Beyond the Frame – Climb into the Art

Forget those “Do not touch” signs, here’s an artist that encourages people to be part of the art. After we posted about the Stickwork exhibit, Kelly wrote to tell me how much she and her children enjoyed Beyond the Frame by J. Seward Johnson. Johnson created life-size, and larger, sculptures depicting impressionist paintings. It allows the children to be part of a Manet, or to sit with the people in the Renoir. Enjoy the exhibit and fun with Kelly’s children,

Seward Johnson is dyslexic and struggled in school. He worked in the family business, Johnson & Johnson, until he was fired by his uncle at age thirty-eight. His wife suggested he take an art class, and the rest is history art. Hear him describe his art and story.

I wondered how he makes the sculptures so large and what reaction he hoped people would have to his sculptures. This video answers a lot of questions. He has exhibits and random sculptures in several cities.

Graham, NC Beyond the Frame
Bennington, VT Video of sculptures on the streetMore sculptures in Bennington
Hamilton Twp, NJ Grounds for Sculpture
National Harbor, MD The Awakening

Installing Beyond the Frame was quite an adventure

Art is like science—it’s everywhere and in everything. We simply need to stop, look, and find it. The holiday seasons open many opportunities for art and science to meet and create.



Wind Past and Present

I’m a big believer in being kind to Earth—renewing, repurposing, and recycling whenever possible. So, it’s not surprising that I love the sight of wind farms.

When I think of “farming,” I think of planting seeds, cultivating their growth, waiting, waiting some more, harvesting the crop, and trucking it to the elevators.

That was the farming of my youth.

Wind farming eliminates many of the steps. There is no planting because the wind is already there. It’s capturing and harvesting that wind. I suppose, it’s more like wrangling wild mustangs. Perhaps we should dub them wind round-ups, rather than wind farms.

This wind farm is along I-70, west of Salina, Kansas.

Of course the idea of using wind isn’t a new idea. People have been using windmills to capture the wind and do work for centuries. During the early 1900s, every farm in the Midwest had a windmill or two that pumped water from deep aquifers to the surface. Without the windmill, farm animals and people would have perished. Sadly, most of the old windmills have been abandoned and fallen into disrepair.

But sometimes, the past and present come together to work side-by-side.

This one is harder to see. But if you look at the base of the large wind turbine on the left, you’ll see a much older windmill pumping water for the cattle.

The typical wind farm covers hundreds of acres. In Iowa along I-35, you’ll see a large number of wind turbines, which is certainly a wind farm.

Not everyone has the land to have any kind of farm. That’s me. So, I have a potted tomato plant and herbs sitting on my patio.

Along I-35 in Iowa, you can see the wind turbine version of my patio tomato.


A single wind turbine provides electricity for a family business.


Do you have wind farms near you?






More Sticks

It seems like there’s been a lot lately on art. I think of art and science as integrated and definitely all around us, so it’s not surprising that I see both everywhere. I wrote about “Places to Go and Things to Do” this summer. These posts give you more ideas of places where your family can learn and play.

Kelly, who authors and uses Nancy Larson® Science, visited “Disorderly Conduct,” a Stickwork exhibit in her area and shared the experience with us.

See all of Kellys photos and read about their adventures.

Kelly is planning a trip to the North Carolina Museum of Art to see another Stickwork exhibit, plus original Rembrandts and pieces from John James Audubon’s folio.

Stickwork artist Patrick Dougherty may have an exhibit near you. I found this list that may help in planning your next outing.


Ain’t Misbehavin’, 2010. Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC

Walkabout, 2010. Cassilhaus, Chapel Hill, NC

Uff-Da Palace, 2010.  University of Minnesota, Chaska, MN

Do Tell!  2010.  The Bascom, Higlands, NC

Centerpiece, 2010.  Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Sun Valley, ID

Natural History, 2010. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, NY

Easy Rider, 2010.  Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC

River Vessels, 2010. Waco, TX

Double Take, 2011. Palo Alto Art Center, Palo Alto, CA

Disorderly Conduct, 2011. Guilford College, Greensboro, NC

Sidewinder, 2011. Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Wiggle in Its Walk, 2011. Wegerzyn Gardens, Dayton, OH

Diamonds in the Rough, 2011. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, VA

What could be more natural than making art out of sticks? So what would your children create from sticks? Take a walk. Let them gather twigs, set a size limit and insist they carry their own twigs, or take along a wagon. At home, offer glue, pictures from magazines, paint, raffia, and anything else in your art cubby. If they are stuck with sticks and no ideas, you might talk about stories, nursery rhymes, or fairy tales that involve trees, woods, sticks, and botany in general. If you want to focus on the Thanksgiving holiday,  you could talk about Plymouth, Jamestown, pilgrims, early settlers, wigwams, and making a home and village where there’s only nature around you.

I’d love to see what you create. Share your ideas here or email them:

Statue Fun

Art museums may not be the most fun you can have if you’re five years old, but we thought of something that was a huge hit—acting out the art. The outdoor statue garden contained different-colored pipe people. It was very impromptu and kept going at the boys’ insistence.

“What’s your favorite color?”

“Stand by the statue that’s your favorite color.”

“See how the statue is standing and do the same thing. Pretend you are the statue’s shadow and decide how you should look.”


“Pick another color and be that statue’s shadow.”


Anthony and Stuart each wanted to be the shadow of every statue.


They had so much fun with this that the only thing that got us away from the statues was going for ice cream!


The main thing for me was watching the boys have fun being part of the art.