Study of Basic Shapes

After all the basic shapes (sphere, cone, cylin­der, and cube) had been drawn sep­a­rately, we cre­ated a com­po­si­tion of all of them.

Do you know the song writ­ten by David Mal­lett enti­tled “Gar­den Song”? I heard it sung by John Den­ver on The Mup­pet Show years ago and adopted it as my per­sonal theme song:

Inch by inch, row by row,
Gonna make this gar­den grow.
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fer­tile ground.

Inch by inch, row by row,
Some­one bless these seeds I sow.
Some­one warm them from below
’Til the rain comes tum­bling down…

I not only think of it while I’m in the gar­den, but sing it to myself when I need encour­age­ment or inspi­ra­tion. Every new endeavor is like sow­ing seeds and help­ing them grow. This song helps me in untested social sit­u­a­tions where I hope to make new friends. I sang it to myself as a silent prayer when I started home­school­ing Johann. Now I am think­ing of it again as I am tak­ing more art classes and get­ting more seri­ous about becom­ing a sci­en­tific illustrator.

Twisted Leaf Exercise 1

This exer­cise is done to make twisted objects look three-dimensional on a two-dimensional sur­face. We had a real leaf that had been delib­er­ately twisted and pinned to foam. Rib­bon can also be used for this exercise.

My teacher, Jan Pren­tice, is won­der­ful. I hope to be as good as she is some­day. I like how she phrases things while she’s giv­ing advice on our work in progress. We are “explor­ing the shapes”, “find­ing the high­lights”, and “chas­ing the shad­ows”. It’s encour­ag­ing. We are being given per­mis­sion to play, dis­cover, and have fun with it like lit­tle chil­dren at imag­i­nary play.

The same twisted leaf exercise with a different leaf and changed orientation.

The same twisted leaf exer­cise with a dif­fer­ent leaf and changed orientation.

Sadly, today was the last day of the Fun­da­men­tals of Sci­en­tific Illus­tra­tion class. All of our draw­ings for this class have been exer­cises to learn and prac­tice tech­niques. I’ll spare show­ing you my value scales, but thought I’d share the last four assign­ments we’ve done. I am in the mid­dle of the last draw­ing, so I won’t post that one just yet. And then there is the final project with a cri­tique to be done over the next month.

The cur­rent pro­gram is a set of art classes offered by Con­necti­cut Nat­ural Sci­ence Illus­tra­tors and the Yale Peabody Museum. There is talk of these classes, along with new ones, being turned into an accred­ited sci­en­tific illus­tra­tion pro­gram as early as this com­ing fall. Either way, I plan to con­tinue to take what classes are offered until I’ve taken them all, but going through the accred­ited pro­gram would be nice…

Pulling weeds and pick­ing stones,
Man is made from dreams and bones.
Feel the need to grow my own,
’Cause the time is close at hand…

Jan brought us pink tulips to draw and usher in spring, while putting our shading and drawing exercises into practice.

Jan brought us pink tulips to draw and usher in spring, while putting our shad­ing and draw­ing exer­cises into practice.

Dur­ing the classes, I felt out of my ele­ment at times, but that’s been good for me. Jan is def­i­nitely push­ing me for­ward. She is good at get­ting me to go just beyond my com­fort zone with­out going too far, so stretch­ing for the new goal isn’t so scary. I was sur­prised when she said I have a native tal­ent she wants to see me cul­ti­vate. That meant a great deal to me. So I am try­ing to be less of a per­fec­tion­ist, give myself time to learn, and grow inch by inch, row by row with my art.