Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How Math and Art Can Be Combined: My Holiday Project

This is the story of how
Now, I am NO artist. I am not trying to flaunt my skills (or lack there of). But, here's my story.

I was lucky enough to get to spend a whole week in my hometown at my Dad's house for the holidays. They have Apple TV, where one of the features is a running slideshow of pictures saved on their computer. When the above picture came across the screen, I inquired. My step-mom said she took a picture of it because she loved it and wanted it, but didn't buy it. It matches the living room perfectly. So, later, I was talking to my Dad and told him I could probably recreate it ... well, a version of it.

So, wait, where does the math come in? It comes in scaling things. Any picture can be resized and recreated if you want. Just grid it out. So, I printed the photo on 4x6 paper, grided it and then grided the canvas. Make sure both grids have the same number of "boxes" and are evenly spaced. See here:

All it takes is a ruler and some careful measurements. Make it exact! Now, in the right side picture you can see that I sketched in the fleur de lis into the boxes trying to match it. Just go box to box, estimate it and draw it.

That's the hard part! Now, I knew there was no way I could antique it how the original was. But, I was going to give it a stab. I painted the background red and the fleur de lis beige. Then, started to age it. I wish I had some more images to show you, but on top of the white, I took brown, blue, orange, black, etc and painted streaks. Then, once that dried, I "white-washed" it to make the darker colors not seem so bold.

which got aged into

And, voila!
Not that amazing, but it's pretty cool how MATH can be turned into ART! Give it a try!


  1. kids love "blowing up" cartoons and pictures. I still have my cartoons from my first year teaching. Some of them turn out so well. You are absolutely right, the more exact you are, the better the picture is. Love your inspiring blog :) Carissa

  2. Reading this post a week or so ago gave me my next art project. My students will be thrilled, I'm sure. :)

  3. Very interesting topic will bookmark your site to check if you write

    more about in the future.

  4. Wow! I am attempting to paint a fleur de lis that matches my living room. We are huge saints fans, but the profesional paintings can be a little pricey.
    As of now, I have it sketched out and I am researching different painting techniques.
    Wish me luck!