Tree fractals

March 7, 2011


As I was waiting for the train to work last Friday morning and looking around for things to take Instagram pictures of to kill time, I had the sudden feeling that one of my favorite things about winter here in the deciduous northern hemisphere is seeing the bare trees reaching toward the sky and knowing that what I see above ground is happening below ground as well.

I hadn’t thought of tree branches as fractals until I saw an episode of Nova a few weeks ago, but I have known for a very long time that trees have root systems underground that are equivalent to their branch systems above. As I stared at the beautiful, veiny, starkness of the winter bare branches, I was a little overwhelmed by the thought of the symmetrical happenings in the dirt.

I didn’t have time to leave the train platform to take photos of the trees that were uncluttered by power lines, apartment highrises or other impediments, but the images stayed in my memory all weekend and were the inspiration for this illustration based on tracings of my hands.


5 Responses to “Tree fractals”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I really like the illustration.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks! I should engage in purely artistic endeavors more often, because I love doing it.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    You should! What medium is this in?

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Nothing fancy, just quick and dirty in Photoshop. I scanned the outline of each of my hands, and used them as the form for the branch (left) and root (right) trunks. I drew the branches and roots with progressively smaller diameter circular brushes, then did the leaves, flowers, and dirt with shape brushes. I chose to turn off the hand outline layer for the final.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Got you. Because of the hand aspect, I thought it might have been on paper, and it has a bit of a stamped look to it. It’s nice. It would make a good "Spring!" card, which probably should be a holiday around these parts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: