Seive of Eratosthenes

seive 2

Seive number 2
This is my first painting of the Seive of Eratosthenes. So why is it called number 2? I’ll leave that question hanging there and you can do some homework and find out.

These paintings follow a very simple algorithm –
1. Divide the support into cells
1. Attribute each cell a number and decide on a prime limit and multiple limit, which could be the whole support or a number of cells.
2. Choose a gamut and decide how you will travel through the spectrum. (Which primary colours you will use and how you will mix them to take small steps through the range)
3. Ignore square number 1
4. Take the first available unpainted cell, attribute a colour to it, paint every multiple of that cell the same colour until you reach your multiple limit. If the cell is already painted, allow the previous colour to shine through the one you are using.
5. Are there any more blank prime cells within the prime limit? If yes go to step 6, if no go to step 7.
6. Mix up your next paint through the spectrum and return to step 3.
7. Finish

seive 5

Seive number 5

cylinders and prime numbers

Seive number 3. Cylinders and prime numbers.

Even though it is a most tedious way of going about a painting, the mixture of limitations and freedom allows for an infinite number of variations. Of course it may be easy to do on computer but that would limit the gamut and textures and would leave you with quite a cold and boring painting. Its more fun to throw in some inaccuracies and hand drawn lines because to me that is what art is about. No persian rug is perfect for a reason you know.

It seems a very simple and quite dull project written out like that, but the process of doing it has taught me a lot about numbers. Things that if I was a more intelligent person I could probably sit and think about and realise. Quite obvious in retrospect but things like the number of new prime numbers between a prime and its square. Where to find new primes, how its quite hard to tell the difference between ultramarine mixed with prussian blue and prussian blue with ultramarine.

Currently Seive number 3 is in a warehouse in Canada, hopefully they will let it out in time for me to show it at Bridges 2017 in Waterloo. I’ll update this post at a later date.


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