Line artist draws the scientific

Artist Renee van der Stelt was once asked to illustrate the word “poke”.Not surprisingly, she did this by poking a hole in the paper. But what resulted from that turned out to be a whole new medium for her to express her art.”I have always been interested in sculpture, and that hole I poked in the paper was like a miniature sculpture.”Van der Stelt, a visual artist from Baltimore, Md., spoke to an audience of UVM art students in Williams Hall on Feb. 10.Van der Stelt’s interest in geography resulted in her creating her most recent exhibit,Veiled Geography: Impermanent Drawings, which is currently on display at the Colburn Gallery. She combines drawing with sculpture to create pieces that are essentially three-dimensional.”It’s not initially very apparent,” she said. “But if you look a little closer at the geography, you see a lot of things that are hidden.”Van der Stelt’s decision to create maps and landscapes for a living came after experimenting with several career choices. She experienced with painting and made cast iron and bronze pieces before she finally realized she wanted to pursue a career with drawing.At one time, van der Stelt considered being a cartographer. Interestingly, when she first started college, she was a pre-med major.”I love both the arts and the sciences,” he said.But, her major quickly changed when she realized that her heart was in the arts.Yet, the life of an artist is not is not as glamorous as it seemed.”It’s a hard life to be an artist,” he said.But she was sure to emphasize that her work is more than simply work.”I was told, ‘If you’re not having fun anymore, you’ve got to change something.'”Van der Stelt has often used her drawings to convey political messages. In one piece, she drew a map of the world and how the continents would look if the polar ice caps melted due to global warming.In spite of this, however, she says her art is personal.”I don’t want to ride a political platform,” she said.Studio Art Professor Mildred Beltre initially invited van der Stelt to UVM.”I thought it was great,” Beltre said. “I wanted students to see her approach to drawing.”One student joked that van der Stelt may have also been unintentionally inspiring in a much different way.”It reassures me that someday maybe I can get paid to talk about my artwork,” senior art major Brian Whitney said, jokingly.