Woodland Arabesque


This series is something of a diversion from my usual route. It’s digital art, and it incorporates non-figurative and stylised elements. It’s also full colour, which may surprise some who are familiar with my recent work.

The pictures were created for an online exhibition by Artikinesis, a small group that I am part of. Entitiled Arabesque, the theme of the exhibition is inspiration from the art and culture of western Asia, the homeland of Islam. Islamic art is rich in pattern, and often makes use of stylised natural forms, especially plants. I decided to make use of British flora – not a new idea by any means – and to link the series to my main strand of work by restricting myself to woodland plants.

Because the exhibition was digital, I thought it would be appropriate to make my contributions digital in nature. They are all vector artworks, a mathematical term that relates to how the pictures were made and how they are stored. Basically, a computer can “see” images in one of two ways: it can either know what the colour of every pixel is (this is the case for the vast majority of digital images, including digital photographs; they are known as bitmapped images) or it can use a set of mathematical instructions to redraw the image anew every time. The latter are known as vector drawings. I used CorelDRAW to create these pictures; other vector graphics programs include Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape.

The series consists of ten pieces, eight of which form a subset of square images based on one or two woodland flowers. One of the exceptions is a rectanglar picture of a non-flowering plant, bracken (see top of page). The other is a “Woodland Carpet” that collects together all of the plants featured in the series.

Woodland Carpet, vector drawing