Monday, July 29, 2013

Polychaetes and Paintings

Hello, hello! Oh my, as usual, there is lots to catch up on around here. For brevity sake, let's go over it in list-form:
1) I graduated with my Bachelor of Science degree (Marine Ecology emphasis) last month! It's amazing how fast the time has gone, how much I have learned in that short time frame, and how much more well-rounded I feel. Being in the lab (and field) and working with marine critters inspires me to paint more while at the same time, sitting down with a sketchbook, pencils, and paints inspires me to get to know/understand/analyze those critters even more. As both an artist and a scientist, I truly feel like I've finally found myself, and it feels pretty awesome.
2) I'm currently still doing the occasional marine invertebrate sorting for WA Dept. of Ecology, but more importantly, I'm now a polychaete taxonomy apprentice with one of only 2 regional experts on the creatures. Polychaetes are marine worms--and there's a *lot* of different species out there with few people that can identify them down to the genus or species level (to do so often requires microscopic analysis of teeny hair-like features, jaws, and sometimes full-blown dissections). So, I'm slowly learning from a polychaete taxonomist how to properly ID them in hopes that soon I too will be a fully-fledged polychaete specialist. It requires excruciating patience, attention to detail, and a ridiculous amount of crazy love of these worms (which describes me quite well, actually). I'm going to try to refrain from writing too many polychaete obsession posts, but you can bet that there will be some here and there! They are amazing, and often misunderstood, animals.
3) Painting! With a more reliable schedule again, I've been doing more painting and it feels *wonderful*. I've started on a new, large body of work (with some of the largest paintings I've done to date). Above you can see one of three large cradled panels I'm putting together from scratch--after 3 days, I only have 1 fully completed (I now remember why I rarely build these things myself and usually have the pros build them for me). Once I get more pieces completed, I'll introduce this series a bit more to you.
4) In-between working on the large paintings, I painted some mini ones! Above is a sneak peek of all of them together--once I get them framed, I'll be listing them in the in the shop (and will post here before I do). Each one is its own tiny surreal scene. Most originated as random sketches in my sketchbook, so it felt appropriate to bring them to life in this small, delicate way. I've been massively inspired from both still lifes and landscapes lately, and I think that's coming through in my work in a bizarre little mishmash.
5) Lastly, I posted on my Facebook page (do sign up to get the latest news) earlier in the month about a new batch of note cards in the shop. Each pack of 3 has one of each of the three slug paintings I made some time back. And to make them extra slimy-special, I varnished the slugs on each card by hand! When you tilt them in the light, they really do have a "wet" look to them.
Whew! Are ya still with me? I think I'll end this book-of-a-blog-post here. Thanks for your support, everyone! I'll be back soon with more.