Sunday, June 17, 2012

Salt Brings Art and Science Together

 Students ages 6 - 12 years learned a lesson in science as well as art at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens during the children's monthly art class, Art Adventures. 
They learned how salt can be hurtful to our plants and helpful in creating exciting effects in their painting. 

After a visit to the museum's garden, students assessed the damage to the gardens caused by the flooding waters of tropical storm, Beryl when the St. Johns River overflowed the bulkhead. They discussed how the St. Johns River joins the Atlantic Ocean, creating a salt and fresh water mixture or "brackish" water.  Brackish water is water that has more salinity than fresh water, but not as much as seawater. When the brackish water washed up into the lower tier of the garden, it left behind debris and salt causing the damage to the plants. 

After a discussion of the kinds of creatures which live in salt water verses fresh water, the students returned to the studios to draw and paint beautiful creatures from the salty sea. They drew coral, starfish, sand dollars and shells in pencil then added beautiful colors of the ocean with watercolor.  They experimented with a variety of watercolor techniques including adding the very ingredient that caused damage to the garden - salt. They discovered that when they sprinkled salt onto their wet painting, it caused a chemical reaction that left a mottled, textured appearance to the painted surface.