Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring, Springing

Portland trees are erupting with lovely blossoms all over town. I decided to challenge myself to an art experiment this weekend: capturing the beautiful pink cherry blossoms in the neighbor's yard using a unusual art tool...being the 16-month-old kiddo.

Step one: Admire the awesome flowers. (Wow, huh?)

Step two: Assemble non-toxic art supplies in the appropriate color scheme (in this case, a gray washable non-toxic marker, a custom mix of red and white tempera paint, a nice soft paintbrush, and a stack of cream-colored cards.)

Step three: Strategically hand art supplies to kiddo during a gap in the incessant going-down-the-slide practice and cross fingers...

Step four: Burst buttons with pride at how nicely that all turned out. Brag on internet, mail originals to grandparents.

Yeah, OK, it's not really that much different than the folks who dip grubs in paint and them them crawl all over the paper...But it's a fun exercise in selecting materials and introducing chaos! (Plus, it's so exciting to watch this grub learn how to re-load a brush with paint.)

Happy spring, y'all.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Modern Bobcat, Ancient Nimravid

Wrapped up an illustration project a little while ago that involved a femur of an extinct "false saber-tooth cat"--Nimravids were carnivores that co-evolved to have the big long fangs that one sees in a Smilodon, but that aren't quite related to modern kitties as we know them.

However, the niches are close enough that I was able to make use of a modern bobcat femur to inform my work...

I was adapting the line drawings that the scientist had made from the original fossil, and creating a shaded version that leaned on the bobcat bone for its structural integrity.

Tonight I'm going to see if I can whack out a stippled chalicothere molar. Ha! Stippling is a notoriously slow way of doing illustrations, since it literally goes One. Dot. At. A. Time. But the results can be nice when you put in the time, and it does have a "timeless" look that comes across nicely in publications. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Scarcely even a baby now

Looking through my sketchbook of late, I found myself thinking--"Oh man, there's almost nothing but sketches of the kiddo in here. I bet folks might get annoyed if I only ever post that stuff..."

And then I did a double-take and decided that I should be proudly embracing this life stage both in person and on the blog. So here you go, internet: some almost-recent doodles of this growing changing toddler. Enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Oregon to Alaska

Work trip to Fairbanks, Alaska! Had a lovely time sketching out the window of the airplane as we connected the travel dots today.

Lift-off from Portland Airport; volcanic trio; then watching the Columbia River drain into the Pacific Ocean.
Minimalist coastlines of British Columbia shift to dramatic mountain ranges. 
Envying odd peaks out the far side of the plane, then the landscape gets rugged under my side of the plane too.
Descent into Anchorage
Even lower over Anchorage. Sunlight reflects off ponds; snow-capped peaks; low angle of sun behind trees casts dramatic shadows on the water.
The fabulous mountain view from Anchorage airport.
Lifting off from Anchorage, en route to Fairbanks: already the sky turning golden with sunset at 2:30 in the afternoon!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Brown and Brown

We rented a car last weekend and as surprised how easy it is to get from one end of the urban sprawl to the other--as well as to get out in the woods.

More of my current brown-on-brown phase is posted over at Urban Sketchers Portland, if you're curious.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Our Bodies, Our Bikes: Part One

Ms. Elly Blue, femininst bicycle zinester and awesome small-press publisher, invited me to create the cover for her upcoming book, Our Bodies, Our Bikes. (Just a few days left to fund the project!)

We agreed that it would be inspired by the awesome tricks that bike dance groups like the Sprockettes and the Derailleurs perform.

Having a team of people engaged in the same pose was a great opportunity to allude to diversity of experiences in the book.

Not to mention the themes of interdependence and the importance of supporting each other.

Progress! But wait, is this looking to static? Too well-balanced? Do we need more dramatic tension?

I suggested a twist of Nude Descending a Staircase. Elly suggested a dose of Laoco├Ân. Oh hey, says I, there's this neat French statue of Hercules wrestling a giant snake at the Portland Art Museum right now. Field trip!

Sketched while the baby was awake...

...and then sketched when the baby finally fell asleep.

With that inspiration, the bicycle acrobats are revisited.
Feather boa stands in for the snake, of course. Better! A future post will have the color version--stay tuned.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Summer Sketching in Sellwood Park

It's such beautiful weather to get outdoors, slap paint onto scraps of paper, and heck, even nap on the lawn.

Here are a couple of the sketches I did in tempera paint on brown paper at the last Urban Sketchers gathering. You can see more in my post at pdxusk, as well.

Babykins, looking somewhat serious.

Kiddos on the swings

Slightly abstract interpretation of bright sky between tree branches

Two-tone sky: puffy clouds, doug firs