Introductory post

A Scattering Of Petals

A Scattering Of Petals ~ an eclectic collection of things academic and profound, nonsensical and frivolous, of vignettes integral to one’s being ~ literature, poetry, art music, dance . The petals may scatter, but the memories remain .

Of Things Academic and Profound :  The Tale Of Three Physicians , The Panchatantra ~ The Legacy Of A King’s Son , The Time Quintet ~ A Child’s Guide To Quantum Physics ~ and witches Which, Whatsit and Who . Madeleine L’Engle .

Of Things Nonsensical and Frivolous :

” A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men .”  Roald Dahl

Of Vignettes : Literature, Poetry, Art, Music, Dance ” The love of learning, the sequestered nooks And the sweet serenity of books .”  Longfellow

Sakura ~ in Japan the cherry blossoms signify the fleeting nature of life . Then in the Spring comes renewal …

Reference : The Meaning Of Cherry Blossoms In Japan : Life, Death, Renewal .                  ”

Associated with the Buddhist themes of living in the present, Japanese cherry blossoms are a timeless metaphor for human existence … ”  Helen Suk.

A Scattering Of Petals – Introduction

Graphics AE . Apps : Juxtaposer, Word Swag .

A Beginning …

The Eagle Has Landed

The beginning of a dream…  Several years ago  I began a chaotic – and as yet incomplete journey –  to start a Word Press site .Interruptions, disruptions. The intention to write an impressive, thought provoking , diverse collection of great importance has shrunken to a mere few articles . But from the disappointment and frustration something surprising emerged – the beginning of a dream .

Even if your Word Press site is profoundly profound it requires an adjunct – something that will immediately attract  interest and entice the reader to travel further. And that of course is the illustrative material. The internet offers a generous , endless selection  of material . But I wanted something different . Something not only original , but something specific to what I was writing, something that was integral to the subject and visually arresting .

So began a discovery, a journey completely unexpected . Graphic design was once the unassailable and expensive territotory of the graphic designer . But as the internet continued its relentless onward progression a rapidly increasing collection of graphic apps began  Simple apps that would allow the proud parent a showground for the photos of their offspring . And increasingly complex apps – again the territory of the trained graphic artist .

I was intruiged . And I needed and wanted good graphics for my posts . So began months of experimentation . A solitary journey replete with splotches and blotches . And brain wracking encounters with technical data about which I knew nothing . But I kept trying . I have always  had a creative streak, but with the demands of family and work – the whirlpool that engulfs most of us – creativity mainly found expression in the garden .

This was completely new , unexplored territory . And slowly, increment by time consuming increment I found something quite unexpected happening . On my trusty workhorse of an old iPad and a humble stylus – and stretching a few brain cells – interesting colourful splotch free images began to emerge .And instead of  a catastrophic mess that had to be immediately deleted , there were surprisingly creative images . All of which further impelled my desire to explore and experiment .

I began the whole experiment using the simplest of apps and techniques . Ideas came flooding in . I learned by time consuming degrees to accept those ideas beyond my capabilities . And rejoiced when things suceeded far beyond my expectations . Finally I felt brave enough to create the image I have used here as a header .


I began by taking the unsuspecting eagle out of his natural habitat, erased the background and placed him on a rocky outcrop, using what is called an overlay technique . Then the fun began – swirling clouds gently encircled the eagle . The next choice of habitat was not so gentle . The intention was to create an alien environment that was was far different from the bird’s usual surroundings . For this I used a collection of apps especially designed to create a range of alien effects . The eagle had now landed – but where ?   * (All apps used will be identified at the end of this post . )


For the final indignity inflicted on the unsuspecting eagle , more alien effects were created . This time a threatening, unfriendly planet . And I was pleased with the final result . The image was well balanced and imaginative . If affirmed for me that I could competently create the images needed for my Word Press site . But the most exciting thing was the discovery of a creative ability , a skill I had no previous awareness of . Something I will delight in exploring.. the beginning of a dream .


❄️ I have described at length here the journey taken . And the way in which the images were created . Very much hope this will encourage someone like me – unsure of what they can achieve . Begin with something simple . The apps that allow you to erase background and overlay images are a good starting point . And don’t be disappointed at initial results . It took me several months and a lot of hard work before I was happy with the results . Many apps are user friendly . Make full use of online tutorials . And if an app is too difficult to navigate or cluttered with ads , don’t waste your time – there are plenty of apps to choose from .

And, if , as above , you have a time consuming workload , the graphic art is something that can be done at short intervals. In fact it is wonderfully relaxing  – a great way of taking time out .

Finally enjoy yourself ! Maybe you don’t have the necessary skills, but there is always something else to explore . And, if like me , you find an unexpected ability, have a wonderful and exciting journey !

{ Apps used :  #BrainFeverApps _FFA , Juxtapose  . Google search images }



Necessary Nonsense




Nonsense necessary in a nonsensensical world .

” To write about nonsense is like going to sea in a sieve .”  W Tiggs

Nonsense  is necessary in an increasingly nonsensical world . ” A little nonsense now and then is cherished  by the wisest men ” said Roald Dahl  . To which Dr. Seuss added” I like nonsense … It’s more than a matter of just laughing . If you can see  things are out of whack, you can see how things can be back in whack .” Nonsense is a double edged sword . It is not just a matter of hysterical laughter .  It is a finely honed balance of  recognising the levity  and nonsensical nature  of whatever it is – and at the same time acknowledging reality  and acting on that awareness .

We do need that levity – things can’t all be solemnity .    There are the masters  of  nonsense for the sake of nonsense . Edward Lear is a past master . Lewis Carroll an obvious choice . But because Carroll , when open to present day interpretation, is far more complex Carroll will be discussed separately . For the present several uncomplicated examples : As a child  I loved the American poet Ogden Nash :

” The ant has earned a name illustrious , by proving constantly industrious  But who can blame him, would you be placid  If you were full of formic acid ? “

Valley Of the Ants  ~ Miniscule.

And the Australian artist John Olsen’ paintings of the frog .  ” The frog is a key motif … The artist is attracted to the theatre of the frog, their flamboyance… the big eyes.. elongated legs .” John Olsen Art Series .

Frogs.  ~  Artist John Olsen

Artist John Olsen                             ” Be kind and tender to the frog… ”  Hillaire Belloc

” Be kind and tender to the frog  And do not call him names  The frog is justly sensitive  To epithets like these .”  Hillaire Belloc

The ant and the frog . Nonsense in its simplest form – just nonsense for the sake of nonsense, Nonsense though has, as above , a further purpose . As in work of another Australian artist .


Michael Leunig is an Australian  artist, writer, philosopher and poet . His unique artistry and humour – which can vary from gentle contemplation to blistering satire – mean there are few Australians who do not have a Leunig among their possessions . The whimsical Mr.Curly , accompanied by his whimsical duck, offer a curly view of  a curly world .  Then from the security of a seaworthy ship officials shout at refugees huddled in an open, sinking boat . No humour in that .  But this is part of what makes Leunig’s social commentary so effective .There is an expectation of humour . Instead Leunig deftly twists the knife .

For over forty years Leunig has provided Australia and the world with gentle humour and critical insight . Leunig’s personal website  describes him as exploring the ” fragile ecosystem of human nature and its relationship to the wider natural world – a related and recurrent theme .” Leunig himself describes his work as ” regressive, humorous, messy,  mystical, primal and vaudevillian  . “

I am restricting  myself in writing on nonsense to simplistic ants and frogs . Were I to venture into Monty Python and the Holy Grail  and the Goons territory I would be treading on sacred ground . So I will restrict myself to the celebrated Charles ” Dodo ” Dodgson ~ Lewis Carroll  – and a few others  such as Roald Dahl .

Lewis Carroll

” I know what you’re thinking about ” said Tweedledee ” but it isn’t so, no how .Contrariwise … if it was so , it might be ; and if it were so, it would be, but as it isn’t , it ain’t . That ‘s logic . “

Charles ” Dodo ” Dodgson  was a mathematics lecturer at Oxford – a studious, retiring unknown  . He assigned the nickname Dodo to himself as he stuttered .Then an idyllic rowing boat trip on a sunny Oxford afternoon changed everything . ” Thus grew the tale of Wonderland .”  In 1865  Alice In Wonderland was published . And in  1871 Through the Looking Glass .

Carroll’s work  would seem the very epitome of nonsense . Alice asked for a story with ” lots of nonsense in it . ” And the characters are surely among the most extraordinary, rich and diverse created – the time rattled rabbit , the mad cheshire cat and his equally  mad acquaintances…  In their simplest form they are absolute , utter nonsense .


Yet Carroll was not only a particularly clever writer , he was a mathematician and a scholar with a vast wealth of knowledge to which was added a fine sense of irony and wit . Reading – and re-reading  – Alice as an adult reveals a  world of  significant ideas hidden in the fantasy genre of a children’s book . Read it – and read it again . And supplement with present day analysis  written about Carroll . The reading provides thought provoking perceptions . As an example : Alice In  Quantumland : An Allegory Of Quantum Physics  written by physicist Robert Gilmore has Alice exploring the “nonsensical ” world of quantum physics .

The following may be taken as personal nonsense , but I wonder at Alice’s fall down an extremely large rabbit hole – down, down , down . What sort of world was the mathematician creating ?

Alice , for the artist  , offers an extraordinary cornucopia of images. For me, with due respect to  John Tenniel – the first artist to illustrate the Alice books – the artist who most effectively captures  the imagery and inanity of Alice is Salvador Dali . In 1969 Dali created an extraordinary  series of lithographs – characteristically surreal , a style which evokes the complex and surreal Alice herself . And the unreal  wotld Carroll created .

The Lobster Quadrille  .                    Down the Rabbit Hole   –  Dali

Jabberwocky  – Through The Looking Glass,

Jabberwocky : ” ‘ Twas brillig and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe All mimsy were the borogroves And the mome raths outgrabe… ” Surely the ultimate in nonsense . And the lilting, rythmic , alliterative , extraordinarily creative mastery of the English language : .” Twas brillig… gyre and gimble.. snicker-snack ! ” ” O frabjous day ! ” What a wordfest !

Jabberwocky though is not all nonsensical nonsense . With ” eyes of flame ” and ” jaws that bite… ” it is monster made all the more frightening by the alien world Carroll’s wordplay creates .

It is tempting to write at indeterminate length on the complexity of Carroll’s character . In addition to Alice… Carroll/Charles Dodgson was also the author of a Manual Of Euclid ” its main features (the) sequence and numbering of Propositions and… Parallels ” .  In the context of the Manual  though he manages to call into question the undue solemnity of scientific reasoning . ” Thinking it far better that the purchaser of this little book should read it… with a smile .” And who better than Dodgson to leaven the seriousness  of science with a little necessary nonsense ?


In writing on nonsense one could also be entirely serious . And follow a scholarly approach beginning with the work of the ancient Greek playright Aristophanes . And The Frogs  – singing a chorus of nonsense verse . ” A shoal of little songsters…  mere degraders of their art .”  Dionysus says ” Search where you will, you’ll never find a true Creative  genius… ” And Heracles replies ” I vow its ribald nonsense .” Shakespeare layers sense and nonsense – with a ” hey nonino .” (As You Like It .) And there are modern masters aplenty .

I would like to conclude though with personal choices . Initial choices were  Maurice Sendak and Roald Dahl . Sendak for his talent in entering the world of childhood and at the same time making meaningful nonsense of the adult world . When Where The Wild Things Are was published in 1963 , an American reviewer wrote that the book was entirely unsuitable for adults as it may well scare them . Dahl I have chosen for his unique ability to make something seemingly nonsensical carry a significant meaning .

Sendak’s work , like Carroll’s , is also replete with ” terrible teeth and terrible eyes .”- (Where The Wild Things Are .) Sendak’s monsters though have a very special meaning – Max conquers the Wild Things .and becomes their king . But unlike Carroll’s Alice who would find pleasure in ” remembering her own child-life and the happy summer days ” , Sendak’s memories are sombre . There is a little known and particularly  haunting photo of Sendak’s cousin . A solemn little six year old, still resident in wartime Poland , in a dark jacket – and stitched to it a yellow star . Sendak never saw his childhood friend and other members of his family again . And the loss affected him deeply . So while Sendak makes a nonsense of the constraints of adulthood, he is also seeking to capture the unconstrained delights of childhood . As in the The Sign On Rosie’s Door – make beleive that most young children act out when growing up . Sendak, as an adult , sought to recapture ” the simple pleasures  ” of childhood . Imbued with a rich and vivid imagination . And again from Alice :” Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality .”

Maurice Sendak – wartime photo of his six year old cousin in Poland  .

And eventually  I decided I could not place Sendak in the context .of nonsense . There was too much underlying sadness in his life .The final choice then is Dahl – aided and abetted by the wonderful Quentin Blake. The artist’s exaggerated line drawings – as in James and the Giant Peach and The BFG  – complement Dahl’s writing perfectly . And the exuberant illustrations for Matilda convey perfectly Matilda’s indefatigable spirit . The original meaning  of the word Matilda  is ” mighty in battle . “

There is ” rommytot ”  aplenty  in Dahl’s writing . ” A catasterous situation is very bad indeed, and a catasterous disastrophe is the the worst of all .”  Dahl’s work, like Sendak’s could well have an underlying solemnity . His eight year old daughter daughter Olivia died of measles related encephalitis . And his first wife suffered a series of debilitating strokes . Yet Dahl’s genius  somehow allowed him to turn these savage losses into a deeper understanding of childhood tribulations – and allow them to inhabit  a courageous and wonderful, highly imaginative world . Matilda is not squashed by her appalling parents , but instead travels far and wide . ” She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyatd Kipling …”   Matilda says.     ” Be outrageous . Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbeleivable . ” Dahl’s courageous little character carries a timeless message for both children and adults .

Dahl created a Phiz Wizzing collection of characters  –  Willy Wonka, Fantastic Mr Fox,, James and the Giant Peach , the BFG – forty five books in all .And each with its own unique characterers . And Dahl’s writing is enhanced by Quentin Blake’s artwork . And further enhanced both by the  writer and the artist’s sense of nonsense .

Frabjous Beasts and Frumious Birds  .     Artist Quentin  Blake

In conclusion I would like to quote the words of a student of Bryn Mawr College . From Serendip Studio – and with the kind authorisation of Ann Dixon – a definition of nonsense : ” Nonsense . It is the absence of logic … At the  same time, nonsense is a challenge . It forces us to encompass a different mindset… Nonsense is a tool that can aid us in discerning our reality .”(  Shayna 26/3/2010 ) Nonsense entertains and amuses, relaxing inherent defences . And arousing a search for sense iñ the nonsense . Presented with a perfectly coherent, logical, well structured academic proposition , we would seek to answer in a similarly coherent manner . But a generôus helping of nonsense allows us the freedom to explore and to question .


Artist Quentin Blake . Road Dahl-The BFG . Quote Robert Frost

And  I will finish with my own piece of nonsense :

A Nonsense Verse
WHAT ? A Nonsense Verse

Acknowledgements :  Serendip Studio, Michael Leunig, John Olsen, Graphics AE:  Adobe Photoshop, Typorama,  @gpiczoo#PICZOO . Google search free images  .

Alien Sea..

Tall Ship In An Alien Sea


 TALL  SHIP IN AN ALIEN SEA . This post is a collection of graphic images . The effect I was seeking was to take the majesty of a stately, tall ship and create a contrasting, alien and threatening environment .

Alien Sea
Tall Ship On An Alien Sea


The image created shows an increasingly stormy sea and darkening sky .The ship is being pulled further and further into alien territory .


An alien planet begins to appear in the sky  . The crew have disappeared .

The ship is pulled in by the force and power of the planet .

The ship begins to break up .


Ship In An Alien Sea Alien Sea

The wreckage of the ship  is pulled closer and closer to the alien planet . Prehistoric birds begin to  appear .


Finally the wreckage of the ship sinks below the water and is lost forever .


Only remnants of the tall ship are left. And a prehistoric  bird .


Fantasy – or reality  ?


Acknowledgements :  Graphics AE . Apps : #BrainFeverApps_ FFA , Juxtaposer , InstaSize,  Google search free  images .

Phi ~ the Golden Mean , Fibonacci , Mandelbrot ~ and The Artist



Phidias – the Golden Mean.

Fibonacci ~ mathematician . Fibonacci Sequence : ” the orderly hand of nature .”

Mandelbrot – mathematician and the geometry of fractals .

The Artist – to the artist a gift of infinite complexity  and  beauty .

This is in no way a learned mathematical treatise , nor a treatise on art and architecture . Rather it is an attempt by the writer and artist to understand the history and discovery of fractals – their complexity and their beauty . And the extraordinary gift of the mathematician to the artist . To the mathematician whose learning I may offend , my apologies . And to those who have made an academic study of art and architecture  a similar apology .  For anyone just interested in the beauty of fractals – but find the concept hard to understand  – if I have added to their insight and understanding  , then  I have achieved what I had hoped .

The Golden Mean or Golden  Ratio  . The Golden Ratio has unique mathematical properties and is defined by the ancient Greek letter Phi . It was used by the Greek sculptor and mathematician Phidias to determine the ratios  in his sculptures . In the simplest of mathematical terms it describes a numerical ratio. Mathematically the definition is more complex, but for the purpose of this post, it can be described as a ratio of harmony , of equilibrium .


The ancient Greeks observed its appearance in nature and the harmonious  repetition of patterns  and scale .The ancient Egyptians are said to have used the ratio of the Golden Mean in the building of the Great Pyramid of Giza .The Golden Mean is used throughout history  . In art and in architecture  . In the work of da Vinci and Michaelangeo .   The Golden Mean is found not only in the work of the great artists  and architects , but in the beauty of nature ~ the formation of a cloud, a nautilus shell , a daisy …p

Fibonacci . The famed Italian mathematician was  born in Pisa in 1175 .He was widely travelled and as a mathematician made an extensive study of ancient civilizations and their numerical systems. His sequential system of numbers to determine the perfect ratio means the terms Golden Mean and Fibonacci Sequence are often used together .                  ( Mathematicians – please forgive the imprecise definition .  )

The Fibonacci Sequence has been described as ” nature’s numbering system ” . The wonderful whorls and spirals at the centre of a sunflower are the result of constant numerical repetition .




The. 17th  Century physician and naturalist, Sir Thomas Browne describes the Fibonacci Sequence in nature : ” Right lines and circles make out the… plants ; In the parts thereof we find heliacal or spiral roundles… And cannot overlook the orderly hand of nature .. The seeds of many … flowers diffuse themselves circularly… conformable  to the spider’s web .”

” The orderly hand of nature .” Sir Thomas Browne

All of the above suggest order and regularity . But in  the early 20th.  , a Lithuanian mathematician , Benoit Mandelbrot ( b.1924 ) , found in the harmonious repetitions  of patterns and ratios , irregularities ..  Mandelbrot used the term fractal to describe these irregularities – the word is derived from the Latin ” fractus ” , to break . Mandelbrot ,  known as the father of fractal geometry  used the term to    ” describe objects and surfaces  which are irregular at various dimension of scale .” The particular fractal, named after him, was called  the Mandelbrot set .

Fortuitously, Mandelbrot’s work was concurrent with the development of computers and their ” number crunching ” capabilities . What began to emerge were images ofextraordinary beauty . In pragmatic terms Mandelbrot’s work had application to many of the sciences . And for the artist opened an extraordinary vista of creative exploration .

Mandelbrot Set

Fractured Fractal .  At the time of Mandelbrot’s death in 2010, the Guardian wrote the following tribute to him : ” Few have woven such a beautiful braid of art and science as Mandelbrot … They are icons of modern understanding of the universe’s complexity . . The Mandelbrot Set… with its fizzing fringe of chrystal-like microforms blossoming out of a conjunction of black circles … is the outcome of geometrical calculations… Mandelbrot’s startling fractals created a visual manifesto for a non-Euclidean universe… Mandelbrot was a modern Leonardo … he gave us a visual lexicon for our complex world .” ( Mandelbrot : the man who made geometry an art .” Jonathon Jones The Guardian . )

Fractal  Art .

Fractal Art is popularly defined as  a genre belonging to the 20th  Century and the age of computers .   There are fractal images throughout history – but it is only through Mandelbrot that their complex mathematical structure is seen for the first time .

Mathematics : The following images are to show the beauty of mathematics that surrounds us every day . To these images will then be added  images of fractal art – the dimension they add to the artist’s palette .


Guggenheim Museum ~ Phi.

Fractal Art : These images have been designed by me – the first image derives from the fractal , the second derives from the Latin fractus – to break .

Flaming Fractal       Artist AE




Phideas , Fibonacci  and Mandelbrot .  A tribute to Benoit Mandelbrot. 1924 ~2010