Putting the “Arts” in STEM

Greetings!  As we are waiting for the next core to be brought on deck, I thought I would try my hand at acrylic pour painting. I’m not what you’d call “artistically inclined”, but pour painting is something I’ve been dabbling in for a few months, and it’s so easy, even I can do it!

Originally, my thought was to use the movement(s) of the ship to disperse the paints across the canvas. The 6 basic ship motions are seen below:


Alas, I realized that it was not to be! The JR does not actually experience a lot of motion when we are on site because of our dynamic positioning (DP) system.  When there is a drill string lowered to the seafloor, we have to ensure that the ship doesn’t move away from the drill hole. The DP works by means of 12 computer-controlled thrusters (6 fore of the derrick, 6 aft). The GPS location of the drill site is entered into the computer system, and anytime the ship begins to veer off course (due to currents, waves, wind), the computer registers that and, in response, turns on the appropriate thruster(s) to keep her over the site. Right now we are in ~1460 meters of water, plus drilling into the rock another few hundred meters, so you can imagine how important it is to maintain position!

The DP system means that we don’t feel much motion on board, so my brilliant idea would have to be scrapped, and I’d just have to tilt the canvas by hand. That’s alright, I’ve done that many times before! Here are some snaps of the process:

Blank canvas.
Choosing paint colors.
Dirty pour (all colors layered in one cup)
The final product!


So, while we were waiting to do some STEM work (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), I added “Art” in the mix – and now we have STEAM!



Hello there! My name is Tammy Orilio and I am sailing on board the JOIDES Resolution, Expedition 376: Brothers Arc Flux as an Education & Outreach Officer. I look forward to sharing both science and shipboard life with you! In my other life, I teach Marine Science and Advanced Placement Environmental Science at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. I love being able to share these experiences with my school community!
More articles by: Tammy

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