Amanda Jolley

Reflection on pattern and abstraction of the subconscious

This summer at Encausticamp, the seven instructors will be presenting a collaborative exhibit. Over the next several weeks, each instructor’s offering to this exhibit will be expounded and revealed on Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch’s blog. Michelle Belto began the reveal by not only sharing her own intriguing process, but with glimpses of the beautiful panels she produced. Begin the journey here:

My process is shared this week on Patricia’s blog, and I will be sharing them here as well. And so I begin…

Michelle Belto did a wonderful job introducing you to the parameters set for our collaborative show. With Seven Instructors, Seven Colors and Seven 7×21 Ampersand Encausticbords, the theme naturally flowed, Seven Degrees of Connection. The number seven (7) has deep spiritual significance in many places. There are 7 main Chakras or energy centers of the body. As told, the 7th day of creation is the day the Creator rested and declared all creation good. Seven days complete a week. Seven represents perfection, completion, wholeness; and where there is the spiritual, there is math. Did you know “Seven, the fourth prime number, is not only a Mersenne prime (since 2³ − 1 = 7) but also a double Mersenne prime since the exponent, 3, is itself a Mersenne prime. It is also a Newman–Shanks–Williams prime, a Woodall prime, a factorial prime, a lucky prime, a happy number, the only Mersenne safe prime, and the fourth Heegner number.” Thank you, Wikipedia.

Isn’t that exciting?! It is for me.

Here’s another fun math fact for you from Wikipedia: A degree is a measurement of plane angle, representing 1⁄360 of a full rotation. 360 has 24 divisors, making it one of only 7 numbers such that no number less than twice as much has more divisors. Furthermore, it is divisible by every number from 1 to 10 except 7.

And that’s the thing that struck me, how much I love math and how it speaks to my work, and how many other of the instructors really don’t get all excited about math. We are each very different in our approach to creativity, to details, to the big picture, to how we process information, to life itself. But the seven of us combined, whoa, it’s kind of a magical gathering of minds. And I don’t mean to sound like we’re a special seven. I believe if seven random artists were gathered together to work on a collaborative show, the wholeness, the completeness of thought, would be represented in the seven of those artists. Each is so unique that bringing together of seven brings a completeness and balance to the approach. I haven’t seen what the others have created yet, but I believe there will be a beautiful dialogue between all 49 paintings that could only come from this place of wholeness.

And so my approach was initially geometric, sort of (I’m from the rare breed of math nerd who thrives on imperfection).


These initial marks, the beginning layer, represent our separateness, our unique approach to existence, our fitting together on the plane of this universe. The spaces between represent our functioning on this plane without cognition of the others, and how, even without cognition, our movement and shifts would affect the space of the others.

2 Comments on “Seven Degrees”

  1. Hi there! Saw your write-up amongst the other encaustic camp posts

    Snap – and since we are a rare breed I thought I ought to say hello – at least I used to be a maths nerd, enough to get my degree and then work in computing for too long – now I’m much more the messy artist. However I really do appreciate your overlapping layout – might have to let some of that geometric part of myself back in.

    7 is a lovely number – I especially like the phrase sailing the seven seas…

    …though I think something went wrong above as one of things my screen is showing is “23 – 1 = 7” which was presumably meant to read 2 cubed -1 is 7? May just be my browser…

  2. Thanks so much for catching the error! Yes, 2 cubed. It must have changed when I formatted the font.
    And so glad to know there are other math nerd artists out there. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.