Tag Archives: How Grids and patterns work together

Alternate Overdraw Applied to Escher Islamic Mosaic Continuous Lines, STAGE 2.

Escher painting 1922 of Islamic Mosaic tile at the Alhambra.  WikiArt.  Continuous line study by Mick Burton.

Escher painting 1922 of Islamic Mosaic tile at the Alhambra. WikiArt. Continuous line study by Mick Burton.

Before applying my Alternate Overdraw, which I use to allocate colours to Continuous Lines, I will give you my analysis of the colours in the original Mosaic and what I feel were the artist’s ideas behind the design.

Eric Broug states, in his YouTube demonstration “How Grids and Patterns Work Together” that this is a 16 point star surrounded by 8 point stars.  Geometrically you can produce stars with many different numbers of points.  Having done many planetary paintings myself, I feel that the original artist has realised that in this case we have a central Sun and 8 planets surrounding it which can represent our solar system (we can ignore Pluto as a planet as it only featured as such for a part of the last century).  The colours the artist uses reflect many aspects of this planetary situation –

a.  YELLOW is used as the colour for the flaming surfaces of the central Sun and the corner Suns.  All other yellow areas have star like shapes and represent distant stars peppering the background.

b.  PURPLE is used for the centres of the Suns and the 8 Planets.  Purple is also used for the lines of areas along the sides, vertically and horizontally from the centres of the sides and diagonally (the lines of purple areas may simply be decorative).

c.  BLACK is used for the “fan blade” shapes emanating from the Suns.  In my planetary paintings I often use black for the background outside a drawing and for the gaps through the  drawing .  The artist here could be using the same idea, so that the blades are in fact deep space seen beyond the Suns.

d.  GREEN is used to surround each Planet and I interpret this as representing life on each Planet, not just ours.

The process for completing an Alternate Overdraw is covered in my Post dated 10 September, 2014  (9/10/2014)  entitled “Alternate Overdraw on Continuous Line Drawing”.

In the previous post, STAGE 1, I showed that there are two continuous lines in the Mosaic.  I apply my Alternate Overdraw to produce a template for me to work with to allocate a colour sequence.  I have to bear in mind that there are 2 Overdraw results and 1 colour sequence for a single continuous line and 4 Overdraw results and 2 colour sequences for two continuous lines.

My experience tells me that the Alternate Overdraw, which will produce a Template best representing this Planetary composition, will have –

a.  An Overdraw for the Main continuous line commencing by overdrawing (in Red) a side of a fan blade of the central Sun, and

b.  An Overdraw for the Minor continuous line commencing by overdrawing (in Blue) a side of a fan blade on a corner Sun.

Main continuous line, Alternate Overdraw, choice 1.  Mick Burton, Escher Mosaic study.

Main continuous line, Alternate Overdraw, choice 1. Mick Burton, Escher Mosaic study.

Minor Continuous Line, Alternate Overdraw in Blue, Choice 1.  Mick Burton Escher Mosaic study.

Minor Continuous Line, Alternate Overdraw in Blue, Choice 1. Mick Burton Escher Mosaic study.

The aim  of the Alternate Overdraw is to create channels within the design where two colours can be allocated alternately within each channel and that adjacent channels have different pairs of colours.  An overall sequence of colours then follows across channel boundaries.

My experience told me, at this stage, that my colour sequence was likely to match the original Mosaic in and around the five Suns, but less so elsewhere.

I will show my attempts at allocating corresponding colours in the NEXT POST.  I will also explain why I feel that the original artist may have used the Alternate Overdraw or an equivalent method.

Mick Burton Continuous Line Blog.

Continuous Lines in Escher Islamic Mosaic painting, STAGE 1.

Escher painting 1922 of Islamic Mosaic tile at the Alhambra.  WikiArt.  Continuous line study by Mick Burton.

Escher painting 1922 of Islamic Mosaic tile at the Alhambra. WikiArt. Continuous line study by Mick Burton.

I look for continuous lines in all forms of art.  I first saw this design in my daughter Kate’s book “Escher, The Complete Graphic Work”, by J.L. Locher.   We are both long term admirers of this artist.  Escher did this detailed painting  in 1922 when in Granada at the Alhambra, and its quality really hit me.  It was of an Islamic mural Mosaic tile,  which was made up of those geometric lines which are often seen in Islamic art, and I assessed it for continuous lines.  

I could see that the overall symmetrical  pattern and I saw that Escher had painted the design BORDER, which seemed to indicate what happened to the lines after they hit the sides of the square.  I then worked out, from the Border Pattern, that the lines were fed back in the same routes on all four sides of the square.  From the point of view of finding a single continuous line, in my experience, such overall symmetry of the structure meant that it was very unlikely that there was only one line. 

Here is the basic structure which I arrived at, which shows the “wiring” connections indicated by the border.  Let’s see how many continuous lines there are.

Escher Islamic Tile.  Basic line structure, with border connections. Mick Burton continuous line study.

Escher Islamic Tile. Basic line structure, with border connections. Mick Burton continuous line study.

When I traced over the lines I found that there were in fact two continuous lines making up the whole design.  Here are the two results, a Main continuous line (in red) and a Minor one (blue).

Main continuous line, one of two.  Escher Islamic tile design.  Mick Burton continuous line study.

Main continuous line, one of two. Escher Islamic tile design. Mick Burton continuous line study.

Minor continuous line, 2nd of two.  Escher Islamic tile design.  Mick Burton continuous line study.
Minor continuous line, 2nd of two. Escher Islamic tile design. Mick Burton continuous line study.

 

By experimenting with border changes, a bit like swapping wiring connections, I did come up with a single continuous line, but the borders were no longer symmetrical.  It seems likely that the artist realised that two continuous lines was the best he could hope for whilst retaining overall symmetry.   In a LATER POST I will show how a border can be “tweaked” by a slight alteration to make one continuous line in the mural mosaic, and how this answer is achieved.  I will also show how the artist is likely to have worked out how to achieve two continuous lines by connecting up the correct loose ends.

I now needed to know  “How important continuous lines were, within this design, to the artist?”   It could be that Continuous Lines were incidental to other aims, or they may have been of prime importance.

In my NEXT POST I will apply my Alternate Overdraw technique to produce a Template of closed lines, which I use to decide upon the colours to allocate.   I will also suggest what the artist’s ideas were for the design and his colour selection.  In a FURTHER POST you will see how my colour allocation compares with the original colours and to what extent I feel that my ideas were the same or similar to those used by the artist.

All this has been done without any reference to the construction of the original line structure.  I have taken the completed structure as a starting point to apply my ideas.  I did not research in any detail on Islamic line construction, until after my whole study was completed.

I have recently found YouTube demonstrations by Eric Broug entitled “How to Draw a Mamluk Quran Page” and “How Grids and Patterns Work Together”, which gave me a good insight into pattern construction and include an explanation of a larger tile containing this Escher Mosaic design as a section.  This is a fascinating process used by the Islamic artists over 500 years ago.  Otherwise, I have not found any reference to borders, colouring, or specific meaning of this design.

Possibly my ideas will generate a new view on aspects of the creation of this and other Islamic designs. 

Mick Burton, Continuous Line Blog. Continue reading