I've often wondered how important the so called golden ratio really is in art.
It's one of those things that "experts" love to talk about ...but anyone who labels anything in art as a "rule" has me thinking "why?"....actually I must admit I wonder why? about a lot of rules...BUT that is another issue!
As art quilt makers it's important that we know which guidelines are really useful in designing...and which are more the result of one person repeating what another said, and another repeating that. Like the old story of the famous grandmother's recipe for roast turkey which involved cutting a 2" slice off each end of the beast. The family swore for years this was the secret to her perfect roasts, finally somebody asked the old lady the reason for this rule..."oh", she said, "it was to fit in the oven, I only had a small oven!". And cooking isn't the only place where strange superstitions and practices have built up over the years...maybe we're all turning round and round before we peck at the feeder like Skinner's chickens!!! And I want to know "why?"
But first....what is this Ratio anyway?
Well, here's the standard definition:
The Golden Ratio the result of dividing a line into two parts (part a and part b) in such a way that:
the longer part (a) divided by the smaller part (b) is also equal to
the whole length divided by the longer part (b)
There's only one number ratio that will do that and it's approximately 1.618033989...
It is exactly equal to (1+√5)/2 - if you're the mathematical kind...which I'm not...alas!
but mathematicians really love these special numbers!!! And in mathematics the 1.618 number turns up everywhere e.g. in a pentagon - hence the "magic" of the five pointed star...but I digress.
There are many books and articles written about the importance of this ratio in art, in architecture, in painting, in photography (photographers cling onto their Rule of Thirds almost as tightly as to their cameras), in poetry, in music and in nature. The Greeks revered it. Kepler said that in geometry there are 2 treasures: pythagorus and the Golden Ratio.
So last week I went to a couple of lectures by the Famous Calculus Professor (FCP), now retired and keeping his mind active by examining any claims as to the magic of numbers!!
However......also remember that one of those ratios in the image above was considered "more pleasing" than others.....and having a more pleasing outline would give your art work a head start....