Teresa Downard

Mathematics Instructor
Mathematics Department, Western Washington University
Bellingham, Washington, USA

A proudly amateur artist and mathematician investigating the intersection of these two beautiful topics.

40 x 50 cm

This painting was an experiment using reflections to make similar figures. The intricate leaf is from a local wild flower called Pacific Bleeding Heart. The top leaf was drawn from life and the shape and angles of the topmost part were captured with straight lines. Those lines were reflected over two intersecting axes of symmetry and used as a guide to draw the other leaves in reflective and rotational symmetry. Artists often favor special proportions based on irrational numbers. In contrast, the composition of this piece is based entirely on the unique and unknown proportions of this particular leaf. In this painting you can see the variety, symmetry, and asymmetry inherent in natural objects.