My summer is winding down and it's time to say farewell to Yosemite National Park.
From 8-day backpacking trips to hikes in search of Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep at elevations of over 10,000 feet, and from sorting bugs to tracking spotted owls with telemetry, the experience that the Sierra Nevada Research Institute provided me was unforgettable and invaluable. Not only was it basically a three-month crash course of the nitty gritty world of field biology, it was also an opportunity to enrich my world with new relationships and so many phenomenal people! I loved all of it!
I think one of the most inspiring things about being a science artist is the research that comes with it. I love learning about my subject. One of my favorite weeks in Yosemite was the week I went looking for the very endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep with expert John Wehausen. There is a wonderful documentary called Counting Sheep, and a large portion of it is dedicated to the astounding efforts John has made to restore Sierra Nevada bighorn populations. It was an honor to spend a couple of days out in the field with him.
Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep is the subject of an exciting project of mine called the Migrating Mural. The Migrating Mural highlights an endangered migratory animal through a series of large-scale murals painted along the migration routes of that animal. I've become enamored with bighorns and although they do not travel far distances during migration, their lives depend on a different kind of migration.
Along Highway 395 herds of Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep make their homes in high elevation terrain. These federally listed endangered creatures depend on elevational migration to survive harsh winter climates. The purpose of the Migrating Mural is to provide an experience for the general public to enjoy animals that otherwise go unseen and unnoticed. All of the buildings are easily seen while driving along the highway. I'm very excited to see this project through. The projected start date is early 2012. Below are a couple of concept sketches.
Below are two t-shirt designs for the Yosemite Toad Crew and the Invertebrate Crew.
Speaking of t-shirts, Patagonia has a special line of artist t-shirts. Proceeds from sales go back to a specific organization to help fund their project. SNRI is working to get a Yosemite toad shirt in the line. I came up with a few designs for the shirt.
Below is a poster I did for a student in the Yosemite Leadership Program. I then took components of the poster and created several prints for the Yosemite Conservancy auction.
I've finally painted in the conifers and would like to share the finished piece with you.
More caddisfly abstractions...
Well...that about sums it up. I couldn't have asked for a better way to start and end my summer.