whatever floats your boat

About a month ago, I saw a call for submissions to a show called “Whatever Floats Your Boat”. The parameters were simple: each submission had to be a functioning boat, smaller than 10″ long and made entirely of natural materials. No tape, glue, paint, metal, etc.. I was so excited by this challenge that I started collecting materials right away, picking up leaves from various trees on my way home. I figured out the sail part of the boat pretty quickly but the hull seemed more complicated. Then I remembered racing boats in the gutters on our street when I was a kid. We used walnut shells from the neighbor’s tree! They were simple and excellent little vessels.

So I got myself some whole walnuts, cut them up with a borrowed Dremmel, and got to work. I experimented with many different kinds of leaves: oak, laurel, azalea, ivy, tan oak. I also dug into my store of feathers for a little variety. I attached all of these little sails with melted beeswax and tested my tiny vessels in bowls of water in the kitchen.

An armada of 6 boats will be on display at Apricity Gallery at the Tannery Art Center here in Santa Cruz. The show opens on September 5 and runs through the month. If you miss it this time, the boats will make a second appearance in San Francisco this December.

IMG_7046.JPG

IMG_7042.JPG

IMG_7045.JPG

IMG_7039.JPG

mural progress continues

I have been a busy bee lately! With September fast approaching, I am trying to get some projects done (or at least advanced). So I spent some quality time working on the mural earlier this week. I’m both refining parts that are already there and filling in spaces that I was neglecting. Can you see what details I’ve added or changed?

IMG_7066.JPG

IMG_7063.JPG

IMG_7064.JPG

IMG_7068.JPG

simple pleasures

I have an exhibition in San Francisco this winter and I wanted to try something a little different for it. I’m working on some small, loosely painted installation pieces that have moving parts. The process of making these has involved some experimental engineering and more than a few prototypes. I’m still working out some of the details but here’s a preview of what I’ve been doing:

IMG_7057.JPG

IMG_7069.JPG

IMG_7058.JPG

and yet more mural progress

We are getting there! With so many other projects in the works, this one doesn’t get nearly as much attention as I would like. Somehow we manage to move it along all the same.

IMG_7012.JPG

IMG_7052.JPG

IMG_7053.JPG

so much mural progress!

Like I said, I’ve been remiss in my updates and now I’m working to correct that.

The mural has come a long way since my last post! We’ve added plenty of color and texture, personality and interest to this project. I have re-learned to handle acrylic paint on a large scale. I’ve remembered the importance of looking at something from far away to get a better perspective (visually & mentally) on it. I’ve enjoyed hearing feedback from strangers & friends alike as this project continues to develop.

Here, see for yourself!

IMG_6811.JPG

IMG_6813.JPG

IMG_6948.JPG

IMG_6946.JPG

Baskets

I have been remiss in my updates! About a month ago, I completed some pen & ink illustrations for a book on Native Californians. Initially, I was simply going to illustrate some Valley Oak leaves and acorns. The twin acorns will serve as a design element throughout the book. The leaves and acorns serve to illustrate an important food source for the people living in the northern Sacramento Valley.

Then my client asked if I could illustrate some baskets and other artifacts. I was thrilled to take on the additional work. It’s been awhile since I did any pen and ink work and I forgot how much I enjoy it! Here’s a look at a couple of the illustrations:

IMG_6925.JPG

IMG_6930.JPG

just a little signage

I was recently contacted by the City of Santa Cruz to make some signs for the upcoming annual Woodies on the Wharf event. I love making signs like this: simple & clear. If you’re in town in a few weeks, come check them out!

20140527-200604-72364057.jpg

from birds to baskets

One thing I do to keep myself connected to citizen science projects as well as to continue honing my field-sketching skills is to volunteer to monitor nesting raptors at Pinnacles National Park. This past weekend, as temperatures in the park hovered around 100 degrees, I spent two full days hiking and observing nest sites throughout the park. This is a tough year for nesting raptors so each site is precious and the data I help collect gives park staff a better understanding of both the current and long term raptor behaviors at Pinnacles.

One of the highlights this weekend was observing three Red-shouldered Hawk nestlings who are just about ready to fledge. I use a spotting scope so that I can get a good, close-up view of the birds without being close enough to disturb them.

Red-shouldered Hawk nestlings, about 37-39 days old and ready to fledge!

Red-shouldered Hawk nestlings, about 37-39 days old and ready to fledge!

 

Back at home, I have another project that involves contributing pen and ink illustrations to a monograph on two groups of Native Californians. My illustrations are of Valley Oak leaves and acorns as well as baskets woven by these groups. I am so excited to be working on this project and to be doing some new pen and ink work. Here’s a preview of those sketches:

 

Cradle basket

Cradle basket

Three baskets with chevron, mountain, and quail top-knot designs

Three baskets with chevron, mountain, and quail top-knot designs

 

This promises to be a busy few weeks but I am looking forward it!

 

Please also remember that my Monarch piece is still up at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History as part of the annual Art of Nature exhibit. The show runs through June 30.

More mural progress

Painting a mural is no joke! We have a huge wall (8’x16′) to paint and with both of us working full time, it’s hard to find large blocks of time to dedicate to this project. What’s more, because of the public nature of the project, there’s the added component of questions, comments, and other interruptions. While that’s all fine and good, it does slow us down.

But despite all the excuses (work, weather, other projects, life), we’ve recently been motivated to get back to work by the presence of new murals going up around us and a run of spectacularly gorgeous days. Plus, it would be embarrassing if it took us a whole year to get this done!

So back to work we are and we’ve made some significant progress over the past couple of days. Enjoy!

20140409-203430.jpg

20140409-203457.jpg

20140409-203510.jpg

Speaking of Monarchs….

A friend of mine posted this recently and it was so important, so relevant, that I have to share: http://monarchwatch.org/blog/

If those numbers don’t paint a clear picture of what is happening, particularly with the eastern populations of our Monarchs, I don’t know what does. It just doesn’t get more serious than this in terms of population crash.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 457 other followers