This August at the Chessman Gallery visitors will be treated to the in-depth, detailed artwork of Natural Science Illustrator, Nora Sherwood. This exhibit shines a spotlight on local open spaces from a natural science illustrator’s perspective, with renderings that highlight the plants, insects, birds and animals that reside within these spaces. Thanks to the foresight and grit of Lincoln City’s powers-that-be, the City is fortunate to include 370 acres of open space within its boundaries; 28 areas with an amazing treasury of flora and fauna preserved to benefit us all.
This show will open with an artist’s reception from 5 to 7pm on Friday, August 11th and run until September the 4th at the Chessman Gallery inside the Lincoln City Cultural Center. This event is open to the public and Nora will be there to discuss her work and how these open spaces are jewels in our community.
“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we have been taught.”
― Baba Dioum
Nora Sherwood’s specific interest in natural science illustration dates back to a zoology class she took during my senior year of high school. The class consisted of four dissections (worm, grasshopper, frog, rat) with a heavy emphasis on drawing detailed diagrams of the systems found in each animal. Her favorite part, of course, was the drawing, but she was also amazed at the intricate anatomy – so much function packed tightly and efficiently in to such a small space!
Had she known that a career in natural science illustration was a possibility, she would have perhaps pursued it then. Instead she went in to geographic information systems and cartography – distant cousins of science illustration with the same end goal of better understanding our world. She enjoyed her career immensely, but always felt the tug of drawing and painting the natural world. Her “guilty pleasure” was looking at the websites of science illustrators and professional certificate programs like the one she eventually attended at the University of Washington. When circumstances allowed, she made the jump from high-tech, fast-paced careerist, to observant and methodical science illustrator and wildlife artist.
Her curiosity about the natural world, and her deep desire for us all to wake up and change our callous treatment of it, fuels her inspiration. It is an amazing planet we live on, with tremendous species diversity, and so much yet to learn. Studying, protecting and caring for and our local Open Spaces is a step down this path of conservation and learning.
Nora Sherwood tries to be guided by Baba Dioum’s famous quote (above) in every illustration she creates. Her goal is to portray an intimate moment with each of her subjects, and to make the viewer feel like they are sharing in that moment.
She has yet to find subject matter she has not enjoyed portraying, but she especially enjoys the intricate details of wildlife and botanicals. Her preferred media include watercolor, pen and ink, and graphite, but she also has extensive experience with colored pencils, gouache, and carbon dust.
For more information about this show or any of the many events going on at the Lincoln City Cultural Center, call 541-994-9994, head to lincolncity-culturalcenter.org, or become a friend on Facebook.