Demonstrating a technique is my favorite way to connect with people around my artistic process. I love being able to talk about both my process and my subjects at the same time. I also love how demos help demystify the artistic process somewhat.
Sketching from living creatures, whether in the field or through some portal like a nest camera gives me the ability to observe natural behavior and capture intimate moments in the lives of my subjects. Sketching this way also forces me to be loose and not too precious about the outcome. Sometimes the animal decides when the drawing is finished by changing position or flying away!
Recently, I did a demonstration of quick sketching techniques at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. I used nest cameras hosted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group. Here are some of those sketches.
Over the past year or so, I’ve become increasingly interested in how various species fit into the ecosystem. I wanted to find a fun and interesting way to explore these relationships so I started making these food web drawings. I’m looking forward to developing more of these. For now, enjoy!
I’m working on a series of drawings for a book about the area near the confluence of the Yuba and Feather Rivers. The focus of this book is the flora and fauna of this area so I’m drawing a lot of my favorite subjects. Working in pen and ink is satisfying and challenging in equal measure.
Working on drawings can be so fun when I am just in the beginning stages. I’m playing with layouts and orientation, just experimenting. I do most of this on tracing paper and below you can see the seams of the sheets as I use multiple sheets to accommodate a large drawing.
These are grey pine and blue oak, two species native to the arid foothills of California.
I just finished my first Open Studios here in Santa Cruz. Wow, what a fantastic experience! The staff at the Arts Council were so supportive and encouraging. The other participating artists were so positive and helpful. And everyone who visited my studio was wonderful!
Here are some of the projects I worked on while folks came to visit during Open Studios:
I still have work in the Miniatures show at the Monterey Museum of Art. That show runs through January and is a fundraiser for the museum. If you want to support local arts organizations here on the Central Coast and have an opportunity to own one of my bird drawings, this is a great opportunity to do so!
As we move toward autumn, I am reflecting back on the past few months that have been full of new spaces and new inspirations. I’ve been a busy bee this year! I moved my studio to a new space in preparation for participation in the Open Studios tour this year. I am putting the finishing touches on the mural at Porter College. And I’m making new work for upcoming exhibits and projects!
This will be the first year that I participate in the Open Studios Art Tour organized by the Arts Council Santa Cruz County. The tour is a celebration of the vibrant arts community here in Santa Cruz County and I am very excited to be participating in both the South County weekend (October 10th & 11th) and the Encore Weekend (October 17th &18th). During the Open Studios Tour, the public is welcome to come visit my studio and watch me demonstrate some of the techniques I use in my work. I will have works in progress as well as both originals and prints for sale. I will also have a piece of work up at the Santa Cruz County Art League as part of the Preview Exhibition for Open Studios. That show opens on September 27th. The Open Studios guide will be available in the Santa Cruz Good Times weekly paper at the end of September.
I have also submitted a piece of artwork for the annual Miniatures show at the Monterey Museum of Art. That exhibit opens in October and serves as a fundraiser for the museum. Please visit the museum for the opening reception on October 2.
Earlier this summer, I spent several weeks traveling through various parts of California, participating in butterfly population surveys and exploring areas of the state I’ve never seen. In the coming weeks, the fruits of that inspiring trip will emerge as I develop drawings of some of the creatures I saw during my travels. I am also continually inspired by my connection to Pinnacles National Park and all the wonders that live in my backyard (and friends I keep finding in my new studio space!).
I hope some of you will be able to visit me during Open Studios and I will continue to share my works here for those who can’t!
Tomorrow, Dec 5, my show “simple pleasures” will be opening at five pins project (491A Guerrero Street, San Francisco). I’m showing a mix of old and new mixed-media work, all focused on simple things that bring me great joy. From the delicate wings of butterflies to the swooping lines of telephone wires, I see draw ongoing inspiration from everyday experiences. If you can, please come enjoy this small exhibit in a wonderful little space.
On December 5, I will be opening a solo show of my work at five pins project in San Francisco. As a departure from my more formal scientific illustration work, I am taking this opportunity to make some playful, interactive pieces. I am also revisiting a more sculptural process, something I explored more in my early undergraduate career as an art student at Portland State University.
The walnut shell boats are an expansion on my contribution to the “Whatever Floats Your Boat” exhibit at Apricity Gallery here in Santa Cruz. These are a nod to my childhood, when we would make tiny boats out of walnut shells to float down the gutters of our street. It is such a delight to make such simple and beautiful little objects out of only materials found in nature.
I will also be showing a small group of moveable butterfly sculptures. These are an exploration of a newly-discovered interest in these extraordinary creatures. I intentionally chose species whose upper- and under-wing patterns are very different, especially in showiness. I love how something so bright and flashy as a Sonoran Blue or so boldly patterned as a Sara Orangetip can change so dramatically in appearance when they fold their wings.
All in all, this show is about exploring some very simple things that bring me great joy. Whether watching a tiny boat float down the street in the rain or marveling at the flash of color as a butterfly passes by on a trail, I am constantly striving to connect to my experience of simple pleasures.
I hope you will join me at five pins on Friday, December 5 to experience some of these joys for yourself.