Finger Prints Of Nature
“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.”~ Pablo Picasso
Imagine this, you’re working on a piece that has got you stuck, the thought of making another mark makes you feel ill. What do you do ? The majority of us will take a break, to get some fresh air or go out for a walk and take in the surroundings. Usually, this helps us overcome artist’s block.
Between 1972 and 1981, a researcher visited patients at the Paoli Memorial Hospital, USA. They all had undergone gallbladder surgery, a fairly routine procedure. However, according to the researcher some patients took weeks longer to recover than others. In an effort to find out why, he started a study and the study showed that patients who had a room that had access to natural light and a view of the courtyard recovered faster than those who had a brick wall as their view.
This study has led scientists and artists alike to wonder what it is about nature that we find so healing?
The answer is fractals, which are naturally occurring patterns that are repeated throughout nature and our bodies like romanesco broccoli or the bronchi in our lungs. These little beauties are thought to be the reason why things like architecture, art or scenery appeal to us. Although we don’t notice these patterns, our subconscious mind does, and what do all human brains love? Repetition! We are predisposed to feeling at ease when we are surrounded by things we understand and know.
Fun fact: Fractals are also called the fingerprints of nature because of thier consistent yet unique feature in almost anything natural.
Even before Benoit Mandelbroit coined the term ‘fractals’ humans were instinctually imposing their love of symmetry and patterns on buildings. Take the Hindu temples called the Shikharas for example, the intricate structure was made tolook like a mountain with its alternating surfaces and flawless symmetry. It is no surprise that the Shikhara temples have become a major tourist attraction. This is a living and breathing example of how humans have been inspired by fractals since the dawn of time.
Studies have also found that a deliberate focus on fractal patterns promotes relaxation and lowers cortisol levels by 60%. When you take a walk, you will have the opportunity to observe these patterns in the landscape. The world is full of interesting things to see, you can boost your wellbeing by spending some time in your garden or even during the cold winter months by sitting by a window and soaking up some rays.