The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts hosts “Seasonal Transitions,” scientific illustrations by Nora Sherwood, in the Upstairs Gallery at the Newport Visual Arts Center from May 6 to May 29. The exhibition of works on paper will address how plants and animals adapt to dramatic seasonal changes on the Oregon coast. The First Friday public reception will be held at the VAC on May 6 from 5-7pm, with an artist talk scheduled for 6:30pm during the opening.
Though Nora Sherwood considers herself a “fresh face” in the world of natural science illustration, she has embraced the field since graduating from the University of Washington’s Natural Science Illustration program in spring 2014. She is actively exhibiting and publishing her work throughout the Pacific Northwest, and teaching students new to the field. As a mid-life career changer, Sherwood brings to her creative pursuits a professional background in geographic information systems, having worked as Certified GIS Professional. “I really enjoy digging in to the details of my subjects and portraying them realistically. It makes projects more exciting for me because I like to learn as much as possible about the subjects I’m portraying,” she says.
Nora Sherwood focuses her illustration work on 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. Her recent work has been inspired by the Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge, a few miles from her home in Lincoln City, Oregon, where she also draws inspiration from the Connie Hansen Garden.
Sherwood’s exhibition, “Seasonal Transitions,” will invite viewers to consider the beauty of enormous changes in the natural world of the Oregon coast as plants and animals move through various “adaptations.” For example, the lifecyle of the Oregon Silverspot butterfly requires a series of metamorphoses over the course of a year just so the butterfly can spend a few weeks on the coast. Many other sea and shore birds only spend winter on the coast, while whales and other animals “commute” through the region on annual migrations paths. “We humans aren’t really required to adapt to accommodate changing seasons,” Sherwood says. “For the most part, we live in insulated homes, use refrigerators to buy and store any food we want, and wear clothes to be comfortable indoors and out.
Humans can stay put and awake in the same place year-round. Not so in the world of plants and animals.” Nora Sherwood has held solo exhibitions at the Chessman Gallery in Lincoln City (2015), Compass Gallery in Salem (2015) and Cremona Books in Cremona, Italy (2014). Her work has been included in groups shows at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center in Newport (2015), the University of Washington
Tower (2015) and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle (2014). She has recently published works in Suiform Soundings (a newsletter for a specialist group focused on wild pigs), Stratus 2014 Journal of Arts & Writing, and Steamboat Magazine.
Nora Sherwood’s educational background includes a Professional Certificate in Natural Science from the University of Washington and coursework in drawing at the Gage Academy and in the Cornell University Botanical Illustration Program. She holds a master of science degree from the University of South Carolina and bachelor of arts degree in geography from the University of Colorado. Sherwood currently teaches classes in wildlife illustration, watercolor botanicals and scratchboard illustration at the Artist Studio Association in Lincoln City.
The Upstairs Gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10am to 4pm.
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