Ultraviolet Light


During this session we explore black light – painting with fluorescent colors on black paper. We examine our paintings under black light in a dark room. We learn about ultraviolet light – the invisible light that comes from the sun. While most UV light is absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere some gets through.

sunprint3We learn about sunprinting and make prints of physical objects. Sunprint paper is sensitive to ultra-violet light and is based on the cyanotype process, which has been used by artists since its development in the 19th century. Objects that eclipse the sun’s light will show up in white, with the rest of the paper turning a vibrant Prussian Blue or a gradient between these two ends.  We explore layering techniques, design and composition.

We learn about color temperature. When viewed through a thermal imaging camera, warm objects stand out well against cooler backgrounds; humans and other warm-blooded animals become easily visible against the environment, day or night.

We learn how bees can see ultraviolet light. The compound eyes of a bee detects colors such as blue, green and ultraviolet (polarized and unpolarized), whereas human eyes have color receptors only for blue, green and red. The nectars are ultraviolet to bees eyes, helping bees to identify them easily. Ultraviolet light detection also help the bee to use the sun for navigation. Their rapid-flicker eyesight together with a blurred distant-view capability (and obviously UV sensors) aids them to see the sun as a blue square in the sky.

We explore fluorescence, which is is the emission of light by a substance that has absorbed light or other electromagnetic radiation. It is a form of luminescence. In most cases, the emitted light has a longer wavelength, and therefore lower energy, than the absorbed radiation. The most striking examples of fluorescence occur when the absorbed radiation is in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum, and thus invisible to the human eye, and the emitted light is in the visible region. Fluorescence occurs frequently in nature in some minerals and in various biological states in many branches of the animal kingdom. Fluorescence has many practical applications, including mineralogy, gemology, chemical sensors (fluorescence spectroscopy), fluorescent labelling, dyes, biological detectors, cosmic-ray detection, and, most commonly, fluorescent lamps.

 

Lessons: 

Bee stencil

Bee stencil

Bee Card Pack: We work from a bee stencil to carve our own bee design on a plate of wood or foam. We print from our plate using black ink or black paint. We practice making a series of prints, printing on colored card stock which we will fold into cards. We write a story of our bee on one of our cards and take home our other blank cards.

photo-13Japanese Nōtan Style Bee: Nōtan (濃淡) is a Japanese design concept involving the play and placement of light and dark as they are placed next to the other in art and imagery. When you create in Nōtan style you use positive and negative space. We are making a bee because bees can see UV light, light that humans can’t see. Using a bee shaped stencil, trace the bee on a yellow rectangle then cut it out very carefully in one piece. Then place the yellow bee cut out on top of a black square piece of construction paper. Fit the yellow bee cut out back into the yellow rectangle. Use a glue stick to put glue right on top of the yellow bee cut out. Then turn it over and place it directly adjacent to the yellow rectangle edge thus creating a full bee image from negative (black) and positive (yellow) space.