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!

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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!

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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.

Monarchs on my mind

With so much information available about global climate change, the potential impacts it will have on us in the future, and the impacts these changes are having on us now, I think it sometimes easy to overlook the ways that shifts in precipitation patterns, temperature ranges, fire cycles, and various other components of climate can impact other creatures. Furthermore, the introduction of non-native species, disruption of wilderness areas, increased development of open spaces, the threats of air and water pollution as well as many other factors also place immense pressure on ecosystems where inter-species relationships have developed over millennia.

Monarch butterflies are a well-known and well-documented case in point. Female monarchs lay their eggs exclusively on milkweed plants (Asclepias sp.) and the Monarch larvae feed exclusively on milkweed. Without milkweed, the reproductive cycle of the Monarch butterfly is disrupted and the species suffers considerably.

It is my hope that the circular layout of this drawing serves as a reminder that all of our lives are cyclical and that we have to attend to all components of the cycle in order to thrive.

 

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and Milkweed (Asclepias californica)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and Milkweed (Asclepias californica)

an updated portfolio

Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii menziesii)

I am in the process of applying to be an artist-in-residence at the California Academy of Sciences for the spring/summer 2014. Toward that end, I have complied a new portfolio showcasing a range of my work over the last five years. Please see the link below to a PDF of my portfolio.

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sketches from Maui

This turtle is probably more than 50 years old. The shell was about 3.5 feet long by about 2 feet wide.

A family wedding took me to Maui last week. After a couple of days of festivities, I was free to explore the island a bit. One morning, I went to the top of Haleakala volcano to watch the sun rise and also search for the endangered Nene goose, the state bird of Hawai’i. I was […]

mural progress

After priming the wall, I started work on the first layer of paint. This will be the foundation for all the detailed work to come.

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mural painting, step one

Step one: putting the drawing on the wall. Tonight I started this process many furry friends join me, including one skunk, four raccoons, and two deer. Look closely at this photo and you’ll see the skunk running under my step ladder.

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birds at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Recent additions to my project Birds We Love to Hate will be on exhibit at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for the month of August. The opening will be part of the First Friday Santa Cruz events for the month of August. Please come join me on Friday, August 2 at the museum […]

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