An op-ed: Why scientists (even non-artists) should draw

Lots of data indicate drawing skills are: a) good for scientists, b) good for science, and c) something anyone can learn.

Crastina_sketching scientists_screenshot (07.2015)

A few months ago, I discovered, which describes itself as “A networking platform for the exchange of knowledge, skills, experience and opinion regarding both scientific peer-to-peer communication and science dissemination.”

I learned about Crastina when its founder Olle Bergman invited me to write an op-ed. He asked me to write about my deep conviction that drawing skills should be part of the modern scientist’s toolkit, not just a bygone ability for which we are faintly nostalgic. Continue reading “An op-ed: Why scientists (even non-artists) should draw”

An artful look at eating meat

Eating Meat_The Learned Pig_screenshot (04.2015)

Ever since I first took an animal’s life with my own hands with the intention of eating it – a brook trout caught in a barely-big-enough-to-call-a-stream back in high school – I have been at turns fascinated and repulsed by what is involved with getting meat from hoof to dinner plate. This preoccupation predates my interests in science communication (#scicomm and #sciart) and persists to this day.

A lot of science and emotion is tied up in modern assessments of the ecological sustainability, morality, and even human/animal rights issues associated with eating meat. The British publication The Learned Pig recently published a photo essay of mine which explores the hands-on experience of killing, butchering, and eating meat. Continue reading “An artful look at eating meat”

Urban Sketchers helps advertise my upcoming Glacier National Park workshop

USK_Drawing Attention_screenshot (02.2015)

Urban Sketchers International produces a monthly newsletter called Drawing Attention, in which they feature the projects, workshops, etc. of sketchers all around the world.

In their February 2015 edition, they gave my upcoming Glacier National Park workshop – Drawn to Natural History – a nice shout-out. They also mentioned the photojournalist who spotted me sketching in Tucson in early January.

Arizona Daily Star caught me sketching

BGMerkle_sketching_Tucson Daily Star (01.01.2015)On New Year’s Day, a reporter from the Arizona Daily Star spotted me sketching in downtown Tucson, AZ. I was working on field sketches for an illustration project about desert bighorn sheep (see details here and here), and needed to depict how far up into the Santa Catalina Mountains housing developments have sprawled. My husband had the brilliant idea to ascend a parking garage in order to gain the right vantage point.

It had snowed overnight, making for a crisply cool morning and lots of extraordinary photos before I set out sketching. The snow is what brought that photojournalist up to the top of the very same parking garage. That’s where he noticed me sketching mountains, a sea of houses, and a particularly bold cactus wren.

20150101_Tucson parking garage (27)_c_cr