Sunday, March 13, 2016

Artists as Scientists: Observing, drawing and 'dissecting' a clementine

Artists as Scientists: Observing, magnifying, drawing and dissecting a clementine

A young artist carefully observing and drawing a

 clementine, like  a scientist. 

Recently, fourth graders have been exploring the connections and similarities between artists and scientists. 
Artists have a great deal in common with scientists.
• Observe carefully.  • Notice details. •Draw what they see, they do NOT make it up.•Slow down their eyes.•Draw from many different angles to inform.•Sometimes, like Leonardo Da Vinci they add notes to a drawing.• Often there is NO setting, just the object. • If there is a setting it is created to inform the viewer.
We discussed the phrase, ‘ A picture is worth 1000 words’, how it can be especially important to a scientist?

We learned that  in the “ olden days” before cameras most scientists had to be skilled as drawers, so they could record what they observed.  Leonardo Da Vinci and his scientific journals are an example of a masterful artist/ scientist.We looked at some of his scientific drawings and noticed many things. We had a rich discussion on everything from how he drew with a quill pen and also that his drawings all had explanatory notes in Italian.
We discussed how today, even with photography being so easy, that scientists sometimes still draw a specimen so they can really observe and remember the details of it. 
We then did our own drawings as artist/ scientists using a clementine. Each student was given their own clementine to examine. 
We then made a “ Do Not Look” to help us create “ blind contour drawings” that forced us to see the clementine, and NOT worry what the drawing looked like.
Students working with a " do not look"  which keeps one from looking at one's drawing, and allows one to focus on the SEEING.  Often this is called a blind contour drawing.

We then did observational drawings of the clementines, like a scientist, looking a the clementine and our drawings, and then  use a jeweler’s loupe to magnify it and see more the details. Finally, we will use wipes to clean our hands and use a 3rd piece of paper ( with a note on the back) to draw the clementine as we “ dissect” or eat it. This phase was very fun but we have to be careful to actually draw while we ate, and some kids were so engrossed in the earlier phases they did not get far. But the photos below show how engaged students were in the process. Everyone said they noticed details they never had; the loupes really added to the adventure.
Practicing using a jeweler's loupe. Everything looked very different.

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