Copyright © University of Cambridge. All rights reserved.
'Painting Between the Lines' printed from http://nrich.maths.org/
In abstract or computer generated art, a real object is often
represented by a simplified set of shapes, lines or curves.
Take a look at the picture below:
The picture could be represented in an
abstract way using straight lines:
If you wanted to describe mathematically the line segments used to
draw this picture, all you would need to do is decide where to put
the axes and then work out the equations of all the straight
Here is a set of instructions to create an abstract representation
of another well known landmark (download as a Word
Now try this for yourself - choose an image, perhaps a photograph
of a famous location, or a famous painting.
Think how it might be broken down into shapes or segments of
Can you create a set of instructions for your picture?
Once you have created your instructions, give them to a friend to
Can you devise a way to describe mathematically each region so that
you can give instructions for colouring your image?
You may wish to use curves as well as straight lines. To explore
abstract art using more complicated mathematical functions, take a
look at Painting by
Have a go at creating your image using a graphing software package
such as Geogebra
Please send us any of your creations (together with your