Project Fish Bugs and the Art Component


From the beginning, the developers of Project Fish Bugs were intent on documentation by sketching in the field, a significant aspect of the program. Aaron Floyd, co-director of Fish Bugs, enlisted Christina Gramm, art teacher at Grayson County High School, to help us grow this component.

In the third week of September, Christina’s art class joined us at our Rock Bottom Cabins site along Wilson Creek, for a day of exploration. Twelve students, Christina, two parents and one volunteer, Kelly Servick, joined in the fun. Marion and Gordon Kay, property owners, participated for an hour, and to them we offer much gratitude.

As with our previous surveys, we donned waders, collected samples from the creek with seines, and then began the process of identifying, cataloging and sketching our catch.

Unlike previous surveys, we broke up into three more intimate groups, with Aaron sharing the time honored tradition of detailed illustration in natural history. While one group was thus engaged, another was in the creek and the third made valiant attempts to catch adult, or flying forms of aquatic invertebrates. We also placed more emphasis and time on sketching in the field.

On September 26th, Aaron and I met at the school with Christina’s art class to launch the more ambitious part of the program. Aaron began with a slide show depicting, in more depth, the value of capturing the details of natural subjects through careful drawings. Some time was spent on technique as well as sharing examples of celebrated artists, such as Audubon, for inspiration. We then handed out preserved samples of our aquatic critters collected through the year, giving each student one species upon which to focus their work.

The students began drawing, while Aaron, Christina and I looked over their shoulders to offer constructive criticism. Our collective end goal is to put the finished sketches onto one poster as a guide to our aquatic invertebrates.