Above is the science-style poster I put together for the Celebrate Tumamoc! open house the desert Lab will be hosting on the Hill the last two weekends of January 2012, Saturdays and Sundays 10am-5pm. That’s starting next weekend. The occasion is the 100 year anniversary of Arizona Statehood.
Did you know that a poem written by a woman is the reason Arizona became a state? You’ll hear it read sat the open house.
I’m putting up a small exhibit of some of the work from sketchers who have worked up here. There will be scientists with similar posters, explaining their research to the public. There will be live music, culture, and art. So they say. It’s all been done on almost no budget.
I’m inviting the Tumamoc Sketchers group to come up and talk to people who ask them universal questions like, “Why are you drawing that?” It will be walkers only–we won’t be able to drive up.
I’ll reproduce the poster text here:
Drawing is Seeing
“What is most compelling to me about the act of drawing is that you become aware, or conscious of, what you are looking at only through the mechanism of trying to draw it.
–Milton Glaser, from Drawing is Thinking
MOST PEOPLE THINK of drawing as something that artists do as a guide for a finished painting, and that only people born with a certain talent can draw.
The truth is that drawing is more like a meditation, a way of seeing with understanding. It’s a kind of thinking that is as important to learn as reading, writing or arithmetic. And anyone can develop it.
Drawing combines many brain functions. Some are subconscious, intuitive, and emotional. Others are highly rational and analytical. In fact, to many artists who use drawing from life as a practice, the final result is not important. What is important is developing attention, the power of observation. It’s an end in itself.
It’s not very different from the kind of focused, yet open-ended attention that scientists have lavished on Tumamoc Hill for over a century–since the creation of the Carnegie Desert Botanical Laboratory in 1903. Once they are aware of this rich history, artists usually feel a kinship of spirit with these early scientists.
Drawing develops the creative mind. In a sense it is like learning to read; one can learn to “read” a landscape. It takes time to pay attention like this. One needs to step slightly out of the everyday world for an hour or two. This applies to anyone, not just a person who derives their identity from “being a artist.”
It’s a lot like listening to another person. You pay attention, discarding your pre-existing ideas, until your friend has finished speaking. Simple, but not easy. One must study a landscape as though listening with the eyes, as if the scene itself had the ability to speak.
The process cannot be explained completely. You just have to draw until you see the difference between noticing something and perceiving it in a deeper way. And, after drawing one thing, you will start to notice other things.
A group of artists calling themselves the Tumamoc Sketchers meet regularly on Saturday mornings at Tumamoc Hill to test another theory: drawing is fun.
–Paul Mirocha Contact Paul to get the mailings for Tumamoc Sketching: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click link to download the: Celebrate Tummaoc! event flyer