Art and Science

Art and science might at first seem to be on opposite ends of a spectrum but bend that spectrum just a little and you'll see that often they are intricately woven together. I think of my studio as a laboratory, a place where I experiment with combinations of colour, texture, theme, material, techniques and ideas. Scientists often become artists and artists often dabble in science. Almost every single discipline in science has been explored by artists: chemistry, biology, immunology, anatomy, forensics, pathology, medicine, environmental, atmospheric,  conservation, agriculture, animal, urological, psychological, gynecological, taxonomic, physics, aerospace, rocketry and even metaphysical sciences have influenced the works of artists around the world.

One of the most famous and most influential artists and "scientists" of our time and one whose works captured my imagination from the time I first saw his drawings when I was about seven years old is Leonardo Da Vinci. Da Vinci was a man with a ravenous curiosity. He drew nearly everything he saw and many detailed sketches of human anatomy were created from observing and dissecting cadavers sometimes under less than legal circumstances. He was also an inventor and while he might not have had the engineering skill to build his inventions, they offer a glimpse into the imagination of science minded artist. Detailed sketches of compositions for paintings, studies of details and drapery, studies of faces and emotions, of animals, babies, dissections, plant studies, rock formations, whirl pools, war machines, helicopters and architecture are just some of the things Da Vinci used as subject matter.

Leonardo lived at a time when science or natural philosophy as it was known and religion were often at odds. His sketches are wonderful examples of the various interests he had and offer a glimpse into life before the birth of modern medicine. The thing that I loved most about Da Vinci as a kid were his drawings, not his paintings. There were so many more drawings and sketches to look at far more fascinating and detailed than his paintings ofen coded in allegory or religion so I suppose I was more interested in the subject matter of the drawings than I was of his paintings. Even though many of his drawings seemed unfinished to me at the time, I love the way the lines just taper out to a suggestion of form and the beautiful gestures that suggest motion and volume. Even the "blueprints" for his inventions are beautifully rendered from his imagination and appear as though when assembled, whatever the  machine, it should work perfectly.

It is easy to claim that Da Vinci was a master and that of course he should have influence on artists but how exactly that influence manifests in one's own work might not be immediately apparent. In my case I think becomes obvious over time and now I can't imagine what my work might be without it.

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