Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Art and Science
Taking an art class is a different world from the science world in which I got my BA. Yet there are similarities. Both world teach techniques. Both worlds have expected results as well as surprises. And both worlds teach a new way of seeing.
The first time I saw a scientific article with a title like Calcium Transport in the Muscles of Bullfrog Tadpoles, I laughed. The extreme specificity of the headline surprised me. Now, I understand exactly why the headline was so specific. Calcium transport varies by tissue, by species, by temperature, and other factors. Anybody studying calcium transport knows which details are important for the question being asked. Until I understood the question, I did not understand the answer. The world is more fascinating when I have a sense of what goes into the inner workings of life.
Painting asks different questions. A key question is how can paint be used to represent a natural object? I didn’t know how to look at natural objects in order to see all the colors. To help us learn to see, our teacher had us paint first in white, black and grey. Then we added shades of grey. Finally we were allowed to use colors. Then we went back to shades of grey to learn about warm and cool shades of grey. And now, we are using full color again, attempting to paint even more of what we are now able to see.
With my new way of seeing, I found myself making my dog sit while I stared at a squash somebody had placed on a front door step. This squash had at least 20 shades of orange, plus shades of grey. The world is more fascinating now that I can see more of what I look at.