Tag Archives: sunflower

Cottonwood Art Festival- A Lesson Learned

 

There is a festival held in Richardson, Texas twice a year known as Cottonwood Art Festival. Artist line up rows upon rows of tents and pavilions in Cottonwood Park for the public to come and see, buy and experience fine art.

 

This festival is a wonderful chance for artists to meet collectors face to face without the usual art gallery atmosphere.  The artists have to send their work through a juried selection process so every year you find new artists and different media.  While the festival is an excellent place to buy art, it’s also a great place to watch people.

 

Dallas is an international city and you will find all forms of cultures mixed together in one place to enjoy the art. In fact, one of the big draws to this event is not only the fine art, but the ability to people watch.  People watching is a neat sport that allows you to see what people wear, how they act, and learn about culture.   It is not unusual to see people in sarees, hajibs, slacks and polo shirts and even a kilt.  I walked past two women in a full dress and hajib talking next to an artist wearing a knee cut sundress and a pair of cowboy boots.  It is always a neat experience when cultures can blend together and enjoy each others company.

 

People are not the only ones who get to enjoy the art.  The park is also dog friendly and you will see all sorts of breeds from tiny toys to Great Danes.  There are even whippets adopted after their dog racing careers end.

 

There is a serious side to the festival.   Some people go to Cottonwood to complete or add to their art collection.   It is in this atmosphere that I heard a lady learn that all too important lesson of fine art.  The valuable lessons of  “if you like it; buy it.”  She was telling her husband, or friend, that the piece of art she had wanted to buy was already gone when she had gone back later to buy it.  As the saying goes “Don’t say there is still time.” or “I’ll get it later”. Because there is the concept of “It’s too late”.

 

People who buy and sell art, or even your average collector often learn this painful lesson and do their best to avoid it.  As a photographer/artist I have often heard, “Well can’t you just print off another?”  Sometimes, that is possible.  But, even in photography, there are occasions where an artist archives a picture  to make room for another.  Or a picture is part of a limited printing such as a private commission.  This causes the lesson to ring true even in the photographic art world.  Whenever you buy any art, all three people win.  You win, the gallery wins, and so does the artist.

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Nature’s Puzzle Fun: Sunflowers and Shapes

This sunflower is an amazing example of living geometric engineering. I know of several middle school math teachers that would giggle with delight at this mouth-watering choice of shapes and forms.

 

As you view the sunflower carefully, the discovery of cones, triangles, circles and even pentagrams suddenly show themselves in a magical and alluring way.  Nature creates a puzzle of various designs and structures all the while implementing them in a living plant.

 

The amazing thing is the shapes found inside each shape.  Notice the focus on the band of black cones, each ending with 3 dimensional shapes in a star pattern on top.  All of those star patterns connect to a cone shape that sprouts majestically from a small pentagram.  Yet, all together, they form a sweeping black band in a semi-circular pattern that divides the work and flower into each part.

 

This band separates the ever-increasing density of the sloping conical-shaped face and the flat expanding petals of the flower.  Even the colors divide into separate areas due to that black and yellow band.  Nature even allows colors to join in this dance of geometry.  The sun-kissed greens of the undeveloped seeds slope towards the more traditional sunflower yellow of the petals.  Indeed, the sunlight striking the petals actually enhances our perception of the color changing from green to black towards yellow.

 

Only nature exists in such a perfect form.  All of these shapes and colors exist for attraction.  Sure, we has humans enjoy the fragrance, sight, and complexity of the flowers but it irresistible to the insects like butterflies and bees that the plant wished to attract.  Such beauty allows a perfect winning scenario. The sunflower becomes pollinated, the insects get a meal, and we get to decorate and have a snack of sunflower seeds.  Perfect wins all around!

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They Follow the Sun!!!

The first real cold front of the season has finally rolled through the area, meaning we no longer have to suffer in 90 degree or more heat,  and I thought now would be a good time to say goodbye to summer.

During my exploration of the local sunflower field this summer,  I couldn’t help but notice that all the sunflowers were facing the same direction.  It was a curious sight and gave an impression that the entire field was “looking” at something.   After a little research at The Naked Scientists website , I had my answer.

I discovered that the sunflower tracks the sun through the sky during the day. Since the flower has no muscles, if manages to do this by growing cells in the stem on the eastern part in the morning, facing the sun, and the western part in the afternoon, following the sun.  By the end of the day the stem, once re-balanced, repeats the process in the morning.  This gives it the appearance that it follows the path of the sun. This odd behavior helps insects.  Facing the sun with those large flower heads causes the flowers and the seed area to warm up quicker than the surrounding plant.  Insects depend on this warmth to help regulate their body temperature and thus become more active.  So, they visit the flower more often.  Being more active on the flower means a greater chance of the flower being pollinated and reproducing.  It also means you get great fine art!  I love it when everyone wins.

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