Alma Duncan – Circle Packing

I discovered a cool artist at the Ottawa Art Gallery! Her name was Alma Duncan, and she was a gifted creator who mastered many artistic disciplines. Mixed among the nature images and portraits, I almost missed the personal significance of her “dot drawings” until I walked right up to them – then my eyes widened, and I realized I’d seen this before. Among her many subjects, Alma was fascinated by circle packing, freehand, with a pen. The results are gorgeous – I think they’re incredible. This is just a tiny, blurry excerpt from a series of quite large pieces – they have such a beautiful flow and rhythm I can’t take my eyes off them.

I wish I’d gotten a chance to know her, but she passed away in 2004. I bet she would have found some of my experiments intriguing.


Circle Packing

Why is circle packing sooooo hard? I feel like I’d need a PHD in Rocket Math to fully understand this stuff. I get that specialized knowledge requires highly specialized language, but how awesome would it be if Google Translate could convert from Differential Geometry to English. “Discretizations of holomorphic functions.” Auugh!

I figured out enough to do this, though!