Portrait poster showing 38 horizontal bands in candy colours.

International Women’s Day 2021

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. To celebrate I’ve created a Lego interpretation of one of my favourite artists more recent works. 

‘Rose Rose’ by Bridget Riley was a commemorative poster for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The 38 horizontal bands in candy colours are said to mirror the dynamism of Olympic sport and the physical lanes of an athletic track.

Other than the minimalist aesthetic, what primarily appeals to me is the pink-hued colour palette. Professional sport is rarely paired with these pastel colours and it makes a very welcome change.

About the artist

Bridget Louise Riley CH CBE (born 24 April 1931) is an English painter known for her singular op art paintings. She lives and works in London, Cornwall and the Vaucluse in France.

Bridget Riley Wikipedia article

Lego vs original comparison

Interpretation process and challenges

It was a fun challenge to inspect each of the 38 stripes in isolation and determine a near colour match for suitable Lego elements. I’m happier with some colours than other, the greens and blues are a bit off, but the pinks and oranges look closer to me.

As a starting point I did attempt to use some automated Lego mosaic tools (i.e. Studio), but the results were unsatisfactory and I decided to do it the old-fashioned way and just eyeball it.

BrickLink Studio software

I tried my best to preserve the same aspect ratio and only use commonly found elements (700+ total). My final interpretation measures 34 × 45 studs (27 × 36 cm) and the original poster is 70 × 87 cm.

Lastly, when it came to rendering the finished piece I was initially a little disappointed that the exported image colours changed dramatically from the editor preview and appeared washed-out. I actually used a screen grab from the editor preview for the image comparison as it reflected my colour choices more accurately.

However with a little further experimentation I ended up rendering a rotated viewpoint (-30° X & 60° Y) that I quite liked. This render is what I used in the blog post banner image on top of a gradient between the first and last stripe colours.

Scottish National Gallery exhibition

A Bridget Riley retrospective exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery, in partnership with the Hayward Gallery, ran from June to September 2019. It showed early paintings and drawings, black-and-white works of the 1960s, and studies that reveal her working methods.

‘Bridget Riley’ exhibition

I was fortunate enough to visit the exhibition September 1st with my good friend Jackie. It was an impressive show, the large-scale and precision of the artworks blew my mind. I particular enjoyed reading all the preliminary notes and sketches showing a vast amount of preparation and careful consideration.

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International Women’s Day 2021 resource list

In honour of International Women’s Day 2021,  Vicki Madden (Digital Safety Support Officer) at my University has created a reading list comprising books, articles and essays seeking to empower women in the digital age and shed light on women’s online experiences.

N.B. This IWD resource list is open-licensed (© The University of Edinburgh, CC BY SA NC).

IWD resource list


‘Rose Rose’ 2011 © Bridget Riley.

Fair use rationale:

  1. It is a historically significant artwork.
  2. The image is only being used for informational and educational purposes.
  3. The image is readily available on the internet.
  4. The image is a low resolution copy of the original artwork and is unsuitable for commercial use.