Adjusting the Lens: Creating an Aesthetic Awareness of Local Environment

By Lynn Sondag.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Aesthetic experiences of an “everyday” environment passed through the lens of an artist and represented visually can lead towards a deeper inquiry and awareness of one’s surroundings. Both internal and external resources are influential to this consciousness. Internally, an artist will find a way to include their perception of the world in their work, while external information- such as science based research or cultural/local beliefs also direct the imagination and heighten our aesthetic appreciation of environment or landscape. Looking at the bigger picture, what does this say about the contributions artists make in the context of environmental issues? Can bringing people closer to an aesthetic appreciation of the environment arouse care and concern over ongoing ecological challenges? This paper will address how experiences painting landscapes and teaching landscape painting to college students in a Service-Learning Beginning Watercolor Class engage with these issues.

Keywords: Aesthetic Appreciation, Art Education, Landscape Painting, Service-learning in Higher Education

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.79-88. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 704.593KB).

Prof. Lynn Sondag

Department Chair, Department of Art, Art History, and Design, Dominican University of California, San Francisco, California, USA

Lynn is drawn to dynamic individual and collaborative exchanges between artist, art, and audience, and the diverse ways art speaks to each of us. Using international opportunities to practice and research art, she is the recipient of numerous artist residencies including: the Hocschule fur Bildende Kunst in Dresden, Germany; Vishwa Bharati Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan, India; the Bau Institute Otranto, Italy; and the Danish Arts Council Hirsholmene, Denmark. In her paintings she records landscapes and natural phenomena while considering the variety of influences on our aesthetic appreciation of environment. She is represented locally by the Triangle Gallery in San Francisco. The experiences of making art directly inform her pedagogical approaches, helping students discover personal insights and narratives, while exposing them to alternative points of view. Art and non-art majors are guided by assignments and dialogue emphasizing the balance between theory and practice, and developing both intellectual and intuitive skills such as: visual literacy, creative inquiry, and craftsmanship. Her current passions involve collaborative interdisciplinary projects and curricula with her Dominican colleagues. Lynn is an assistant professor of art at Dominican University of California, and Chair of the Art Department. She received her BFA in Painting at the Savannah College of Art and Design and MFA at the California College of the Arts.


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