
Fred Herscovitch: Writings  Atomic FlowerFor many years I kept a highly magnified black and white photomicrograph of an atomic structure in my file folder that really intrigued me. I would take it out now and then, attempting to frame a composition within a square format, but nothing I tried seemed to work. I found this quite frustrating because I felt that it had the potential to make a dramatic painting. I fiddled with this design unsuccessfully for over 15 years, and was ready to give up and throw the photograph away, but I hung onto it anyway. During these years I painted a number of circular paintings on some beautiful bevelled canvases that were made in Mexico. Finally, in July of 2004, I thought of placing the atomic structure within a circular format, and this immediately began to look more promising. However, the circular format didn't quite work, and I still wasn't completely happy with the composition. But then I remembered a curve I had formulated in 1973 — the Golden Power Ellipse. If I could make the atomic structure relate to this curve, then the problem would be solved. Eventually I was able to crop the composition until it fitted the format perfectly. I named the resulting design Atomic Flower. Here is the equation I developed: x^{φ} +y^{φ} = a^{φ} where φ is the Golden Ratio. φ = (1+√5) / 2 = 1.618 setting a = 1, the equation reduces to: x ^{1.618} + y ^{1.618} = 1 ^{1.618}
or x ^{1.618} + y ^{1.618} = 1 Step 1: I plotted this equation in the first quadrant.
f(x) = 1 x ^{1.618} 0 ≤ x ≤ 1 Step 2: Mirroring this curve about the X and Y axes produced the curve I named the Golden Power Ellipse. Step 3: I drew this curve on a 24" diameter circular canvas that is bevelled at the perimeter. Step 4: I prepared a dark ground in acrylics and then transferred the enlarged photomicrograph to the ground using white transfer paper. This took about one month to accomplish. Then I painted the structure in values of grey, and finally, I overglazed with colour. Atomic Flower  2004 Nov 2, 2004 