College/University, Arts/Cultural Organizations, Community Center, Library, Senior Center
Sharon Birzer is a Natural Science Illustrator and teacher whose work is inspired by observations made in the diverse ecosystems of planet earth. She is passionate about teaching art and her work as a teaching artist reflects her interests as a Painter and a Natural Science Illustrator. Sharon’s illustration depicts biology of all types using a variety of techniques.
“When I teach I try to always create a supportive classroom atmosphere of self expression, acceptance, self awareness and hope. Art is about a unique and personal vision, there is no one universal aesthetic. I encourage experimentation, imagination and development of observational skills. My arts residencies often introduce the participants to observing and drawing an element from the natural world. The focus is on developing skills of observation (really seeing) and recording (drawing). I often incorporate working with watercolor or colored pencils.
I teach Scientific Illustration and Observational Drawing workshops for adults, seniors and for educators. I teach art at the University level. I’m a Teaching Artist in Seattle Public Schools and with Arts Corps, and a member of the Community Arts Partner Roster created by The Office of Arts & Culture. I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts, an MFA form the UW, as well as completing the Natural Science Illustration Certificate Program at the UW. I completed the Washington State Teaching Artist Training Lab, a professional development program with a focus on supporting arts education.”
I enjoy working with older adults who are often very open and eager to learn. They are generous and engaged students with life experience that informs their art work. Observational drawing and painting is a practice that one can do at home with fairly easily accessible art supplies. It can build community, for example a drawing or watercolor group can easily be set up. These are skills that one can practice and hone for a lifetime.