It’s Shark Week, and I’ve been celebrating by startng work on a project that I’ve contemplated for awhile: a local shark species poster! This was inspired by a stop at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. I thought it would be a great way to learn more about the local marine life!
Cymbidium sp. Orchid
It’s been awhile since I had a finished piece to share, but I had a blast working on this one! I’d like to do more work in watercolor, and the colors and shapes in these orchids were too fascinating to pass up. It’s set in somewhat of an oval shape, with the intent of using an oval mat to frame it.
Came across this link today and thought it was a pretty amazing idea! California Condor researchers have tens of thousands of photos they need to look at to gather data, so they’ve turned to crowdsourcing to help them out! They show you photos taken at camera traps, and you help identify species, individuals, and behavior. It’s easy to learn, and can you can help one of the world’s rarest (and most famously endangered) birds, for free, right from your own home!
Got some more work done on my California Condor painting today! Doing my annual Castle rewatch (start to current finish) while I work… this is 10 hours of prep + 8 episodes of painting… or about 16 and a half hours!
Since today (April 8) was Draw a Bird Day, I thought a little Tricolored Blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) sketch might be appropriate this week! So here’s a few of the highly gregarious Tricolored Blackbirds in one of their favorite nesting habitats - cattails.
After a long wait for a paint sale (series 5 colors, ouch!), I’ve got my latest painting up on the easel! So far, so good…
I’d like to share more conservation news, and this headline has grabbed my attention over the last couple of days! A flock of around 50,000 Tricolored Blackbirds has settled into a field in central California. Once numbering in the millions, loss of habitat has caused an 80% drop in the population over the last 70 years. Less than 300,000 of these birds remain worldwide - so this one flock is potentially 1/6 (or more!) of the world’s population.
Unfortunately, the landowner needs to harvest the field where the blackbirds have chosen to nest so that he can feed his cattle. However, he doesn’t want to disturb the birds, either, so Audubon California stepped in on April 3 with an emergency plan to raise funds to purchase feed for his cattle. This way the field can remain undisturbed until the nestlings fledge, and the farmer is not losing money. As of this afternoon ( April 4), the farmer has agreed to delay his harvest while an agreement is worked out.
This is conservation at its finest. The farmer is fairly compensated for the delayed harvest and a large portion of the Tricolored Blackbird population is protected. Even more important to the larger picture, this sort of cooperation can open doors, and show landowners that conservation and management plans can be beneficial to all parties involved.
Please take a moment to thank Audubon California for their efforts and show your support for their fair conservation practices!
*taps mic* Is this thing on?
Well, it’s been FAR too long since I’ve been able to give any honest updates on my work! Teaching kids at the Natural History Museum last summer was an incredibly rewarding (and exhausting!) job, but the end of the season came all too soon! Thankfully, though, I found a new, permanent job in graphic design fairly quickly. I also found a new, nicer place to live, just steps from the beach. Did I mention that I also ran my third marathon, shattering my personal best time by nearly half an hour - despite 88-degree temps at the finish line? Needless to say, life has been far too crazy over the last several months.
I’m settled in now, and eager to get back to work! Remember that trip I took to Pinnacles National Park last winter to see the California Condors - and the subsequent sketching/research trip to the Natural History Museum of LA County? It’s time for that painting to become a reality! I’ve got the sketch done and a color thumnail created.
This will also mark my first foray into oil painting! I’ve been working in acrylics for years, but I’m excited to tackle all of the new techniques of oil paints. Paints, mediums, and brushes have been purchased, as well as a new, perfectly sized tabletop easel to work on. Now comes the most intimidating part - the blank canvas!
12” x 9”, Acrylic on Canvas
Sometimes it’s nice to paint something a little different! I love the show Castle, and when a friend suggested I paint this moment from the episode “Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind”, I knew I had to do it. It was a great chance to try a couple of new techniques and just have fun!