Golden Section Grid

I have been exploring elements of the Golden Section for at least ten years. The Golden Section is a mathematical representation of harmonic ratios found in the natural world. We generally associate the Section or Golden Mean with the ancient Greeks, but the use of the proportion predates that cultural period. I use its ratio and related harmonics as visual markers in my layouts. Its universal quality of harmony and strong relation to our natural world sustains my interest in this idea.

See also:

Square-root-of-five rectangle & Golden Section Shell Studies

One of the unique qualities of the Golden Section is its reciprocal attribute. It seemed like a natural extension to overlay it transparently to make a grid. I draw this Golden Section grid on the painting surfaces before the image develops. Following is the method I used for the painting Melt.

Layer 1

Golden Section with Golden Spiral

Layer 2

Mirror image of the first Section (blue)

Layer 3

The new layer is super imposed in "flipped" orientation. For visual clarity, I have not included a spiral for this portion of the diagram. The first two layers with illustrated spirals are faded into background.

Layer 4

Final Section is layered in a "flipped" and "reverse" orientation to the original, first layer.

The four layers of the Golden Section transposed on top of each other is illustrated below on the painting Melt. I use this system and variations in nearly all of my recent work.


Another example is in the painting Dissolution, where four Golden Rectangles are superimposed on top of each other providing points of reference for the layout. The first rectangle with the spiral is colored-coded blue; the red spiral represents the reverse orientation; green and yellow represent Golden Sections upside down (without the spiral illustrated). The imagery of silos and trees lie between the two horizontals that are created by this grid. Typically, I draw this grid on the painting surface and draw the scene on site.


With artist's overlay of Golden Section


2005, 30 x 48" - Private Collection