01 August 2014

journal sketches to share

I have reached the end of another sketch journal. I always page through them before I place them on the shelf with the others. The paper in this one is a creamy color, which photographed yellow. Once I get the scanner out of storage, I might redo them. Meanwhile, here are some of my favorite sketches from the last month or so. Enjoy!

17 June 2014

tiny doses of varied art

 A while back I moved into a small apartment. Most of my books and art supplies are in a storage unit. I miss them dearly. I sketch pretty much every day, but I have not really done any ART since I moved. Some days I hurt just thinking about painting.

I have found that I am channeling my artistic energies into other media. This week I finished a quilt for my bed. :) Now, I am not very good at quilting. I piece and quilt by machine only. If I had to do sewing by hand it would never happen. I use a temperamental Brother portable that I have had for 25+ years.

The finished Creepy Monkey Quilt

This quilt, which I call the Creepy Monkey Quilt, along with a baby quilt I made for a friend, are part of a challenge I set for myself. I got 3 bins of fabric when we cleaned out the house, and I made these two quilts using what was in those bins. So far, the only thing I have bought is thread - and that's only because my box of notions is in storage with my books. Last night I slept under a quilt that I made. It won't win any awards, but it was warm, and it makes me happy. Isn't that what art is all about?

the Creepy Monkeys

The baby quilt - all the fabrics have insects on them, particularly lady bugs.

03 April 2014

random sketches from another journal

It has been a hard couple of months to get in any sort of serious art work. I still try to sketch or doodle something everyday. Here are a few worth sharing.

10 March 2014

other duties as assigned

My boss is off at a conference. She emailed me asking me to go into the museum proper, visit the gift stores and price all of the pens and pencils with the Academy logo on them. I'm a visual person, so instead of a list, I sent her this image from my sketchbook. :)

02 February 2014

February is Letter Writing Month!!

A challenge to get you letter writing. For each mailing day in February, write a letter and mail it. It is that simple. (More on the challenge here.)

My first set of February letters written yesterday and heading to a mailbox near you!

01 January 2014

the books of 2013

Below is the list of books, journals, and comics that I spent time with in 2013. How geeky!

  1. The Unwritten #42; 43; 44; 45; 46; 47; 48; 49; 50; 51; 52; 53; 54
  2. Wild Blue Yonder #1; 2; 3
  3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 9, #16; 17
  4. Angel & Faith, season 9, #16; 17; 18
  5. Willow, season 9, #1; 2; 3; 4
  6. Shimmer #16; 17
  7. Creative Non-Fiction #47; 48;  49; 50
  8. Tin house 14(4)
  9. Saga, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16
  10. Print, 67.5
  11. Sandman: Overture #1;
  12. Illiterature - Carol Lay
  13. The Edge of the World - Kevin J. Anderson
  14. Soulless [reread] - Gail Carriger
  15. Spook - Mary Roach
  16. Monday Mourning - Kathy Reichs
  17. Changeless - Gail Carriger
  18. The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives - Leonard Mlodinow
  19. Blameless - Gail Carriger
  20. The Road to Bedlam - Mike Shevdon
  21. Northwest Passage - Scott Chantler
  22. Heartless - Gail Carriger
  23. Break No Bones - Kathy Reichs
  24. The Bird King: an artist’s notebook - Shaun Tan
  25. The Map of All Things - Kevin J. Anderson
  26. A Natural History of Dragons - Marie Brennan
  27. Rage for Fame - Sylvia Jukes Morris
  28. Blue Dragon - Kylie Chan
  29. The Disappearing Spoon - Sam Kean
  30. A Red Sun Also Rises - Mark Hodder
  31. Gothic Charm School - Jillian Venters
  32. Home: A memoir of my early years - Julie Andrews
  33. Doktor Glass - Thomas Brennan
  34. Tempest's Fury - Nicole Peeler
  35. Timeless - Gail Carriger
  36. The Developing Mind - Daniel Siegel
  37. Help! I've been adopted - Brenda McCreight
  38. A chicken in every yard - Robert & Hannah Litt
  39. Deja dead - kathy reichs
  40. The islanders - christopher priest
  41. Parenting your older adopted child - Brenda McCreight
  42. Daily Rituals - Mason Currey
  43. Home and other big fat lies - Jill Wolfson
  44. The Painted Word - Phil Cousineau
  45. Comics Journal #302
  46. 206 Bones - Kathy Reichs
  47. Except the Queen - Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder
  48. The Yard - Alex Grecian
  49. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened - Jenny Lawson
  50. Lizard Music - D. Manus Pinkwater
  51. Dogs I have met and the people they found - Ken Foster
  52. Waiter Rant - a waiter
  53. Doc: a novel - Mary Doria Russell
  54. Mr. Churchill's Secretary - Susan Elia McNeal
  55. Tempest Reborn - Nicole Peeler
  56. Theft - Peter Carey
  57. The Art of Racing in the Rain -Garth Stein
  58. Steal Like an Artist - Austin Kleon
  59. Empire State - Adam Christopher
  60. Parents, teens and boundaries - Jane Bluestein
  61. Expats - Chris Pavone
  62. Red Handed - Max Kindt
  63. Still Life - Melissa Milgrom
  64. Spider Bones - Kathy Reichs
  65. Positive Parenting for Bipolar Kids - McDonnell etc al.
  66. Apocalypse Cow - Michael Logan
  67. The Coral Thief - Rebecca Stott
  68. Envisioning Information - Edward Tufte
  69. Making It Up - Penelope Lively
  70. Eye of the Whale - Douglas Carlton Abrams
  71. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson
  72. The Key To Creation - Kevin J. Anderson
  73. Museums and the Paradox of Change - Robert Janes
  74. Bears I Have Met, and Others - Allen Kelly
  75. Dead Man's Road - Joe R Lansdale
  76. Who Could That Be At This Hour? - Lemony Snicket
  77. Fool - Christopher Moore
  78. Maps and Legends - Michael Chabon
  79. Darwin’s Pictures - Julia Voss
  80. Mercury Falls - Robert Kroese, Kevin Stillwell
  81. Blue - Lou Aronica
  82. Red Harvest - Dashiell Hammett
  83. Double blind - Ann Aguirre
  84. The Science of Leonardo - Fritjof Capra
  85. Possession - Kat Richardson
  86. Writing Science in Plain English - Anne Greene
  87. Eats, Shoots and Leaves - Lynn Truss
  88. The Dain Curse - Dashiell Hammett
  89. Jack Glass  - Adam Roberts
  90. Flash and Bones - Kathy Reichs
  91. Tourists - Lisa Goldstein
  92. The Mapmakers- John Noble Wilford
  93. Princess Elizabeth's Spy - Susan Elia McNeal
  94. Empire Falls - Richard Russo
  95. People of the Book - Geraldine Brooks [reread]
  96. The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper [reread]
  97. The Participatory Museum - Nina Simon [reread]
  98. Practical Evaluation Guide - Judy Diamond et all
  99. The Tree of Story - Thomas Wharton
  100. Enjoy the Experience - Kugelberg, Daley and Major
  101. The Oblivion Society - Marcus Alexander Hart
  102. The Grey King - Susan Cooper [reread]
  103. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk - David Sedaris
  104. The Long Song - Andrea Levy
  105. Glamour in Glass - Mary Robinette Kowal
  106. Dreamers of the day - Mary Doria Russell
  107. The Living - Annie Dillard
  108. Fiddlehead - Cherie Priest
  109. The Art Forger - B.A. Shapiro
  110. Calming the emotional storm - Sheri Van Dijk
  111. A judge's guide to divorce - Roderick Duncan
  112. The End of Mr. Y - Scarlett Thomas
  113. The Time Travelling Fashionista on board the Titanic - Bianca Turetsky

24 November 2013

little successes

Many layers make up the background - it's a little wobbly, but good.

I first learned to use Photoshop and Illustrator in the 1980's, when it was "the wave of the future" and only available on Macs. Photoshop was used for scanning in your reference sketches and converting to a masking layer. All the *real* drawing was done in Illustrator. I spent long hours in the computer lab creating images too large to fit on a 3.5" floppy, images that the "help lab" would compress by turning into 300 page documents of ASCII text.

A lot has changed since then. My abilities as an illustrator as well as the capabilities of both programs. For the last several years I have done the majority of my art "by hand", by which I mean non-digitally. Each time I attempted a computer-based illustration, I would get frustrated with the learning curve necessary to master the tools available in the latest software version. It was faster to create the whole thing with pen and paper because I had a proper understanding of what those materials could do.
A new layer for adding "characters".

Recently, my boss at my day job asked me to throw together a sign to put in one of the display cases. I could see the image I wanted in my mind. But all of the tools I would normally use were at home in my studio. I opened up Photoshop on my work computer and gave it a whirl. Being trapped at the office gave me the impetus to push beyond the first 17 mistakes of color and placement and work up something I could live with, even feel proud of. :)
The final image.

The only sketch I did "by hand"

Two things I would like to do next time around:
1. draw at home using my wacom tablet instead of the jerky mouse I used at work.
2. dig up that tutorial on how to make my own brush settings instead of just using the pre-sets.

12 November 2013


One Truth, Many Lies: A New View of Art and Natural History Collections

  • Apply by December 13, 2013


Goals of the Residency
  • To connect visual artists and museum visitors in a lively discussion of the intersection of art and science;
  • To create programming and artwork that focuses on novel use of natural history collections as part of the artistic process.
  • To increase collections use by nontraditional communities;
  • To provide access to natural history library and research collections for artists to utilize in the creation of a body of work.

Residency terms are over a period of three days and two nights, and must take place during one of the following date ranges selected by the Artist and agreed to by the Academy:
April 14, 2014 – May 4, 2014  
May 19, 2014 – June 9, 2014  
June 25, 2014 – July 16, 2014
August 1, 2014 – August 22, 2014

Artists will receive an honorarium, and compensation for travel, lodging, meals, and incidentals for three days and two nights in San Francisco.

Deadline: Proposals due no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 13, 2013, and must be submitted via email to Diane T Sands (dsands@calacademy.org) with the subject line: One Truth Many Lies Submissions. Questions may be directed to Diane T Sands, MLIS, MFA, Collection Development Librarian, via the email above or at (415) 379-5489.

The Academy will select a total of four (4) Artists in Residency (the “Artist(s)”) based upon the following criteria:
   Merit of past work.
    Readiness to engage with visiting public at the Academy.
    Potential for proposed programming to impact the Academy community and beyond in positive and educational ways.

Emerging and mid-career artists involved in high quality, research-based practice, who have not had the opportunity to work at the Academy, will be given priority in selection.

Residency Requirements
1. Selected Artists will be required to present two programs during their residency, at least one of which must be a public educational program: A lecture or demonstration designed for the museum floor with general audiences in mind; And a hands-on workshop or other class offered free of charge to the public, and optimized for individuals to create and work collaboratively with the visiting artist. Programs will be arranged at scheduled times Thursdays through Sundays.
    2. The Artist and Academy staff will mutually agree upon any public programs and activities offered by the Artist.  
    3. Significantly, Artists will have at least one day to interact with researchers at the Academy and work with the research collections housed in the Academy’s Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability.
    4. Artists will participate in final informational exchange/interview with Academy staff.

    How to Apply
    1. Artists must provide a resume and/or curriculum vitae, with full name, address, phone, and email.
    2. Provide a letter of interest, outlining the two proposed programs for the public during the Residency, and the specific Academy research collection to be accessed.  Please provide taxonomic (family) classification or narrower, if possible; please refer to information about the Academy’s scientific research departments and collections at http://research.calacademy.org/.
    3. Provide three (3) references.
    4. Provide URL for at least fifteen (15) clearly-captioned images of recent works.  No CDs, memory sticks, or paper portfolios will be accepted.

    Proposals will be reviewed by a committee of knowledgeable arts professionals and selected Academy staff. Finalists will be invited to the Academy for an interview and presentation of their work.   
    Selected artists will be notified via email on or before Friday, January 31, 2014.

    Ownership and License of Artist(s) Works Created During and For Residency
    1. Artist(s) will retain copyright of all work product created by them during and for their Residency at the Academy.
    2. The Academy requests that Artist(s) grant the Academy a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, license to use, adapt, incorporate, reproduce, display, modify, and make derivative or collective works of Artist(s)’ work product from the Residency for use in Academy promotional materials, brochures, advertising, or similar marketing materials, including on the Academy’s website or social media sites.  

    Child Safety
    All Academy Artists in Residence are requested to review and abide by the Academy’s “Code of Conduct with Youth” policy.  

    07 November 2013

    random sketches

    I begin another wonderful, hand-made sketchbook today (thanks, Anna!). Here are a few sketches from the last book worth sharing. Enjoy!

    ok. this is from the sketchbook before last, but I couldn't resist. :)

    17 October 2013

    conventions and killer robots

    Firecracker flower (Dichelostemma ida-maia) and frenemies.
    I posted the companion piece to this guy over at the Illustration Smackdown on From the Stacks. I know many botanical artists who do wonderful jaw-dropping work. Once I thought I might try to join them. However, I am not very good at following lists of conventions - and the American Society of Botanical Artists have a bunch. For the ASBA, scientific illustration is a smaller piece of botanical art. In my mind, it is the other way around

    Not only do I have a predilection for drawing animals, but I kept getting hung up on botanical traditions, like the isolated specimens on a pure white background with no extras. I can’t help it. I find it kind of boring. Mentally, I draw wild beasts into these delicate works, ripping the foliage apart or inserting killer robots with blasters setting fire to the petals. This time I went beyond mentally drawing, and I must say I am glad I did. :)