A Rough-mantled Dorid, one of Savannah Bryant's subjects for her watercolor series.A Rough-mantled Dorid, one of Savannah Bryant's subjects for her watercolor series.

“A Strange and Beautiful Place: Natural History Illustration of the Maine Intertidal” includes elements of both research and art. Through the watercolor series,  Bryant seeks to raise awareness and increase communal appreciation of the natural environment, while drawing attention to the details of local marine species.

“I identify mostly with science, but I also recognize the importance of communicating science to a larger audience,” she says.

Savannah Bryant ’16 talks with viewers about her senior project work. Bryant used watercolors to create beautiful illustrations of tidal creatures.Savannah Bryant ’16 talks with viewers about her senior project work. Bryant used watercolors to create beautiful illustrations of tidal creatures. Credit: Gracie Mitchell ’18

Bryant appreciates the educational power of understanding biological elements through the close attention required for drawing and rendering subjects effectively. Her series of elaborate, didactic natural history watercolors of local marine invertebrates fuses her interest in marine biology with her artistic aptitude for effectively communicating scientific subjects.

Claws expertly rendered by Savannah Bryant ’16.Claws expertly rendered by Savannah Bryant ’16.Marine science has been a big part of Bryant’s experience at COA. Classes early in her college career, like Marine Biology with Dr. Chris Petersen, informed her connection to marine environments and helped focus her attention on the educational potential of illustration. Sketches from her field notes inspired her to spend more time creating images to describe marine species.

Her senior project advisors, Dr. Catherine Clinger and Dr. Helen Hess, have provided a strong collaborative network to enable Bryant’s detailed investigation of the intricacies of both science and art, she says. A Strange and Beautiful Place also includes a thoroughly researched review of the historical relevance of natural history illustration, which informs Bryant’s stylistic choices and effects her appreciation of the immense historic impact of scientific illustration, she says.

 

Bryant reflects on the progression of natural history illustration from past to present and questions how didactic mediums like photography have transformed our scientific observations in recent years.

Bryant’s expressive depictions of marine invertebrates provide a pathway for her to share her passion with an expansive audience, concentrating communal attention on even the most intricate details of seemingly familiar marine creatures.

COA seniors Savannah Bryant and Mackenzie Watson shared an art opening for their senior project exhibitions in Blum Gallery. Visitors check out Watson's work, above.COA seniors Savannah Bryant and Mackenzie Watson shared an art opening for their senior project exhibitions in Blum Gallery. Visitors check out Watson's work, above. Credit: Gracie Mitchell ’18