Monica Tynan, a senior biology major and art minor, is incorporating a series of six paintings of insects for her honors project in May.
Tynan said her series was originally comprised of 13 paintings of insects, but now she is only using the first six for her project because they are invasive species. Invasive species are species of insects, plants or animals from other places that invade an ecosystem disrupting the balance of it. They cause harm because native ecosystems cannot adapt to handling them. Tynan has worked in the Preisser Lab at the University of Rhode Island since her freshman year, and has had a Coastal Fellowship there as well. She said she has witnessed the damage that invasive insects can do to a tree population and learned about how ecosystem dynamics can be disrupted by the introduction of a nonnative species.
As part of her process with her paintings, Tynan said she starts off with a pen and ink drawing and then uses carbon paper to transfer it onto wood and adds the color.
“It’s not super difficult because I like doing it,” said Tynan. “It’s not a chore, if you really enjoy doing it.”
Since Tynan is taking more art classes than usual this semester, it can be a little exhausting to come up with a lot of fun, creative output in such a short amount of time, she says. But it is a good experience overall and she really enjoys it. Tynan said one of her biggest pet peeves is when people talk to artists and just say, ‘Oh you’re so talented. I could never do that,’ because you’re not born with a talent.
“Anyone can do art,” said Tynan. “All talent is practice. You can’t just expect to be good at art right off the bat. You just have to keep on drawing. The people that we see as good artists today are just people that don’t really give up. They just keep practicing because the more you practice the better you are.”
Tynan would like to maybe continue submitting her art to shows in the future, mentioning it’s possible to make some money off her work. She has received commissions in the past for her work. She hopes that when she has a stable job she can pursue a bachelor’s degree in art studies as well.