Educational Art Comparison

“A Parallel between WATER BRASS ART (WBA) and the Art of Polarized Light Microphotography of Chemical Crystals”
By Isis St Germaine, Water Brass Art collaborator & manager
Following threads in life and making connections have added special meaning to my day-to-day life. It has become a way of being. Some time ago, I came across micro-crystal photography; just looking at some of the images seemed to play a tune, familiar enough to suggest that there was a particular reason besides the pure entertainment of taking in visually pleasing art.
To my knowledge, Water Brass Art is a new art form. Before its quiet birthing in 2008, which was due to the ingenious experimentation of its inventor, John Byde, it was not yet known that running water on a brass sheet for a few hours can imprint colourful images! …natural water being the hand, the brush and the colour; brass being the sheet of artist paper to present the results.
In my collaboration with and privileged training by my partner, the Artist himself, I have witnessed time and time again that placing a small sheet of brass underwater in a stream, for example, is enough to produce magical results. This process is rather ‘simple’, the hard part being later; the Artist creating the correct environment.
The lighting is key to capture photographically the colourful wonders already ‘written’ on the plate of brass. Well, macro-photography is an art by itself.
When one observes the brass surface coming out of water, the patterns and colours are already there -obvious to the human eye, there is no sign of corrosion or rust on the metal as logically expected or imagined by some; just a beautiful dance of all kinds of shades of colour forming abstract images echoing the language of the Water, their creator.
To continue, it is inevitable to the interested thirsty mind to wonder about the underlying mechanics of Water Brass Art; its alchemy, its science, its Gift? What forces on earth create it?
Some time ago, we visited the Scanning Electron Microscopy Centre/Institute for Materials Research (at Leeds). This brought forth little insight or enlightenment as to what is happening ‘behind the scenes’. It seems that researchers had never seen anything like it; wording explanations in their report ranged from ‘discolourisation’*… (!) to ‘contamination’ to ‘corrosion’.
*The colourful image below, as taken by the inventor of WBA, is image no.6 called “Sacred Dance”, from gallery-1 (2009) ~
~ see
This is an excellent example of a picture taken while Water still running on Brass.
6) Sacred Dance
It feels to me that the divine alchemy of Nature cannot yet be explained in the third-dimensional laboratory. Still, while looking at a Water Brass Art plate surface through a standard microscope, many tiny crystals can be seen quite easily suggesting that water somehow finds a way to transfer its crystalline structure to the brass. Being already sensitive to the majesty of the world of Stones & Crystals**, it has been my heart-felt view that this has been so, which brings me to discuss why I was so driven to explore further the field of micro-crystal photography.
**The macro-image below as taken by the inventor of WBA, is image no.16 called “CrystalBrass”,  from gallery-1 (2012) ~
~ see
This is an example of a natural Labradorite Crystal (left) next to Water Brass Art (right).
16) CrystalBrass
Furthermore,  micro-photographs are images of microscopic scale and micro-photography is the art of creating such images. To read more on polarising microscopes, one can visit:
In this process of investigation, I became more inspired while reading the generous descriptions of technique by two highly respectable Artists in the area of Polarized Light Microphotography of Chemical Crystals.
My understanding is that ‘the Art of micro-crystal photography is about capturing natural patterns formed in home-grown chemical crystals by applying polarising light.’
To read more on home-grown/chemical crystals, you can visit:
The aforementioned Artists are:
Doug Craft, Artist and specialist also in micro photos of chemical crystals. His technique involves preparing chemical crystals on microscope slides and photographing through polarising microscopes.
To view his microphotography page, you can visit: (click on Artwork then on Microphotography)
Carol Roullard, Artist –
According to C. Roullard’s interesting blog on ‘Polarized Light and its Effect on Crystals’:
“With a standard microscope, the crystals are almost completely transparent, barely visible, but by using two polarizing filters, the crystals appear as brilliantly colored structures.” To read the Artist’s whole article, visit:
Also, other interesting pages on Micro-Crystal Art:
To summarise my tentative findings, once more it has been confirmed to me that life does bring proof of things in mysterious ways. Sometimes there are direct explanations and at other times, indirect is all that one receives until further information reveals itself.
Watching some of the images of the above artists, one can readily notice the connection – parallel – to some of the images of Water Brass Art.
What does this mean to me? That the whole process of producing micro photos of chemical crystals stands solid as possible proof that the Water Brass Art brass sheets contain natural tiny crystals gifted by Water.
After all, these crystals together with the Artist’s choice of lighting angles during photography are the main reason behind the beautiful colours that present themselves in Water Brass Art, which by the way, is a photoshop-free and edit-free art.
Thank you for reading this.
Comments are welcome.