Véronique Robigou participated in the North Cascades Institute’s Creative Residence Program this winter, joining the tradition of poets, naturalists, dancers and researchers who have participated in the past.
As described by the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Northwest, Véronique is an “artist, scientific illustrator, geologist and educator.” She launched the Ocean et Terra Studio in 2011 to “create visual stories of the world around us.” Trained as a geologist she has worked on scientific crews illustrating undersea vents far, far beneath the surface. She now mostly uses her gifts to educate students about how to capture the essence of nature in their own work.
During her time at the North Cascades Institute the 15th Graduate Cohort was fortunate enough to meet with her to discuss how to weave our scientific curiosity with our artistic talent. We spent a lot of time discussing the fine line between an accurate presentation of pure data and flexing our creative licenses.
Just having an afternoon, Véronique lead us in an activity of artistic mapping. She had found that maps provide a perfect canvas for clear data presentation and artistic expression. We went out and took pictures, notes and sketches of a simple 12 inch X 12 inch plot of area around Diablo Lake. After we collected as much data as a soggy January day would allow, we raced back to the warmth of the classroom to finish our maps.
The results came out as varied and wild as the students in the cohort! Emily, Aly and Joe took a particularly creative approach and explored how reflective different parts of their plot was. Instead of color representing what we see on our hikes, color was used as a scale much like a heat map. They also had a few little fun details like incorporating the compass into the design of the shoe.