Saturday, July 28, 2012

Within Pools Of Sea Stars And Barnacles

The octopus painting I alluded to earlier is in the shop:
acrylic and gold composite leaf on cradled hardboard

I thought I'd also share some photos I snapped last month when I went tidepooling at one of my favorite spots along the rugged Strait of Juan de Fuca here in Washington. Back in January I spent my New Year's day at the same location (during that trip, I saw a dead giant Pacific octopus among the rocks--it was both sad and awe-inspiring at the same time).

It's so gorgeous there, with lots of different substrates and ocean-worn eye candy.

The tide pools are seen at low tide along the lava rocks (formed eons ago). You never know what you'll come across...

A small blood star...
A large ochre star...
A sea star the size of a thumbnail...
Perhaps a green anemone...
Or a stranded sea urchin.

Here, you'll always find plenty of kelp beds washing against the rocks, as well as what may seem to be miles of mussel beds.
It truly is one of my favorite places to spend a wet and salty Northwest day.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Salty Sea Air

More new painting sneak peeks! I've been working on quite a few small pieces lately--I think because I have so very many ideas busting through the pages of my sketchbook right now, painting small is a guaranteed way of making sure my favorite ideas see the light.

This one is just about completed and will be in the shop on Tuesday, July 24th...
A deep sea arctic octopus (total painting size is 4x4"). I'm pleased with the outcome! And goodness the gold leaf really does set this guy off. It's a small painting, but packs quite a punch.
Here's a peek at a 5x7" gull painting that's really coming along. When finished, he'll be surrounded by gigantic looming flowers.
And, while not a painting, here's a sneak peek snapshot from my workbench at the Dept. of Ecology (this is a small vial of molluscs I sorted out from one sediment sample--some of those clams and snails are roughly the size of a pinhead!). I help out with the sorting/identifying of benthic invertebrates found in the marine sediment samples that our team collects from Puget Sound. The resulting data helps us to see how healthy the ecology of the Sound is.
Last month and also in April I went out with the Ecology marine sediment monitoring team to collect sediment samples (in the picture above, I'm the one in the yellow). It's so much fun to be out on the boat. Plus, seeing what critters come up in the mud from 100 feet or more below is always exciting...
The sediment is sieved for invertebrates and then bottled up to be taken back to the lab for sorting.
Lots of marine worms!

It's very interesting work. And gives invaluable data for local marine restoration efforts (some of which appear to be paying off--a few locations that were once heavily contaminated with low biological diversity are now beginning to flourish again).

Have a fabulous weekend, guys!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Awake From A Long Slumber

Hello, hello, my friends! I know it’s been far, far too long. I’ve long wanted to update this blog but the truth is, that between my long days spent in class and labs coupled with lots of fieldwork and a marine taxonomy internship with Washington State’s Department of Ecology….there just hasn’t been the time.

But! That’s not to say I haven’t been sketching, painting, and scheming. I’m on the last pages of my current sketchbook and have a small stack of paintings to be listed in the shop, with more to come! This Thursday (July 12th), I’ll be listing three tiny slug paintings {update: now all sold}:

Each one is painted on thick watercolor paper in acrylics, varnished, and comes in its own itty bitty sage green envelope (mailed inside a larger envelope to meet postal regulations).
Then on Friday (July 13th), I’ll be listing this small albino bullfrog (*update: now sold*):
He’s every bit as mysterious and captivating as you would expect an albino bullfrog to be. I thought Friday the 13th would be a mighty appropriate day to put him in the shop. There’s more a’comin’, so stay tuned!

Back in December I also moved my belongings, myself, and the cat into a miniature-sized studio apartment at my mom and stepdad’s house temporarily to help with the educational financial burden (and am ever so grateful—going back to college has hit the pocketbook pretty hard). It’s small and hidden in the woods and oh-so-cozy…

Yes, these pictures were taken in December. And it’s July (the Christmas tree was long ago packed back up, never fear!). I was a bit worried that I would have to drastically downsize in the art department to fit everything in there, but it all found a place in the end! My tiny boat-sized kitchen is located behind my art-packed bookcase (painted a pistachio green) and the dvd cabinet... 
I have an antique quilt top draped across the entrance door for privacy...
And the painting table is a bustlin’ with activity and inspiration…

And of course, this little ragamuffin is doing fine as well.
What you don't see in the pictures here is how my gigantic art printer and scanner are housed away in the hall closet with my clothes hanging above, and the "shipping station" takes up an entire linen closet.

Whew! I think that’s all I’ll bombard you with for the moment. If there are any readers still remaining out there, thanks for staying with me! I’ll be back with more paintings to share soon.