An Alaskan artist in residence is showing students how to combine art and nature, as they gather leaves and stems and learn how to do botanical illustration.
Artist Karen Stomberg is taking the opportunity of a multi week artist residency at North Pole High School to get the students out into nature, gathering leaves and stems. She is teaching the students the Latin and common names of each specimen. She also is showing them the grisalle technique of illustration for botanicals, which makes the drawing appear 3 dimensional and resemble the sample more closely.
Stomberg spent 25 years teaching art in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. She is a printmaker and painter. She had students venture outside, into nature, to explore the various shapes, colors, and textures.
“It’s an exercise in looking closely, deeper and deeper and finding more detail and trying to record that,” Stomberg said. “It’s a really lengthy process. The students worked really hard on these drawings.”
The process of botanical illustration is not easy, Stromberg says. Artists must render every detail faithfully.
“It’s so specific and I would almost say tedious work,” she said. “But it’s also very meditative … it requires dedication and practice, and (the students) were willing to do that.”