Create Abstract Art to the Sounds of Nature
Have you ever wondered about the color of a frog’s croak and the shape of a bee’s buzz? Let abstract art unfold at your fingertips to the sounds outside your door. Or tune in to Ecopsyched! Nature Pods for audible inspiration. No experience necessary!
Explore the project below, and then let your mind and hands flow to the sounds of the world around you.
And check under RESOURCES below for more information on Listen & Draw exercises and other distance learning audio activities for the whole family!
Student Listen & Draw Classes
I have the good fun of teaching ecological art each year during an arts day at a local elementary school. Every year I develop a new lesson plan. This year, I customized “Listen & Draw: Nature” lessons, playing a different set of nature sounds for each third grade class as the students created abstract art.
In their artwork below, do you see similarities in the shapes and colors that blossomed within each class? While some sounds were easy for the students to identify (bee), others were tricky. For the sounds that remained a mystery to the students (coquí frogs), it was especially evident in their artwork (no frog images), which stayed truer to the abstract nature of the exercise.
LISTENING & DRAWING
Listening and drawing (or painting) consists of just that – tuning in to, and creating art to sounds. I suggest listening to the sounds with eyes closed for approximately one minute to see what colors and shapes you envision. After that, if you are intimidated by your blank canvas, simply start moving your pencil or paintbrush on your canvas to see what reveals itself. Keep moving forward with your art without inner critique, fear of failure, or the desire to impress anyone else. Be completely authentic and find joy in simply creating.
But first, you’ll need to briefly prepare.
- Gather materials such as colored pencils, paint, or other preferred media.
- Select the surface on which to create the art – paper, canvas, wood, etc.
- And finally, choose your sound(s). You might simply sit on your porch or in your yard and listen to the sounds of nature around you. Or, select an Ecopsyched! Nature Pod episode to fill your room or earphones with the sounds of the natural world.
In working with elementary school children, it was evident that a group setting is not the ideal atmosphere for this type of project. While many pieces of artwork were unique, just as many of the artists were influenced by classmates around them. With appreciation for the social nature of the classroom, I ended each lesson with a collaborative drawing.
This project is best approached with little distraction so that your mind can fully tune in to the sounds and your authentic expression emerges as you create.
For more information on hearing colors and seeing sounds, download and explore this exercise on drawing to music. And discover more audio activities through TeachRock’s Distance Learning resources, which are especially useful for parents and children learning together at home.
SHARE YOUR LISTEN & DRAW CREATIONS