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I just discovered your blog. Your "History of Dots" series is wonderful. My collage art is frequently designed with dots so I have particular interest here and I am sure I will enjoy exploring the rest of Ptak Science Books!

John F. Ptak

Thanks, Anita, thanks for your kind words. I looked at your blog and found your art very interesting, esp the designs using the Descartes images of how the brain sees! Very good! Now in particular to the first lovely image that you posted I direct your attention to the weird and fabulous Emily Vanderpoel, just in case you've not heard of her before. She's ultra-ephemeral but, well, you'll see.. http://longstreet.typepad.com/thesciencebookstore/2008/04/shaping-space-a.html


What a marvelous book! I often design around a grid. Just the act of laying one down gets me over that blank canvas phobia.

And I love the color theory models. I just met Ogden Rood earlier today while tracking down the International Scientific Series.

John F. Ptak

Ogden Rood (an American w/very long history at Columbia in physics) was a significant guy, esp with the Chromatics book, no doubt read by Seurat. Here Rood talks about the stuff of pointilism on page 252:
From the foregoing, then, it is evident in general that the effect of contrast may be helpful or harmful to colours : by it they may be made to look more beautiful and precious, or they may damage each other, and then appear dull, pale, or even dirty. When the apparent saturation is increased, we have the first effect; the second, when it is diminished. Our diagram, Fig. 119, shows that the saturation is diminished when the contrasting colours are situated near each other in the chromatic circle, and increased when the reverse is true. It might be supposed that we could easily overcome the damaging effects of harmful contrast by simply making the colours themselves from the start somewhat more brilliant; this, however, is far from being true. The pleasure due to helpful contrast is not merely owing to the fact that the colours appear brilliant or saturated, but that they have been so disposed, and provided with such companions, that they are made to glow with more than their natural brilliancy. Then they strike us as precious and delicious, and this is true even when the actual tints are such as we would call poor or dull in isolation. From this it follows that paintings, made up almost entirely of tints that by themselves seem modest and far from brilliant, often strike us as being rich and gorgeous in colour ; while, on the other hand, the most gaudy colours can easily be arranged so as to produce a depressing effect on the beholder. We shall see hereafter that, in making chromatic compositions for decorative purposes or for paintings, artists of all times have necessarily been controlled to a considerable extent by the laws of contrast, which they have instinctively obeyed, just as children in walking and leaping respect the law of gravitation, though unconscious of its existence...

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