Saturday, February 27, 2010



Hmmm...does compost qualify as vintage? I'm reaching here, I know. This painting was for our "Micro Habitat" assignment. This was an easy one to collect specimens for. I actually still have the still life sitting in my garage. I am curious to see what it looks like. I created a little container for it with a glass lid. I haven't checked it since I finished the piece (2 weeks ago) and am intimated to look at it. Yuck! Being a somewhat yucky topic, I made the decision to stylize this image and not go for a super realistic technique. Since this scan was taken, I've added little fruit flies so I'll have to share it again when I have a new pic.


This piece was for the "Conceptual/Editorial" assignment. I chose "memory of smell" as my topic. Click on the image to read the perfume bottle labels. It will make more sense that way. Believe it or not, I've never painted glass before and it was a real treat. It was almost like an abstract painting because you just really look at the shapes the light makes on the glass and brass tops. You just start putting those down and all of a sudden the form starts to take shape. It goes through a really ugly stage and for a moment, you question whether or not you know how to paint. The other fun thing about this assignment was that I got to hunt around for vintage perfume bottles, and two of my classmates and I discovered some great antique malls and stores in the Monterey Penisula - Cannery Row Antique Mall, Olio and The Holman Antique Plaza.

*all pics were taken from their websites.




The Cannery Row Antique Mall is located inside a historic building that used to be a sardine cannery. It is one of few remaining original structures from the Steinbeck era. After being used for sardines, it was taken over by Nichols plumbing for a long time. It was bought in 1994 and a year later, the Cannery Row Antique Mall opened its doors. It's huge and hours of eye candy.

OLIO is a small little vintage shop on Lighthouse Ave in Monterey. The woman who owns the store is incredibly nice and she has a wonderful kitsch collection. I really enjoyed browsing through her store. It is nicely decorated and the displays are easy to look at.


The Holman Antique Plaza was built in 1924 and was originally the Holman Department Store. They are located in Pacific Grove also on Lighthouse Ave. Like the Cannery Row Antique Mall, it is HUGE! They are very different. I would say that the Holman has a lot more furniture while the Cannery has a huge variety of vintage finds.

We have only 3 weeks left in the term! I am always blown away by how fast school is flying. We have 3 assignments left:

Color Final
Trompe l'oeil

In between that, we have a workshop that will show us how to construct a 3-D head in clay from a skull. I am so excited about this and can't wait to show you the finished project. I feel really dorky and cool like I'm in forensics or something. I like how science illustration makes me feel both dorky and cool at the same time. Never saw that coming.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Extreme painting, you ask? Check out my teacher, Amadeo Bachar's, video of him painting the above yellowtail tuna. It's a really fun, interesting and informative video about his watercolor technique and yes, he does in fact paint that fast. I swear it's not time lapse photography. Notice, too, that he paints this painting from his head. Wish I could do that.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I finally got some much needed down time today. These past two weeks have been very intense with projects and the last of this string of assignments was due today. Whew! As promised, here is an update of new work.


This piece was for an assignment called "Special View." Being able to depict special views is the great thing about science illustration because you can show things that would be impossible in real life. Cashews are one of my favorite nuts and the plant is absolutely beautiful. Cashews are native to Brazil and produce fruit of rich reds, pinks, yellows and greens. One of the most curious things about the cashew is that each fruit only produces one nut explaining why cashews are more expensive than other types of nuts. I wanted to show the cashew plant, fruit and nut in one illustration. Apparently, you can eat the fruit (which is delicious), but because they are delicate and do not export well, Brazilians are the only lucky people able to enjoy the sweet fruit. I hear you can get dried cashew fruit here so I'll be on the look out for that. We were allowed to choose any medium for this assignment and I chose watercolor and color pencil on illustration board.


This specimen is another Bone Room treasure I purchased last term. After some good old google searches, I discovered that this shell belonged to an African leopard tortoise. I was immediately attracted to painting this for our "Watercolor Spot" assignment because of its gorgeous and elaborate pattern and color. I've also discovered that I love the way watercolor goes down on Strathmore illustration board. All future watercolors will be done on that surface.


In the similar vein as our "Special View" assignment, our Design of Information Graphics assignment was to create a glow through or cut-away view. I unintentionally did both a glow through and a cut-away of the North American beaver. The skull was a glow through while the beaver lodge is a cut-away. I really like being able to use specimens that I own and I have a beaver skull that I got from Paxton Gate. I was really attracted to the hard orange protective enamel on the teeth as well as the unsual and identifiable shape of the skull. I really like my pen and ink drawing of the beaver lodge. :)


Our "Acrylic Scene" was inspired by an experience that my boyfriend and journalist, Thayer Walker, had exactly one year ago.
He travelled to Bolivia for two weeks to cover a story for Outside Magazine about a Puma refuge called Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi. You can read the article here. This is a portrait of the Jaguar that Thayer cared for. His name is Rupi. I also love that Capybara are a part of their diet because I love them. They are so funny looking.

So that is what I've been up to for the past two weeks in school. A list of assignments in queue:

Micro Habitat
Trompe l'oeil
Gouache Spot Illustration
Magazine Article
3-D Facial Reconstruction

Fun fun!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


As per my last post, I was disappointed not to have pics of people sketching and Jenny was sympathetic to that. So here they are!

Also, a little correction...the boat DID have showers, but the water is sucked up right from the river!

I promise to have some new work up this week!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


So postings are sparse this term due to the insanely high demands. The projects are so great, though and I'm loving that we are now beginning to have a bit more freedom. I very much enjoy creating full compositions over one specimen spots. Although, we still have assignments that are primarily focused on that. Pics of newly completed work will be up shortly.

This post is to showcase a trip that my professor, Jenny Keller, took over the winter break. She went on a sketching expedition on the Amazon for two weeks! So exciting and inspiring. The trip was with Captain Moacir Fortes on his boat, Dorinha, out of the city of Manaus. They traveled on the Solimoes and Rio Negro branches of the Amazon and made only one stop to resupply. Their meals consisted of a lot of fish that they caught as well as traditional fare - rice, black beans, farofa, vegetables and fruit. No showers on the boat so bathing took place in the river itself. Jenny said from the Salimoes, the tap ran milky like coffee with cream while the water from the Rio Negro came out looking more like Coca Cola. The crew pointed out all kinds of wild life that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. At times they had to literally drag the canoes through narrow tributaries in search of otters, dolphins, birds, lizards, bromeliads, giant trees and much much more. Jenny gave a wonderful presentation and slide show of her adventures and I've stolen some of her pics to share with all of you. All the work created by the artists will be exhibited in a show in Lisbon. There will also be a book published cataloguing the work. I'll let you know when it comes out.



You definitely don't want these guys swimming up your urinary tract so don't EVER pee in the Amazon.


Huh, I realized that I didn't get any pics of people sketching. Oh well. Sorry.

Hope you enjoyed Jenny's photos!!!