Thursday, September 16, 2010

Urchin Totem

It's cloudy and drizzly and dark favorite kind.

The midday natural light was so soft and dim that I quickly snapped a couple photos of a portion of my natural history collection display shelf.
Stacks of urchins and jars of feathers...An old book plate depicting varieties of anemones that I framed up a while back...Crab shells and rocks and various bits and bobs...In the studio, I have this old box of mostly bird illustrations that I've cut up and set aside for collages and inspiration. I've used some of them, but I really just enjoy looking at the melange of different bird heads and colors all living hectically (yet peacefully) together.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Nut Keepers

I just finished and listed another painting for the "Hall of Mystics" collection--this one being very teeny (framed as-is it's just 4x4.5").


acrylic and gold composite leaf on illustration board

2.5x3" (framed: 4x4.5")

{ Sold }

Quite a while ago I saw footage of an albino squirrel frolicking about in Seattle and have wanted to paint my own interpretation ever since. They're a bit rare in nature, but they do exist. Pretty neat.
I love how the gold leaf crackled a bit on this one.

Meanwhile, at the wildlife shelter, baby bird season has come and gone along with the summer months. Whew! It got a little crazy at times with all of those teeny tiny mouths to feed (for almost two months we had over 90 animals in our care to feed, medicate, and take care of--babies and adult animals alike), but most made it and were happily released into the wild. It's currently baby squirrel season and so our main building is alive with the little squeaks and silly noises of mini squirrels... They're heartbreakingly cute. So warm, fuzzy, and small! And they grow up so fast (too fast).

I'm off to enjoy a few last rays of sunshine today and then it's back to the paints.

{baby squirrel image by Robin Purcell courtesy of West Sound Wildlife Shelter}

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A Coat Made Of Graphite Dust

Just some recent pages from the sketchbook....

It's the first of September! And as such, the start of my favorite season. Knee high boots, layers of sweaters, walks on crispy leaves, hands around warm cups of tea, shorter days and longer evenings.... I can hardly wait! Fall around here literally lasts only a couple of weeks before the long and cold drizzly days of winter are upon us, so it's definitely a season to savor every minute of. The weather is already starting to change, though that first "crisp" fall day is still somewhere on the horizon.
But that's okay. I'll just go pour myself another cup of coffee, sharpen the pencils, ready the paints, and pretend that it's here already.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mysteries In The Deep

acrylic and gold composite leaf on hardboard

12x14" framed

{ Sold }

I finally wrapped up work on a new painting (part of my ongoing "Hall of Mystics" series) and got it all framed/photographed/listed for sale today. Whew! This one almost didn't get finished. About halfway through I got so frustrated that I shunted it to the side. I just wasn't really feeling the color scheme. Fast-forward to last week when I finished the oarfish himself and now, I'm so glad that I didn't scrap it. I'm happy as a clam with the colors, too! Weird how that happens. Sometimes it's just hard to fully visualize a piece until the very last stage.
Oarfish are really really bizarre. So much so, that I'll link you to a brief description of them over on Wikipedia. It's amazing that there are still tons of creatures in the sea that we literally know nothing about (case in point--encounters with oarfish swimming in their environment are practically non-existent...and yet, they live in every ocean in the world).

acrylic on cold press watercolor paper

3.5x4.75" on 4.5x5.75" paper

{ sold }

And I also whipped up a small and deceptively sweet little jellyfish painting on watercolor paper that is now for sale in the shop. I love drawing jellyfish. Possibly my favorite creature to draw? Maybe?

Okay, gang! I have another painting to unveil and some sketchbook peeks to show you in the next day or two. Hope you are all doing well!

Friday, August 13, 2010

March of the Ents

As I mentioned earlier, last month I spent a day traipsing about the Hoh Rainforest here in WA and got a little snap-happy with the camera.It's such a magical and surreal place, and gave me a lot of inspiration and ideas (as well as way too many reference images for future paintings). What slays me most is that mere minutes away is the beautiful coast as well. So much diversity in my little homeland!Lots of hanging mosses and lichens......tangled tree roots growing over long-dead and decomposed nurse logs......greens in every hue imaginable...

Yup. Pretty neat. I saw many little critters while there, including some of my favorite invertebrates to doodle:And though I saw a few native Douglas squirrels about, not too many were albinos with fabric collars...
Happy weekend, gang!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Zombie Blog

Good gravy.

I had absolutely no intention of taking such a long blog land siesta. There's been so much going on 'round here this summer, plus a lot of settling into a routine (or trying to, at least) that I just haven't had a lot of spare time. But, zombie blog, I hereby resurrect thee! Live! Live, damn you!

So, what have I been up to as of late? Well, for starters, there have been a few lovely little day and overnight trips to local wonders. For the first time, I took a day trip to the nearby Hoh Rainforest and it was...incredible. It was actually very hard for me to leave. It's such a surreal, majestic, and eery place. I can't believe I've lived in Washington all my life and never been there until now! I spend a lot of time at the coast, but I always forget that the Rainforest is just a few hours away.I took so many photos that I'll need to devote an entire blog post to them.

My 26th birthday (eek!) was way back in June and I spent it with my dear mom up at Mt. Rainier for an overnight trip. It was wonderfully relaxing and inspiring, and there was so much wildlife out and about--I even saw 4 foxes and a sweet litter of fox kits! The mountain can be rather unpredictable, especially in the spring months, so I only glimpsed the summit briefly on the second day but never got a good shot of it (though, on clear days, I'm lucky enough to see it from where I live).
I loved how moody the various mountain peaks looked in between the dark clouds and fog... There are so many gorgeous hikes up there as well. The streams and rivers were gushing with the spring snow melts.

I'm also still busily volunteering at the wildlife shelter. There's never a dull day there! I've handled everything from bald eagles and barred owls, to coyote pups and weasels, baby hummingbirds and blue herons, fauns and raccoon kits, and so many baby birds that I now have their constant calls for food permanently etched in my brain. I wish I had pictures of all the animals I feed and take care of there, but it's always so busy that there's never any time to grab the camera.

As with any rehab shelter, there's always the sad cases mixed in with the good (thankfully, more good than sad). My favorite juvenile bald eagle I fondly and secretly named Sir Charles had to be put down last month due to his wing injury (he had originally fallen from his nest in the wild), which was very sad indeed. He was a feisty character, with a very holier-than-thou attitude and I still kinda miss the dude. But on the other hand, a baby Rufous hummingbird I helped rehab was released a week ago and I couldn't be more thrilled and proud (hummingbirds generally have a pretty poor success rate).

Speaking of hummingbirds, last month I completed on a wedding invite commission donning the little buggers. I don't normally tackle commissions (largely due to time constraints and there's just way too many less-than-fond memories from my graphic design days) but this one was for a very dear friend who probably gives me more creative freedom than I deserve when it comes to these sorts of things.
I do love how these turned out. I went pretty crazy with the insides, which were also custom drawn and custom lettered with all of the reception details.

In other news, I'm still busily plowing through science and math prep courses for my Environmental Science major. It's exciting, interesting, fresh and new--and I love when I'm able to combine both my art background and expertise with my newly found science path. Drawing lab specimens is a helluva lot of fun.

Now that I've been able to sort of settle into a routine a bit better, I'm digging into the sketchbook a lot more and slowly getting back into the paints. I'm rather embarrassed I don't have a fully finished painting to share yet, but I'm hoping to remedy that soon! And I *do* have a new batch of original sketch brooches that I'm terribly excited about. Today I had a little photoshoot with the "Aviary Collection", as I've been dubbing them, and I think they may be my favorites to date.
Inspired by natural history museum collections, each one is a labor of love and dons an original drawing, red velvet ribbon, fabric snippets, gold enamel edges, 30s newspaper on the back, and even a miniature handwritten tea-dyed specimen identification tag that can be left on or easily removed as you fancy. They also each come in small decorative gift boxes.
The amount of time I put into these is borderline ridiculous, but I love them each so much (the turkey vulture and egret are my faves). Each one will run $25 and will be available in the shop on Monday!I think it's high time I work out some painting details. Thank you for sticking with my uneventful blog, gang! I'll try to be better about the updates. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Oh, The Roads We Travel Down

Hello there, stranger.

I do apologize for the quietness. There's been a lot of happenings 'round these parts as of late. Lots of changes and new paths as well.
First and foremost, I've finally (!) listed the first of I hope many paintings of a new collection of work I hinted at earlier (the sketch of the first piece is above). I'm taking my time with this series because I have so many ideas for paintings for it and I really don't want to burn myself out before I can finish them all (which tends to happen frequently if I give myself a firm deadline). I'm literally bursting at the seams with painting ideas! A brief synopsis of the ongoing collection:

"The Hall of Mystics:

The natural world has always been a big passion and interest of mine (as seen in my work), and I view it with a sense of complete awe, wonder, and intrigue. No matter how deeply we study and explore it, parts will always remain a mystery and we will always be strangers, pilgrims, explorers within. The Hall of Mystics is, at heart, about that very idea: a clash of nature, mysticism, art history, symbolism, and with an overhanging wispy cloud of moodiness that we can only dream of penetrating."This little fella has been done for a few weeks now and thankfully, is now in the shop and ready for a new wall to call home.
Mystic Whale
7x5", frame dimensions are 11.5x9.5"
acrylic on hardboard w/ gold composite leaf details
{ sold }

Quite a few of the paintings in this series will have gilding--some of my most intricate gold leaf work to date (it can be challenging to work with, but I'm getting better at it). I just love how much depth, symbolism, and moodiness it gives to a piece. It fits the overall theme of this collection quite nicely.

The second piece is about 75% done and requires a few more sittings before I can varnish and frame it. A little hint at what it will be:{a stargazing time-lapse photo taken from my back deck late at night last month}

And now onto other equally important news I hinted at earlier in this post...

I'm three weeks into volunteering at a nearby wildlife rehabilitation center and it is *amazing*. Every week I go in, throw on the scrubs, and get to feed/help injured or abandoned wildlife and get them ready to release back into their environment.We rescue a wide variety of animals: eagles, owls, falcons, rabbits, opossums, squirrels, raccoons, ospreys, and other birds and small mammals. This week we even rescued a newborn river otter who was, unfortunately, stolen from her nest by a careless resident. She is the most adorable little thing (her eyes and ears are even still closed!) and will be in our care for quite a while until we can locate an adult otter to place her with (not an easy task, indeed). Lately, I've been involved in the constant feeding of 27 baby opossums, two resident owls, and several large bald eagles (who still amaze and thrill me every time I tiptoe into their cages to clean and feed).

Lastly, I also recently made a big decision to go back to school and study environmental science (with a specialization in marine ecology). Originally, I had thought that my college path would begin and end in the arts, but I've long felt like I should be doing and learning *more*. And next to art, nature (especially the ocean) has always been my biggest interest and passion. I spent a large chunk of my childhood growing up on the sea (my dad lived on a sailboat) and I do believe that saltiness and early exposure to the wonders of the environment played a huge role in shaping me into the person I am today. Of course, even as I tumble down the science path, I will continue to be a working artist. I will continue to paint and peddle my work until the day I die (I'd like to be cremated with my pencils and brushes, thank you very much). But at the same time, I'd like to dive into that underlying passion that my art is based off of: the natural realm.

I admit, the financial obligation is a little scary (I'm *almost* done paying off my student loans for my BFA...) but I'm excited not only in where this decision will lead me as a person, but also where my art will take off to! Both of these pursuits are so intertwined in my little world.

I must be off to do some painting as well as study for a test in my statistics class tomorrow (Bring. It. On.). Thank you so much for your love and support, for believing in me and my art, and for coming along on my little adventures in life.

I'll be back soon with more sneaky peeks at the new paintings (promise!). :)

{ the animal photos are courtesy of West Sound Wildlife Shelter }