The Natural world and the Art world


This is Damien Hirst’s artwork, entitled “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living”

Artists have always taken inspiration from the natural world. The depiction of animals has been part of religion, myth and taboo in the oldest of human cultures.

Capturing an animal in movement is a real challenge much less translating this into animation. Canadian animator Norman Maclaren spent weeks in chicken sheds drawing chickens and produced this film showing their essential movements.Picasso commented on the film exclaiming “at last something new”

Task 1

You will need: access to animal as a willing subject or a computer with internet access, pencils and paper

Draw an animal in movement. If you don’t have a pet, follow these links to a virtual zoo tour.
Try to draw freely, you may find that you draw many quick sketches on the same sheet. It is important not to be too precious.

For a long time, drawing was essential for the study of nature. Books known as floralegiums displayed intricately drawn wildlife as a way to document it for science. This is a really good site for online biology books (it’s available in German and English)

Elizabeth Blackwell00.jpg

The art and science of taxidermy is an example of conservation and preservation of wildlife. you can find out more about it from here

Task 2

You will need a plant that is half as small as size of the paper you are using, pencils and paper

Draw the plant at least twice as big as it is in real life. The emphasis is accuracy to the texture of the surfaces. Whether gloss leaves or prickly spines of a cactus.

Task 3

You will need: reference material pencils and paper

Take a plant or animal and make it into a pattern motif. You may use the animals or plants drawn above or create something new from reference material (books magazines newspapers internet) Think how you will simplify the shapes you have into the motif (repeating design) or your pattern. As a source of inspiration, you could draw on first nation north west american art work

Mary Ebbets Hunt - Chilkat blanket.jpg

or the work of William Morris and the Kelmscott press.

William Morris design for Trellis wallpaper 1862.jpg

Task 4

Reference material, pencils paper, and coloring tools/materials

Design a poster that draws attention to the destruction of the environment and promote biodiversity. It must depict one animal and one plant, the design can feature drawings which can be abstracted, simplified, caricatured or drawn realistically. You can use reference material from books, magazines papers or the internet. decide who your audience will be and aim the poster at this group.