to the way different parts of a living organism grow at nearly the same rate. I began this drawing by mimicking the growth pattern of one fingerling in a symmetrically spreading fluid and from there created an approximation of rotational symmetry through a series of hand-drawn, unmeasured algorithmic repetitions. It’s interesting to me that, although no living organism was the model for the art, my young granddaughter sees the end result as a drawing of autumn leaves.