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. Here are some of my favorite pages from the last several months. Enjoy!

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

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. :)

    21 September 2013

    evolution of a painting

    Slowly over the last month, I have been painting the above puma.This time I remembered to take some progress photos. :)