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Open art surgery

Published on August 8, 2017 2:11PM

“Flickers” by Nora Sherwood

“Flickers” by Nora Sherwood

Art that shines a spotlight on Lincoln City’s open spaces will be on display in the latest exhibit at the Chessman Gallery, featuring the work of natural science illustrator Nora Sherwood.

The exhibit will open with a public reception from 5 to 7 pm on Friday, Aug. 11, offering wine, light refreshments and a chance to chat with the artist.

Sherwood’s in-depth, detailed artwork highlight the plants, insects, birds and animals that reside within Lincoln City’s extensive open 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,” Sherwood said. “28 areas with an amazing treasury of flora and fauna preserved to benefit us all.”

Sherwood’s interest in natural science illustration dates back to a zoology class she took during her senior year of high school. The class involved dissecting a worm, a grasshopper, a frog and a rat, with a heavy emphasis on drawing detailed diagrams of the systems found in each animal. While her favorite part was the drawing, she was also amazed at the intricate anatomy.

“So much function packed tightly and efficiently in to such a small space,” she said.

Had Sherwood 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,” she said. “Studying, protecting and caring for and our local Open Spaces is a step down this path of conservation and learning.”

Throughout her illustration career, Sherwood has been guided by the philosophy of Senegalese environmentalist Baba Dioum: “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.”

Sherwood’s 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.

To see more of her work, go to www.norasherwood.com

The show will be on display through Monday, Sept. 4, at the Chessman Gallery, located inside the Lincoln City Cultural Center at 540 NE Hwy. 101.

For more information, call 541-994-9994.

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