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Drawing Challenge: Inspired by Ruskin

'For I am nearly convinced that, when once we see keenly enough, there is very little difficulty in drawing what we see; but, even supposing that this difficulty be still great, I believe that the sight is a more important thing than the drawing' (The Elements of Drawing) 

Task Instructions

Inspired by Ruskin's artistic ideals of detailed observation, we would like you to produce your own drawing. 

1. Choose one of the Ruskin quotes listed below 

2. Find something to which you feel this quote relates, observe it closely and draw a response. (Ideally, we would like your picture to be inspired By something from the natural worked on ARU campus, but neither of the suggestions are obligatory. The choice of what to draw is yours) 

3. Label your drawing with your chosen Ruskin quote

4. Hand the drawing into Sci001 by 2pm on Friday 28th February. 

Prizes for all! 

At the exhibition of the drawings (PV Thur 12th March at noon; LAB Open Access), a small pot plant will be awarded to all who enter their picture. These will be in painted mugs - so come and paint the mugs! Thur 20th Feb at noon in SU in Peter Taylor. 

You are not assumed to be an 'artist' or an art student. We simply wish to encourage everyone to observe closely and draw. The process is more important than the product. 

John Ruskin (1819-1900) 

As well as being an artist, art critic, philanthropist, social critic and writer, John Ruskin can now be recognised as an early environmentalist: in the 1800's be called attend to the impact of industrialisation on climate; he wrote on ethical consumption; he was a critic of the human exploitation of nature; he tried to develop alternatives to industrial capitalism, he explored sustainability; he took part in an early environmental campaign. At the centre of his knowledge and commitment was his lifelong close observation of nature upon which his own artistic practice was based. He also encouraged others to observe closely, suggesting that this engendered an understanding of form and function, and lead to an appreciation of the interconnectivity within nature.

Choose one of these John Ruskin quotes to inspire your drawing

'And in all things that live there are certain irregularities and deficiencies which are not only signs of life, but sources of beauty’ (The Stones of Venice)

'We, the living, occupy a space of too large importance and interest in our own eyes; we look upon the world too much as our own, too much as if we had possessed it and should possess it for ever’ (Modern Painters I)

'No other plants have so endless variety on so similar a structure as the mosses’ (Proserpina)

'Your power of purifying the air … by planting in all soils the trees which cleanse and invigorate earth and atmosphere’ (Fors Clavigera 5)

'You can bring rain where you will, by planting wisely and tending carefully; - drought where you will, by ravage of woods and neglect of the soil’ (Fors Clavigera 5)

'God has lent us the earth for our life; it is a great entail. It belongs as much to those who come after us … as to us; we have no right by anything that we do or neglect, to involve them in unnecessary penalties, or deprive them of benefits which it was in our power to bequeath.’ (Seven Lamps of Architecture)

'The keenness of sympathy which we feel in the happiness, real or apparent, of all organic beings’ (Modern Painters II)

'No air that is sweet that is silent; it is only sweet when full of low currents of sound – triplets of birds, and murmur and chirp of insects’ (Unto This Last)

'The system of the world is entirely one … small things and greater are alike part of one mighty whole’ (Modern Painters V)

'Let him stand in his due relation to other creatures, and to inanimate things … All the diseases of the mind leading to fatalist ruin consist primarily in this isolation. They are the concentration of man upon himself …’ (Modern Painters V)