Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Growing up, I always felt challenged by math. I know now that it was due to a combination of factors: trying to learn “new math” after moving from a school that taught “old math” and never having the time to learn certain fundamentals. In the working world I learned to use math in a functional way, although I often came up against what I call “math block,” my belief that I was not any good with numbers. I believe that quite a few artists may feel challenged by mathematics and the hard sciences – what about you?

Throughout the years, I discovered that I actually had an innate sense of math and pattern – imagine my surprise! In fact, I use and manipulate numbers quite a bit in my artwork and sketchbooks. Consciously introducing and using math in nature art journals is a wonderful way to expand knowledge and application of numbers in real-world experiences. It’s an interdisciplinary practice that’s useful for home schooling, nature camps, art and math classes, personal journals and sketchbooks, science observations, and scout projects.

Here are some ways to use math with your nature art sketchbook entries:

1. Counting
2. Measuring
3. Comparing
4. Finding patterns and relationships

Click here for a PDF document that lists more specific ways to use each one of these categories. I would love to hear your experiences with math and art, and how you use them together. Better yet, share them with us all!