Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #148: Spots and Dots

Everything starts from a dot.

Wassily Kandinsky

Ann-Christine has given us a marvelous challenge this week. She says it so well: spots and dots are two little words that have great meaning and importance.

Wassily Kandinsky explains–“everything starts from a dot”—not only in art, but in life itself. In this image, you can see a mosaic created on a grand scale. Metaphorest by Tracy Van Duinen was awarded 2nd place in the Artprize competition in 2009. The mixed media mosaic at 98 East Fulton Street is on permanent display in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. I love how the artist created such a wonderfully human expression from pieces of reflective glass.

Mosaic, Art Prize, Grand Rapids, MI

A line is a dot that went for a walk.

Paul Klee

Here are two works of art that contain dots–the Alexander Calder sculpture on the left and some graffiti in a local park in New Hampshire. The Calder sculpture called “Blunt Tail Dog” is a fun and eccentric version of “man’s best friend.” On the right, the graffiti artist uses dots and spots to suggest eyes, a nose, and maybe even smoke.

A photograph is a universe of dots. The grain, the halide, the little silver things clumped in the emulsion. Once you get inside a dot, you gain access to hidden information, you slide into the smallest event. This is what technology does. It peels back the shadows and redeems the dazed and rumbling past. It makes reality come true.

Don DeLillo

This last piece of art was featured in the Art Prize competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2015. The woman’s image appears to be made of spots and dots. But in fact, this work has two elements. The portrait of a woman was painted realistically, but it was placed behind a mesh screen. The effect was fascinating.

Art Prize at the GRAM, 2015

I have had a lot of fun looking for spots and dots in my archives. Ann-Christine also has me thinking of some of my favorite clothing that featured cheerful polka dots. And didn’t some ancient societies use symbols with spots and dots in their hieroglyphs–like the Egyptians? And didn’t prehistoric artists use spots and dots in their drawings in the Lascaux caves–for example? She’s right. These very simple symbols have a very long history, many meanings, and many uses in our world.

Egyptian Funerary Headdress. The Art Institute of Chicago.

A special thanks to Amy, for last weekโ€™s beautiful “Gardens” challenge. Your posts featuring gardens from around the world were a visual delight. You had me thinking of the gardens I’ve loved and the serenity they inspire. We hope you’ll join us again this week for Ann-Christine’s “Spots and Dots” challenge. And next week? Tina will lead us for LAPC #149, so be sure to stop by her site next Saturday at noon. Until then, have a wonderful creative week and please stay safe.

82 replies »

  1. So many fabulous interpretations of this theme, Patti. Mosaics are great examples and I especially love that one, but the dots that make up photos are just as fascinating. The painting behind the mesh is wonderful ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Jo. I’m delighted you like this one. The “mesh lady” was huge–and mesmerizing. I was sorry it didn’t win an award. The mosaics are always a treat, aren’t they? I hope all’s well with you. Enjoy the warm weather! We’re slowly catching up to you!


  2. Patti, since I love ancient Egyptian things I particularly like that last one, but the first one with the mirrored/refletctive mosaic and the one behind the mesh are also fascinating. Philadelphia has a number of murals made like your first shot and I’ve always enjoyed them as well although if in direct sunshine, they must be blinding!!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Frank. It is fascinating, isn’t it? How we all have different interpretations. I love that. It’s one of my favorite things about these challenges. Thanks so much for your kind words about the “journey!!” I hope all’s well with you.


    • Hi, Yvette. Thanks! I would have loved to study art history in school and worked in that field. It’s so interesting that we used to think so narrowly about career choices way back. You must have studied art/art history. Right?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi – well I studied mostly on my own as a way to come alive – but I did study theatre arts in high school – specialized “magnet” school that allowed me to see dozens of plays/musicals a year – go to art shows and be part of school performances – but it was more hobby learning for me but I was able to teach art for five years

        and while I loved it – I am truly glad that it was not my main career focus – when i was considering it – an art teacher at the high school level has a factory style approach to teaching (at least the jobs I looked at and the ones that payed decent)

        anyhow, I am vey “lucky” (blessed) because teaching in higher ed has given me a chance to tap into past art studying and bring in more – for example, some of the psychology classes I teach allow us to have a museum field trip.

        and so Patti – you are right about the narrow career choices back then – but in my very humble opinion – you might not have missed out on anything at all..
        In the years I was heavy in the art field – so many were snobs or not an inclusive bunch – now your beautiful energy might have brought something rich to the field – but I guess I just realized that even if we love a subject = it might not have been better to have it part of our career.

        a good example of this comes from two amazing authors that I like
        one is Peter Drcuker (that management guru many folks know as he helped GM and some say was the first business consultant) – well did you know he loved collecting Japanese art and some say as he aged – he was an expert in that genre –
        that reminds me that the arts are there for our lapping up – especially as we age and can find what area we love – then we jut dive in with a nice hunger –

        the second guy is Paul Muchinsky – a distant mentor for me (he died in 2015) and he wrote the best “I-O Psychology” book and was just well worded (hard to do for some scholars who become verbose and stuffy) anyhow, the funny thing is that Paul Muchinsky’s legacy now has been his “pin” collection – he was an avid collector of pins and that likely kept him alive!!

        my point – still plenty of time to lap up the arts – in blog posts – in visits to exhibitions and shows – and doing your own exploring and creating

        Liked by 1 person

      • You make very good points, Yvette about following our passions, no matter what our age. Yes, I know Peter Drucker, but Paul Muchinsky is new for me. I love the idea of a pin collection!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi patti, when I showed some Gen Z students the pin collection they were lie “what???” It was so foreign to them. Reminded me that culture evolves so quickly in some ways


  3. Terrific exploration of dots Patti – loved the little red dog and the woman behind the screen. So interesting to see the many interpretations of the theme. Also loved your quotes this week.Wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Tina. Many thanks! There were several Calder sculptures in Grand Rapids, but that one was my favorite. Then again, I love most things involving dogs! And the woman behind the screen was fascinating. It was a large portrait and very powerful. I hope you’re having a great week! I’m guessing you’re going to the PGA? Enjoy!


    • Hi, Miriam. Thank you! I think Klee’s quote would be a great start to a children’s book. I love art/art history. In my next life, I’ll be an art historian….I hope all’s well and you’re getting to spend time with your grandchildren.


    • Oh, yes, IJ. The halftone process. I didn’t think of that. But I did think of those wonderful cartoon-type drawings by Lichtenstein and Warhol. All those amazing dots make wonderful images. I wish I had some photos of them!! Thanks for stopping by. I hope all’s well with you. I always appreciate your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes that’s right, I didn’t think of those two. I thought that Lichtenstein’s dots were trying to suggest the multicolour halftone process that comics used. And Warhol’s had the dots of a screenprint. Maybe he did use screenprint, I don’t remember.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Sheetal. I’m delighted!! You know how to make me smile. Yes, they were fabulous in person…especially the woman behind the mesh screen. I was stunned by it. And the mosaics are a real treat. I was fortunate we had an art festival in town every year. We saw some great art that way. I’m always on the hunt for more. I’m sure you are, too. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Patti, you really have outdone yourself this time! This is so perfect, so great, so interesting. I just love it. But, as you are an art lover, I expected you to somehow use this for the post. I am also so happy for every different interpretation this week – the variety is amazing! Love all of these, Patti, but the mesh lady – breathtaking!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, John. Oh, believe me. I was scratching my head for a while and then I “took a walk” through my archives!! Thank goodness I found these images!!๐Ÿ˜€. I’ll take a look and see what you came up with. I love the variety this week.


  5. yeah, it’s so impressive that our brain is able to construct complex images from simple forms (dots) like i.e. in mosaic or newspaper images assembled from zillions of black dots (or in your Art Price image) ๐Ÿ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Patti

    Your Paul Klee quote is a delight: A line is a dot that went for a walk. I have been a big fan of Calder since childhood โ€“ the airport in Pittsburgh had a stunning Calder mobile – and it was great to see that you included him in your post. The Egyptian piece was unexpected and fit perfectly.

    Hereโ€™s my offering for this weekโ€™s challenge:

    Beautiful Great Blue Heron Gets the Point (Memory Lane Nbr 1)

    Best, Babsje

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Andy. I loved that quote, too. Sometimes I check to make sure that the person really said that comment. I hope so! It’s a great quote. Glad you enjoyed the photos, too.๐Ÿ˜€


  7. What an interesting response to the challenge. Your quotes are perfect. I smiled as I read the definition of the line. The woman behind the mesh is brilliant as well as the quote that goes with that. If I could see things in dots, maybe I could paint or draw and get things into proportion. But my mind doesn’t work that way. That means I can enjoy other’s abilities. These are amazing displays of artist’s abilities to see spots before their eyes. ๐Ÿ™‚


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