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Can Our Sketch Art Be Utilized Other than Online?

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#1 markseibold


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Posted 16 April 2009 - 05:22 PM

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I wonder now after providing an hour lecture at a local college planetarium yesterday to a full class of students, what others might offer as to how to utilize our astronomy sketch art. As I discussed at length, the difference of producing sketch art as a learning process and as opposed to taking astrophotographs, I received many words of praise, curiosity about how to do this art and in a long following question and answer session, the question came up of selling my originals as I receive these same requests online frequently. This one question stood out yesterday from one of many students at the end of my talk: "What would you do with all of this art if you were given unlimited resources?" I think I answered that I would not sell it, but that I would continue to lecture like today, traveling to as many places as I could, as I believe that it is important for education to allow students to see the potential to meld the arts and the sciences.

I also attended a large public Town Forum a couple nights ago in the Pearl Art District in Portland Oregon, my home town, one of the hottest art districts on the west coast where they now ask how to spend a 20 million dollar grant on the arts. The mayor announced the beginning of the presentation to ask for the publics input on the arts and also in hopes to draw a little of the sciences to this. I personally introduced myself to the mayor after the forum and talked of my lectures that I can do for students.

I would like to ask for any suggestions and words of wisdom from others here in CN.

Thank you,

My CN Sketch Gallery, other awarded astrophotogaphy, etc

#2 vennard


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Posted 23 April 2009 - 08:44 AM


After a bit of revision…

In trying to answer to your question on the use of sketching (art) and the sciences I would like to state the obvious, which you alluded to in your question, that when combining the two diverse disciplines of science and art, art becomes a, or more precise, THE learning tool.

I have always wrestled with the photo vs. drawing arguments and that ‘with photography it is easier and more exacting’ in that the recording is ‘reality.’ And, what can art do that photos can’t show better? Well being a art kinda’ guy for many many years now, I can only point out illustrated parts breakdowns, exploded and overlay cut away views and special time line drawings, or showing all sides of an object at the same time in one image and how one might portray these kind of ‘real images’ with a camera. I suppose I could come up with others with a little thought, like things that aren’t there anymore but we have seen and know about.

So what is it I am trying to say? I have found from quite a bit of my art that an intimate knowledge of the exact nature of my subjects are brought to bear on my awareness as I work on the various parts of the image. The science/ learning part of art…

To whit a recent example. After presenting the sketch from a photo (isn’t that a hoot for irony) that I posted on the Sketching forum a couple of weeks ago I did another of Hercules and Atlas, a pair of fairly nondescript craters (the drawing can be seen in the Images section at the bottom of the forums if you enter ‘vennard’ as search parameter) and only days later came across an unidentified photo of the moon with the same two craters from a different angle and time of moon. There was great pleasure to be able not only to identify the location but to also quickly see the differences between the two images. Something I believe almost all the photographers out there would have some difficulty doing as there is little interaction between the photographer and his subject, other than a bit of a studied look during processing. I don’t mean to besmirch the abilities of seeing by photographers at all, but in doing photography myself I found I was looking at different things, paying attention to composition and exposure time to get clarity and aesthetics. In drawing an image I ‘looked’ and had to remember each intimate portion of what was needed to be reproduced. Those of you who do astrophotography are, in my estimation, as talented, if not more so in many respects, than many graphics artists, it’s we just produce a different result and having to draw it rather than take a photo inherently makes one focus (why do I keep using photographic terms?) on different aspects of the subject.

To whit another example from a bit longer ago. I am also a birdwatcher and was asked to do a drawing of a bird. Well as I thought about what to do I realized that I was going to have trouble rendering the position of the wing. I knew that there were shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands and fingers but just what went were and how they bent were a bit of a mystery. I had to find a book with a drawing of the bone structure of a wing to get it set in my mind so that it could be rendered properly. After rendering the drawing I now know how the wing works…

So the conclusion. For many people the physical process of making a sketch/drawing requires the mind pay attention to the subject matter and as a result a great amount of learning is achieved. I would recommend to all teachers of the various disciplines of science to make their students draw their subject. Not just look at a flower image and learn the labeling for the picture in the text, but to do the drawing and labeling themselves, make it an intimate experience. Talk about learning, I doubt it can get much better.
Can we use the art we create for other purposes? I suppose we can in a roundabout way by showing others what we have done and learned. Teach, encourage others to try and experience for themselves by sketching. The hook in the bait is they have to experience that moment when they consciously realize that they have learned from doing and the value of doing…something we can’t teach.


#3 markseibold


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Posted 23 April 2009 - 11:01 AM


Very well put. :bow: :bow: :bow: You should provide a lecture about this! There is an art initiative project currently in Portland about why art is important. The city is trying to substantiate how to apply many millions in funding for the importance of the arts for humanities sake.

I would like to direct them to see the CN sketch forum and how we as 'sketch artists' all contribute to the greater depth of the science of observational astronomy. We say we do it for fun but I personally believe that it is beyond fun. It is necessary to the human process of life.

Also your message here today is tantamount to this very understanding of this so needed artistic process in education.

Thank you for your kind thoughts and for posting,


#4 Tommy5



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Posted 24 April 2009 - 06:20 PM

very interesting thread and post, as a science teacher, i often have students sketch and label diagrams, some students are very visual learners and it really helps them to visualize the parts of a flower, cell, forearm,amoeba, whenever i have them look through microscopes i always have them sketch and label their observations, i think it helps them a lot, other teachers poo-poo the assignments saying that your just having the students waste time and "draw or 'color" but i think these assignments are at least as important as some of the endless written ones are, especially for students that are visual learners which would be most of them. :cool:

#5 frank5817



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Posted 24 April 2009 - 07:27 PM

Mark, Mike, Tommy5,

I agree with all of this. Drawing is seeing(sometimes it is seeing for the first time as in an "Aha moment").

Frank :)

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