Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Return of the Bioblitz Art Team

Science Central during the 2011 Bioblitz in Scituate
Once again this year the fine folks at the Rhode Island Natural History Survey  are inviting an Artist Team to join the naturalists and scientists during their Bioblitz survey of all manner of species, plants, animals, bugs, birds, etc. found in a specific area during a 24 hour period. The 2012 Bioblitz will be held on the lovely island of Jamestown and will take place from noon on June 8th to noon on the 9th. If there are any artists out there who want to join the art team this year let me know, or go to our Facebook page and "like" it and I'll keep you informed.

Last year we had a great team, camping and exploring in the meadows and woodlands of the Scituate Reservoir property.  (To read about it, click here). We teamed up for the first time with the RISD Nature Lab, and hope to do so again this year. We also have an exhibit of artwork created as a result of the Bioblitz at the Warwick Art Museum from June 19-30, featuring work from previous Bioblitz's. In fact, since work won't have to be delivered until about a week after this year's blitz, if you work fast your 2012 work could part of the exhibit too.

In addition to work inspired by our own "backyard" the exhibit will include work from artists who have done residencies in our National Park as part of the Artist in Residence program. If you have done one of these residencies and want to exhibit, please get in touch with me. If you want to know more about the program,  I'm planning to give a talk about the AIR program in the National Parks and my Alaska residency in particular as part of the exhibit.

So even though it might seem cold and dreary outside, life will be stirring before we know it, and we'll be there to count it!

last year's biobltiz

Monday, January 23, 2012

A quick brown fox

This little fox looks so happy that you would think he was the one who's footprints I saw in the freshly fallen snow near my house. But, alas, his little mouth is frozen in a permanent smile in the Nature Lab at RISD. I sometimes see his brethren near the road as I make my way home. Always to quick and the light too dim to get a good look, so I appreciate a chance to study this fine specimen close up.

Like I mentioned, we got our first real snow last weekend, and I realized how much I missed it. I love the way it changes the familiar into something kind of magical. I also like that I get to wear my xtratufs again, not because they are so fashionable outside of Alaska and RI's little fishing towns, but because they remind me tromping over mud and rocks, hauling one end of a long kayak down to the shore of Harriman Fiord.

Speaking of Alaska, the Artist Residency program is starting to accept applications for 2012. I was happily surprised to go to one of my favorite blogs, Gurney Journey and see info about the application process, and a photo of me to illustrate it! I am honored to be the poster girl for this great program.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Deer legs

Lunch at the Nature Lab

I've been studying a lot lately—studies for paintings that is. Did you know that deer legs are not only very strange, but really hard to paint? I did these detail drawings to try to figure them out, so in theory I could just whisk them into my painting with a few quick strokes of the brush. Well, it's not working out quite that way. In fact the painting has more problems than deer legs...but I keep hoping I can pull it all together.

It always seems the paintings I work hardest and longest on end up rather awkward. I take consolation by telling myself that the troublemakers are the ones I learn the most from. But in all the years I've been painting, it seems like I've not learned all that much...I guess that's what keeps it interesting, if frustrating!

I'm enjoying collecting this menagerie though, and I'm going to add to it by going to draw from the specimens at the classes that are starting up again at the Museum of Natural History.

Here's some info from their website..... 

Adult Programs | Drawing from the Collections

The Museum and its collections come alive through art on Saturday mornings. Adults of all skill levels are welcome to participate. Classes are held on the listed Saturdays from 10:00am to 12:00pm. Explore fundamental drawing techniques in a unique setting, utilizing objects from the Museum’s vast collections. This focus of this drawing class is on learning to look. Class sizes are small, and registration is first come, first served. Special specimen requests must be made at least one week prior to date of class.

Winter 2012 Dates:
January 21, 2012
January 28, 2012
February 4, 2012
February 11, 2012
March 3, 2012
March 17, 2012

Program Fee per Session:
$15.00/$12.00 for Museum Members
Sign up for ANY two or more days:
$12.00 per day/$10.00 per day for Museum Members

Materials Not Provided. Pre-registration required.
Class sizes are small, and registration is first come, first served. For further information, contact the Museum Education Department at: (401) 785-9457 x247

Monday, January 16, 2012

Alaska studies

It seems like forever since I've had a whole weekend just to focus on my work, but somehow this weekend I had no obligations, and winter finally decided to show up with temperatures in the teens and a blustery wind to keep me inside. My pickup stayed in the driveway and I stayed in the studio. As a result, I think this Alaska stuff is starting to click. I'm working on some studies in oil pastel and have almost finished an oil,  but I'm also working in egg tempera, which seems to lend itself to the light of Prince William Sound. So I'm a bit torn between what media the final series will be in. Maybe it will be multi-medias. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Getting stuffed at lunch

Lunch at the RISD Nature Lab
Now that's it's getting a bit chilly outside (but not nearly as cold as it should be for January) I've resumed spending some lunch hours in the warm and cozy RISD Nature Lab. I had drawn this raccoon before (left) from a different angle, but this is the pose he is taking up in my latest painting (see the study below), so since I have the opportunity I thought I'd do a sketch from "life" instead of only relying on my photo.  It's a challenge though, with all that fur. So far I've spent two lunch hours on my drawing. One more should do it, I'll post it if it comes out decent.

That little fox is catching my eye too, he may have to be drawn soon.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Back to work

January studio
Yesterday John and I purged the house of the vestiges of Christmas passed. It could have been the wind, but I thought I heard the house breath a sigh of relief when everything was back in place. Or maybe that was me.

And, it was touch and go there for awhile, but I did get some studio time in this weekend too. It felt good, but of course getting revved up on my new series does make me pretty antsy come Monday in my cubicle. It's good though, I just hope life will allow me to keep up the momentum.

There are some interesting things to look forward to in 2012 as well. In the spring I'm going to do another artist residency, this time in the Petrified Forest National Park. I was supposed to have done the residency last year, soon after I returned from Alaska, but at that time I couldn't leave my father's bedside. They were nice enough to let me postpone and I just got confirmation on the dates, I'll be going around the end of April. I could REALLY use some time out west.

I'm also looking forward to this year's Bioblitz in June, when I'll be heading up the artist team again. I am also organizing an exhibit of last year's Bioblitz artists at the Warwick Art Museum around the same time.

But all this takes a back seat to actually getting some real work done, that will have to be my priority now...it has been far too long.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Hello 2012. What will you bring us?

study for Alaska series  12"x12" oil crayon on paper
Well, so much for 2011. I can't say I mind it being consigned to history, with the exception of my Alaska trip in August. A few other nice things happened too:  I led the art team for the Natural History Survey's 2011 Bioblitz, learned to kayak, got in shape, took some interesting classes, sold a few paintings and created a few more. I also was granted a residency at the Petrified Forest National Park, but had to postpone it due to the life event that brought a lot of sadness to my family — the passing of my dad. But though it might sound cliche, his illness did bring us all closer and I spent some precious days with my dad before he slipped away from us.

So now it's time for the even more cliched "fresh start", but I do feel hopeful for 2012.

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