Thursday, September 1, 2011


So for the last few days, I've been updating my websites and my online presence. It sort of feels like I'm trying to pick out the perfect outfit and I've changed a million times.

The funny thing is, I sort of always come back to the same feel. That's sort of comforting, you know? It's like showing up in something that you feel confident no one else is wearing yet you still look like you.

So here I am:

From there, you can stay connected to me via Facebook, website, or blog. The cool thing is that you can see all of these different media outlets from one page!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Utilizing Social Media

After long, serious consideration, I've decided to join Facebook.

It's time to build Ink-Dwell!

You can also follow me here: AND my FB Page HERE.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Here are some highlights at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (not in any particular order):

Learning how to skin and stuff...

Observing many birds raising their young - Great Blue Herons, Canadian Geese, American Crows...

The afternoon I was fortunate enough to meet world renowned cinematographer/photographer, Neil Rettig and his astounding Harpy Eagle...seriously amazing...

Going out in the field to survey Tree Swallow nest boxes....

Friday, July 15, 2011


Wow! I think this may be a record for me.

Lesson learned. There is so much that has happened that now I don't even know where to begin.

I suppose I'll start with a gallery of images showcasing my most recent work and news! Hopefully in the not too distant future, I'll post again and give you guys a recap on my time in Ithaca, NY.

BIRD CONSERVATION: Po'ouli | Palila | Akiapola'au



I officially finished 3 full-color paintings for use in the third edition of the Handbook of Bird Biology. If all goes according to plan, these paintings will open each of the 15 chapters in the book. I had set a goal of getting at least 3 of the 15 finished during my internship and I'm proud to have me that goal! The chapters that I covered are BIRD CONSERVATION, POPULATION BIOLOGY and BREEDING BIOLOGY.

For BIRD CONSERVATION, I was asked to paint three Hawaiian species that are critically endangered, one possibly extinct (Po'ouli). Although they are all from Hawaii, they are found on different islands and at different elevations. One of the beauties of art--you can create worlds that don't exist. The bird in middle is called a Palila and relies solely on the Mamane tree to survive. The brilliant yellow flowers belong to the Mamane. The tree in the background is a Koa and the yellow Honeycreeper at the bottom likes to creep along these trees in search of insects. They are sort of the woodpeckers of Hawaii. The Po'ouli at the very top is believed to be extinct. It searches through mosses and lichens for food and is also distant relatives of Honeycreepers.

POPULATION BIOLOGY is represented through several shorebirds. I guess every time I, personally, think of bird population, images of hundreds and hundreds of shorebirds come to mind. I wanted to capture the feeling of seeing birds scattered across a sandy beach bank. This painting consists of Red Knots, Laughing Gulls, a lone Herring Gull, and some Ruddy Turnstones.

So I already posted the painting for the BREEDING BIOLOGY chapter, but I'm posting it again, because at one point, I looked at the finished painting and decided to redo the background and add a few more Tree Swallows flying around the landscape. It was one of those difficult decisions that everyone makes. It's the kind where you know you're not entirely happy with the final result. Changing it is quite a large commitment and time consuming. Do you really want to do it or are you going to settle? I've never said to myself at the end of the day, "Boy am I glad I settled." So, I tackled the daunting task of repainting a piece I had called finished. I can't even tell you how happy I am that I did. Now this is maybe one of my favorites of the work I did for Cornell.


BirdScope is a quarterly publication put out by Cornell's Lab of Ornithology. It covers all sorts of bird news in a very accessible way. The centerfold is the main attraction with a full-color spread. Usually, one of the Bartels interns will create work for the centerfold and I was asked to create illustrations for the upcoming summer issue. These birds are a little sneak peak into a much larger composition. I'm not sure if I can post the layout draft before it's been published. From left to right: Black-backed Woodpecker, Golden-winged Warbler, Gunnison Sage-Grouse, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Magpie, Stilt Sandpiper.


Recently, Surfrider used my knobby starfish drawing to print on bamboo fiber tanks. They are now available for purchase through their online store! I love the way they came out and the tanks are super comfortable.

You can purchase them HERE.

Well, I think this concludes my most recent work. I'm now heading back west to CALIFORNIA!!!! While all of my adventures have been unique and invaluable, I'm certainly ready to wipe my feet on the familiar and very much missed "Home Sweet Home" doormat.

Once I organize my photos, I'd love to share highlights of Ithaca, NY and the Lab with everyone. I will warn you, a lot of it may be written. I was admittedly terrible at taking photos these past 4 months.

Stay tuned!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011



One of my projects at Cornell's Lab of Ornithology is to paint frontis pieces for the revision of the Handbook of Bird Biology. There are 15 chapters and they would like a full color painting to open each chapter. I can't tell you how excited I was to get this project and I hope I blow them away.

The above piece is for a chapter called "Breeding Biology. " I worked with an Ornithologists who studies tree swallows. During the nesting season, these birds collect feathers to line their nests. This behavior is known to be an important part of reproductive success and consequently, they compete for feathers.

Wow, tree swallows are beautiful. I love the way they look when they fly and their metallic blue coloring is stunning. Depending on how the lights hits them, their color ranges anywhere from dark grey to electric blue! They are very elegant birds.

One of my most favorite things about working here, is the opportunity to work with experts who really refine the accuracy of my bird art. They just know their subjects sooo well, that they can see even the slightest misrepresentation of form. I love it!

These next two illustrations were for Yosemite National Park. Currently, they are working very hard on the Merced River Plan and these two pieces were used in reports and presentations.



SEED is a Bay Area branding agency. Their passions and purpose is to honor the burgeoning environmental and social shifts through good design. The clientele are typically in the artisanal and pure foods industry.

Below is a screen shot from their website showcasing one of their clients -- County Line Harvest.

County Line Harvest is an organic farm specializing in unique greens. They have farms in both Northern and Southern California. SEED asked me to create pen & ink drawings for their logos. Pen & ink is one of my favorite mediums so this was definitely a fun project. I loved the way it came out!

Thanks, as always, for stopping by! The support is more than appreciated!!!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

National Geographic Interview now LIVE

Recently, my Migrating Mural Project was voted the Viewers' Choice winner in a competition hosted by National Geographic. Read the interview by clicking below.


For those of you who voted for my project, thank you a billion times! This is a tremendous honor and I couldn't have won without your support.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I just won a competition on National Geographic for my Migrating Mural project. National Geographic has been a long time hero of mine and I am honored to the core to be involved with them on any level.


After having won, I realized that I was most moved and most grateful to my friends and family who showed utter support. I am humbled by the experience and it makes me realize the importance of relationships and nourishing the people in my life.

Even if I hadn't won, the emails I was getting from everyone was reward enough and it was an amazing reminder that my world is so good because of the people in it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


The older I get, the more and more I realize how important it is to give back to the planet that has selflessly provided beauty, inspiration, resources, vitality and evolution. What blows my mind are two girls who not only recognized this at an astoundingly young age, but had the ambition to create change as well.

Olivia Bouler's heart reached out in empathy for the birds effected by the BP oil disaster. Her mission was clear. Olivia decided to celebrate shorebirds through art. All the money she earned in sales, she donated to the Audubon Society -- nearly $200,000.

I had the opportunity to meet Olivia at Cornell when she visited two weekends ago. What a poised, elegant, well-spoken young lady at the age of 11!

She has a new book out showcasing a collection of her paintings. Go check it out!

Sophi Bromenshenkel's love of sharks began at the age of 4 on her uncle's fishing boat. They caught a shark and her world changed. Now she wants to change the world for sharks. She has been devoted to raising money for leading shark researcher, Neil Hammerschlag of the University of Miami. Sophi was able to raise $4000 through lemonade and shark cookies! You can always touch people's hearts with cookies and lemonade.

I found a wonderful drawing on her blog of a hammerhead. I am, of course, unbiased about art. :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


So excited! National Geographic has chosen my project - MIGRATING MURAL - along with 14 other ocean conservation projects in a Viewer's Choice competition. The winner will get an interview with Nat Geo!

I would LOVE your support!


Thank you all so much! And send the link on to others!

Below are images of some proposed murals.




Monday, April 4, 2011


These are illustrations of a bartailed godwit and it's air sacs. Cornell is working on a documentary about a bartailed godwit who had a transmitter surgically implanted in its right lower abdominal air sac. With this transmitter, they were able to track the bird in 9 days of STRAIGHT flight from Alaska to New Zealand. These will be used in the documentary. Yipeee!


This crow is regal.


This robin is awkward and dorky.


This house sparrow is mean.

This is a graphic I created to represent an online course called Short Courses. The bird is one of my favorites - a magpie. It will be used for print and online purposes pertaining to the short course.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Posted about Summit at Sea AND featured my Migrating Mural!

Find post HERE.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Was just launched!

Shark Tag You're It is a competition for attendees of Summit at Sea to qualify to go shark tagging with leading shark scientist, Neil Hammerschlag of the University of Miami.

You can read an article that just came out by Fast Company about Summit Series. You can find the article HERE.

Basically, Summit Series hosts an annual conference for some of the world's youngest thought leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and thinkers. The industries included are endless from musicians to tech geeks, and athletes to non-profit organizations. It's inspiring because you get an unlikely mix of individuals together in one place building relationships and growing ideas. This year, the conference will take place on an ocean liner leaving Miami, FL to a private island in the Bahamas. Not surprisingly, ocean issues are a big focus this year and shark tagging is just one component to promote the protection of our oceans. I'm super super excited to be attending the conference and submitted my Migrating Mural for Shark Tag You're It. More than that, I can't wait to see what the other attendees submit.

Here's an image of my pitch. I'm itching to start painting some murals when I'm finished with my fellowships!

It's so so exciting to get people motivated and excited about preserving what we have left of our planet! I love it!

Monday, March 21, 2011


The Lab of Ornithology has a skinning lab that I, of course, find incredibly fascinating and useful. While specimens aren't the best reference for helping one capture live movement and feel, it is really useful to be able to see the subject in person. Skinning on the other hand is even more informative. It helps you gain an understanding of anatomy such as skeleton, feather tracts, feet, wings in different positions, etc. A couple of Fridays again, I experienced my first ever skinning. They started me off with a robin. It was really old and sitting in the freezer since 2006 so it wasn't the best one to start off on. So we decided to skin this for a spread wing sample and skeleton rather than a stuffed specimen for the collection. This was actually great because it gave me a chance to get a feel for skinning without having to make sure I didn't rip or damage the skin. Took a bit of pressure off. One of my favorite parts was observing how and where feathers attach on the tail. This will be so helpful when drawing the bird with a poor photo reference.

Here are some pictures I took of birds in the collection and the skinning. Some of the pics can be a bit graphic. Sorry about that!