If you are bored, look up. You may be surprised at what you see. Clouds can be unicorns or dragons, fish or faces.

When I was young I would lie on my back and look up at the sky. Watching the clouds rush with rapidity or drift with stately slowness. Like the galleons I drew in my school exercise books. Then it was pirates racing to catch treasure ships.

Thunder clouds were mountains, or giant anvils, sometimes clouds looked like waves on the sea, or hills and beaches.

I gradually learnt a few of the names of clouds, cirrus, cumulo nimbus, stratus.  Each had a wonderful ring to them. Magical beauty flying high over head.

Later I learned a bit about chaos theory, and fractals. How if you magnify a bit of a cloud, the close up looks like the larger image. I heard songs like Cloudbusting by Kate Bush, and about clouds being seeded to make rain fall.

You see they are interesting creatures, even if they are not mythical beasts.

So, if you are interested, look up the cloud appreciation society. They have a page on Facebook. Their founder set up a group which people can join. They have a cloud of the month, and sometimes send out a newsletter.

With climate change, and the increase in severity of the weather, its interesting to find out how water vapour can be so beautiful and yet so wild.




This is a form of Broccoli, the pattern seems fractal, where it repeats in smaller and smaller forms but in the same pattern. Another example is the Mandelbrot set. The now famous pattern that constantly reveals and renews itself the deeper you look into it.

Have you heard of Fibonacci numbers? They relate to the spirals on this Broccoli plant too. There are two spirals if you look closely. One is more curved than the other. It’s based on prime numbers. Like 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, and so on.

Now this is where I have to admit only a slight knowledge, I only know about Fibonacci because of programmes I have seen about him and they were based on art. I have also heard of the golden section, which is based on another spiral, and is said to allow you to place objects in a painting into the most beautiful composition. But I am no mathematician.

If you look up Fractals, Mandelbrot and Golden section, you should find interesting information about them all, and Chaos theory which seems to link them all. They are all fascinating.

There are several books out there about Chaos theory. It’s worth reading around the subject.

Fluid dynamics

When you try and paint things you sometimes make connections with other objects. This, I think, is a good example.

I was making a cup of coffee this evening and because we were having strawberries and cream I decided to swirl a bit of cream into my decaff coffee. I knew that the pattern would be similar… But this was almost identical. It underlies how patterns in nature can mimic each other. From liquids to planetary atmospheres, even to nebulae and galaxies, swirls and spirals persist.

Beauty and ugliness are all out there. Patterns like fractals can be seen in the landscape. Pattern is wonderful.


If you look closely this is my drawing of the Mandlebrot set..not a photo.FB_IMG_1524272149873

I do love Chaos theory, when I first heard of it I bought a book called Chaos and read about Mandlebrot who came up with the theory.

That was around 30 years ago, so I don’t remember much about it. But I love the idea that coasts can be fractal, and so can clouds. When you zoom in on a real Mandlebrot pattern you always see this distinct pattern no matter how deep into it you go.

The colours change, curves and swirls and spirals appear, but that pattern keeps coming back.

My drawing is not perfect, but at least it gives an idea of the pattern….like a little Buddha on its side… sparking with electricity.

Other fractal patterns include squares within squares, and triangles within triangles.

Go and look at websites with them on….you will be fascinated hopefully.