Welcome to the interview series: Inside Art. Here the Connecticut Natural Science Illustrators (CTNSI), instructors share their ideas and experiences in teaching art classes, and creating their own works of art.
Dorie Petrochko is President and one of the founding members of the Connecticut Natural Science Illustrators (CTNSI). Dorie is an accomplished painter and natural science illustrator. She also serves as an instructor with CTNSI’s art classes at the Yale Peabody Museum. Some of the art classes she teaches include: Fundamentals of Drawing, Water Color, Colored Pencil, Mixed Media, and the Drawing and Painting of Feathers, Birds, Trees, Gems, and Minerals. Learn more about Dorie.
The interview was conducted by A. Pirozzoli
(AP) What current courses are you teaching?
(DP) I have three art classes in all but I’m currently focusing on an art class titled, Drawing and Painting Birds. This art class focuses on avian anatomy, sketching and drawing from mounted specimens and skins. We also visit the Yale Peabody Museum Bird Hall and incorporate reference images and videos to expand our knowledge.
(AP) What media is used?
(DP) We will work in graphite, colored pencil and watercolor to best interpret bird behavior and coloration.
(AP) Is there a prerequisite for this art class?
(DP) Having completed the Basic Drawing art class is required.
(AP) In addition to the art itself, is there a greater purpose to this Drawing Birds art class?
(DP) My goal is to help students to gain a wider appreciation for the avian world. I achieve this by acquainting the student with avian behavior, avian anatomy and how to correctly portray birds in graphite and watercolor.
(AP) Can you tell us a bit more about the subject matter of this art class?
(DP) I make the experience well rounded. For instance, we’ll sketch birds from bird cams, and study birds in the Peabody Museum’s Bird Hall. We also work with bird skins and mounts as well as reference photographs to aid in final drawings and paintings.
(AP) Is there, let’s say, some mystique about actually conducting art classes in the Peabody Museum?
(DP) Absolutely! The museum’s earliest collection, begun in the 18th century, was a miscellaneous assortment of “natural and artificial curiosities” from around the world typical of college collections of the time. The atmosphere in the museum is conducive to creativity and a sense of legacy, which makes CTNSI quite a unique art class experience for students.
This concludes Part One of the interview with Dorie Petrochko. Check back for the second part of this interview.