Saturday, June 5, 2010


Experimenting with numbers. Detail photo of some of the totems I've been making.

I've been experimenting with numbers in my art for the past month and judging from the artworks I've found for this post there are many artists who love using numbers in their work. These are just the tip of the iceberg.

Numbers in Time. Steel, wood & oil by Randall Reid at the Nuart Gallery

Temperature Rising by Randall Reid at the Nuart Gallery. See website here.

Number 292. Photograph by spiers65 on Flickr. See photostream here.

Old Wood. Photograph by my.third.eye. on Flickr. See photostream here.

Lucky Star by Squeak Carnwath. See more at Danielle Wohl Fine Art here.

Quantum-Placeat by Jylian Gustlin. Website here.

It's all about the numbers by Maura Cluthe. See website here.

"I guess the best way I can describe these pieces is to say that they are kinda like puzzles that I am trying to solve. How they turn out and what they end up being is led by an idea or feeling. Sometimes it's an idea that I've drawn in my sketchbook or something that I've overheard, like a piece of conversation. Once I have the idea, I mix it with whatever elements I have lying around my studio that, when combined, solve that particular puzzle and thought. I usually have no idea how a piece is going to turn out or what it's going to look like until I really get into it -- and even then, it can change. I love that. I love knowing and the surprise that happens in the end." - Maura Cluthe
Dumpster Red by Sue Katz. Found here at P Farrell Artblog

nThe Number Five by Chad Davis. See Flickr photostream here.


  1. here i am, once again, saying that i love this piece that you've done. i seem to be stuck on those words when it comes to describing how i feel about your work. : )

    the other piece here that i especially like is Jylian Gustlin's... woo! that deep red 7 and 5!!


  2. I've got your number! several of them in fact! wait and see! enjoyed the post!

  3. These are all just great. Thanks for sharing. I like your blog and art and will definitely be back. I'm friend of Paula.

  4. I love every one of these, though Dumpster red might be my first pick. I feel another browsing session coming on.....

  5. I love the pieces that you picked out for this post Robyn. The previous post that I just read on my blogroll also talked about numbers. I just picked up a load of vintage brass script letters today in hopes of using them in my pieces. If they only had numbers!

  6. i always get an eyefull here robyn :) love seeing your new works and agree with the paragraph quote about working/puzzle never knowing how it will turn out. i'm sure that is how it is for many of us mixed media artists.
    another great post!

  7. I love your new work! What a rich group of art to look at and enjoy. Thanks Robyn!

    I have a wooden 6 inch ruler that was my Mom's. It's so delightful, worn and patinaed with age that I can't commit it to a particular piece. Instead I often use it in photographs.

  8. I like the way you have incorporated numbers into your art. The star at the end of this is neat too.

  9. Robin--thank you for another inspiring post. There's just something about numbers and letters in art that I find very intriguing.

  10. My favs are yours and the #5 star!!!

  11. Not only do you seem to have an endless stream of ideas for these posts...but somehow you are also able to search out the absolute best examples of the theme too!

  12. Very interesting Robyn! what drew you to #'s begin with? your amazing finds? I love the elements you've included in your exploration.
    I'm especially digging Squeak Carnwarth's piece!

  13. There is a certain fascination with numbers isnt there? As always a wonderful array of many favourites and I love your piece!!!

    Jacky xox

  14. j'aime le thème.. et les oeuvres..!

  15. Thank you for a great post, I use numbers in my collages sometimes and I am endlessly fascinated by them. I especially like 'Temperature Rising".

  16. More beauties...and from someone who normally steers well clear of numbers (having had to take my maths O level 3 times before passing!)

    ...but there again...

    ...they're just another set of symbols aren't they :-)

    (love the latest carvings BTW)

  17. Love your numbers review, particularly your panel. I'm always drawn to the sides of measuring jugs!

    Did you see my post? Hope you get your card soon!

  18. Delicious feast of images Robyn!
    Each of the works is deeply satisfying to behold. Your work makes me wish I could peep into your studio and watch you at work.... for that matter...explore your studio full stop!
    I agree with Pat who says thaat numbes and letters are very compelling...

  19. art propelled...propels me to yet another TO DO:
    i need to post my late brother michael works, and his play with numbers...the art spirit was his, working with his stubby fingers, his down syndrome sensibility, his freedom to flow with it...

  20. I will just ditto Seth's remark! xox

  21. Your choices are wonderful...from Squeak Carnwath to your great the numbers in work. Visited your flickr and was amazed at your favorites...just a few?!

  22. I don't know how you do it Robyn, but your work and these artists are marvelous. Thanks for being our exploring eye on the world. xox Corrine

  23. Thank you for a wonderful exploration into the world of numbers in art. Your piece is fabulous! I love the carved figure and the yellow splash across the side.
    I also love the dumpster red piece. Have a wonderful day, my son is graduating from high school today! roxanne

  24. You had me at hello...the number images are mesmerizing and the answers will change with each day's sunrise....Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  25. Your post once more sent me off looking and thinking about numbers, but it also sent me wandering through your blog posts again and loving what you do.
    I am not sure that personally I would like too many numbers in or on one of your lovely totems, I love your carved animals, birds and trees so much.

  26. Robyn,
    I enjoy the way you tie your work in with a theme and I'm very taken with your totem piece--what is the size?

    About Squeak: I remember seeing her first major show in '80 (does that date me or what?) at San Francisco MOMA and have loved it ever since. Check out: She collaborates with M.E. to create some amazing work.

  27. Thanks so much Robyn, I can't wait till I have time to explore each link. There's not a one of these that I wouldn't hang with devout pride,,yours being right at the top!
    I forever do not do math,,but am very intrigued by numbers.

  28. I would love to hang the Maura Cluthe piece and the one titled Lucky Star in my living room!

    I want to hear more about the inclusion of numbers in your totems.

  29. funny how numbers mean so much
    even when we're not using mathematics to explain or map the whirled
    my favourite is 9
    and i seek it out
    an collect images and rubbings

    thanks for all the numbers you collected here

  30. Lynne, I know the feeling about running out of adjectives to describe the art I love. Love, love, love. It eventually sounds hollow but its either that or refrain from commenting so I would rather repeat myself. Thank you! I keep going back to Jylian's work because I love it:-)

    Lyle, wait and see? Hmmmm... sounds ominous :-)

    Sarala, glad you popped in. Any friend of Paula's is a friend of mine.

    Annie, I can understand your attraction to Dumpster Red. Some of your photographs of found wood come to mind. Your zebra wood is a classic. Love that piece!

    Kim, the mention of vintage brass script is making me drool. Looking forward to seeing what you do.

    Paula, talk about an eyeful ..... I am so taken with your pieces hanging in the gallery.

    Thanks Leslie, my last assemblage has an old patinaed ruler in it. I love the rich colour of old wooden patinaed rulers.

    Lisa at Greenbow, the star has been a favourite for a long time now. I keep going back to Chad's photostream to look at the assemblage pieces.

    Pat, exactly! Numbers and lettering can be so powerful in art.

    Thanks Oogleboops!

    Seth, I could say the same about you :-)

    Karin, type trays filled with patinaed numbers and letters started my love affair with this theme many years ago. I am so enjoying Carnwath's work. Hannah has given me a link (in the comments) to some video clips about her work which adds more light to the way she works.

    Jacky, thank you so much!

    Elfi, I am so glad you enjoy the themes.

    Ian, yes i can understand your attraction to Temperature Rising. I'm constantly pulled in so many directions... sometimes to very detailed work and other times to simple abstracts. Love them all!

    Chris, maths is a whole different story! Not my strong point.

    Emma, I enjoyed your post!

    Sophie, peeping into any artist's studio is exciting! Almost like mind reading .... My outside studio is full of wild monkeys. I wonder what that says about me.

    Neva, I'm really looking forward to seeing your brother's work.

    Cat, xox

    Mary Ann, just a few .... I can't help myself!

    Corrine, I love research!

    Roxanne, what a big day for you! Congratulations to your son.

    Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives, numbers are intriguing aren't they?

    Penny, I probably won't spend too long including numbers in my totems but its a phase I had to go through. I'm trying to follow my gut feelings and still very much in the experimental phase.

    Hannah, thanks so much for the link. I've really enjoyed watching the Carnwath video clips. My totems range from 100cm(39) to 180cms(70 inches) in length.

    Babs, thank you! Math is not my strong point either but its all about the numbers :-)

    Stevie, we would have to debate about who gets what for our living rooms!

    India, one of my favourite rugby players in my youth wore the number 9 jersey so I have a soft spot for number 9.

  31. Robyn---Looks great with the numbers! Keep going.

  32. these are wonderful images to hurl a feeling of wonder at; what is logic? how does it all "add" up or not!

    your work with its bright use of yellow pleases so, too.

    as always, a great post... your blog is like a little gem, a magazine.

  33. Numbers, letters, measurements. I love them all. Marks that are recognizable and predictable, but also very different. I did a photo series of numbers...found on homes, mailboxes, telephone poles, I want to do more. Your totem numbers are so tactile as well as recognizable. love them.

  34. I so enjoy anything with typography integrated into it - I'm looking forward to seeing more of your numbers work!

  35. love them allespecially that number 5!

  36. Hi just catching up with your blog and as ever your finds are incredible. I must say I love the pods in the previous post very very much. Best wishes Blu x

  37. Thanks Toni!

    Mansuetude ..... a magazine?... well I love the sound of that!

    Kerri Jean, the photo series sounds great! please do more!

    Heather, watch this spot.

    Nicola, No 5 is an old favourite of mine.

    Blu, I enjoyed the pods too.

  38. Wonderful art and craft as always Robyn. I love the piece by Chad Davis and I shall enjoy checking out his Flickr site with a cup of coffee. Lucky Star is fascinating too. It reminds me a bit of a labyrinth. I think numbers, like letters, have a special significance to creative people.

  39. I also love numbers and use them in my work-- I am often asked what does number 2 mean or whatever number I have used- don't really have the answer except that I like numbers :-)
    even though red is not one of my colors I love the one here.. thanks for giving me some new artists to find out more about... and YAHOO FOR WORLD CUP SOCCERRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

  40. wonderful topic Robyn.. I love old printed numbers and wooden rulers..sometimes it's hard to give them up for a piece!
    Your assemblage is magnificent...I alwys enjoy seeing more of your work. That yellow license plate is perfect!

  41. Dear Robyn-I absolutely LOVE this piece of yours! Numbers and letters are just so fascinating and bring a graphic element all their own. I think it's the symbolic aspect that pulls me. I love the way you combined all the different elements. And all the examples you use are stunning and inspirational as always: Thanks!

  42. Cathy, I'm finding that everything has significance when one is an artist. Everything intrigues! Its wonderful to be constantly amazed by shapes, colour, symbols, negative space, positive space, concepts, themes ......

    Lisa, since doing this post I have stumbled upon dozens more artworks incorporating naumbers.

    Soraya, thank you. I'm enjoying playing with shapes and assemblages at the moment.

  43. Donna, I think I could find a reason to love just about any number ... and ........

  44. Always love your work and am astounded always by the great work you find on the net to post. Thanks.

  45. you always have the most amazing collection of outstanding art and images. this post is no exception. i LOVE numbers as well and thank you for this.

  46. I love your work! i will be in Joborg in April and Botwana. Do you have a gallery there? i have a showroom in New York as well.