It's time to get back to a blogging schedule. I'll try my best to do a post on Sunday, but if not then, Monday's the day!
So I have been working on these entomology prints after contacting some amazingly friendly entomologists (insect scientists) here on campus. Here is one of the best prints to come out of the first set. The insects depicted are called whiteflies, though they are not flies at all. They are tiny, really tiny, yet incredibly difficult to get rid of and a huge nuisance to farmers. Even though they are annoying, and potentially threatening to our food supply, I find them to be quite beautiful. Their delicate, pale yellow bodies, and their gossamer wings show more beauty than destruction, more fragility than robustness. The picture really doesn't do it justice, as I have used very transparent ink to create this print.
The next print I will be doing is about the bombardier beetle, a local species to southern Arizona. These little guys are amazing! In short, they use specialized organs in their behinds to spray a boiling-hot, ghastly smelling spray. They do this to defend themselves of course, since they are small and vulnerable. They are about the size of an uncooked grain of barley, but this spray is massive, and accompanied by a loud "pop" sound.
Here's a picture of one in action.
I don't have much experience with insects unfortunately' so trying to do a close up that does one of these creatures justice is very challenging. In order to get a better understanding of them, I decided to sculpt one.
This is not amazing by any standards, and it was somewhat hastily produced out of bent paperclips and some very old sculpy (basically grown-up play-doh). This was not just fun, but it got me thinking about how we learn. A lot of us enjoy seeing pictures and diagrams to help us understand, other enjoy learning through auditory information--podcasts, lectures and such--but how often do we learn by creating? This is different than learning by doing, the way one might learn to change a tire, or knit. Learning by creating, is where you teach yourself, and that's a lot of art. We teach ourselves how to draw, paint, sculpt, even though our teachers might give us some tips on how to hold a brush, or how to use a tool to get a desired effect; this is art school.
But do we implement that outside of art school? Of course I wouldn't recommend trying to fix a car or build a bridge without prior knowledge, one could really hurt oneself. Yet I wondered, how can learning by creating exist outside art school. Cooking comes to mind, we have thousands of great recipes from all over the world, but someone had to come up with them, and there surely were a lot of failures along the way. A lot of science works this way, the first people to figure out how to build telescopes had to create without any prior knowledge, and that's amazing. Anyhow, I digress, but I think this is something to think about.
Back to art shall we?
Here are some pictures of a cute little accordion book I made today, it's a little rough, but I think it will be a lot of fun to fill. I'm not sure with what just yet, but some sort of mathematical calculations.
Gotcha! It's going to be drawings of course!
Before this post gets too long, I want to share some of the illustrations I have been doing for the poem "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" by Wallace Stevens. I will do a post more about this when it is fished. Basically there are 13 stanzas, and an accompanying illustration for each, as well as a cover page. And these will all be put together in an accordion book! I think this is going to be one of my best projects so far.
Until next week!