Love and Death: Beauty (Watercolor painting by Michele Banks)

I thought I’d brighten up this blog a bit by adding a new topic, Science in Art…or maybe it’s Art in Science? Either way, every now and then you can expect a brief blog post that highlights something to do with that space in the Venn Diagram where Art and Science overlap.

Today I want to kick off the series by introducing you to the art of Michele Banks. Michele is a self-taught artist working mainly in watercolor painting and collage.  I “discovered” Michele on Twitter (@artologica) where she is part of the busy online science community.  All of Michele’s science-related art is available at her Etsy Store: Artologica.  I’ve bought one item –I can’t tell you what it is yet. It’s a gift. –but I can tell you, it is gorgeous in real life.

What I love about Michele’s work is her variety of subjects– cells, bacteria, ekgs, oh my! — and the rich vibrant colors she uses. Also the fact that they work anywhere! You could brighten your kitchen with brain cells or hang viruses in your baby’s room, and, except for your geekiest friends (who will find them awesome), no one would be the wiser.  Check these out:


Blue-Green Atrial Fibrillation

Blue-Green Atrial Fibrillation: My ekg paintings are made in a multi-step process. First, I draw a grid on the paper with pencil. Then I draw in the ekg line using masking fluid, (kind of like runny rubber cement). When that’s dry, I paint over it in stripes of watercolor which I let bleed together. After it’s all dry, I remove the mask and erase the lines. Each piece is unique and handpainted and based on actual patient ekgs.



PetriDish Spectrum

Petri Dish Spectrum celebrates life in the lab! Brightly-colored bacteria and other microorganisms bloom in their laboratory habitat – petri dishes. The contents of each dish are individually painted in watercolors, using a wet-in-wet technique. Then they are cut out and placed in their petri dishes (also hand-painted) and mounted on watercolor paper. Looks and smells somewhat better than the real thing : )


Love and death: Bacteria (Watercolor painting by Michele Banks)

Love and Death: Bacteria is an original watercolor painting of a variety of bacteria. (the images are based on general types of bacteria rather than highly specific ones, and include cocci, streptococci, bacilli, flagellates and spirochetes.) This painting was shown at the National Institutes of Health in 2011.

These, and more, can be found at Michele’s Etsy Store