One more Artober entry

Here’s the last set. As in previous years, this has been challenging, fun, and surprisingly productive—every year, I’ve ended up with at least one or two images that turned into other art projects—from sweatshirt designs to greeting cards. I wonder which of this year’s will inspire a future art piece?

My thanks to the folks at SCBWI and GNSI for creating the prompt lists!

“Shell.” These are from one of my favorite clam species… the delightfully wonky (and highly talented) piddock (Zirfea pisbryi )
Another fun exploration of negative space: “Dolphin” and “Bees”
“Amphora” and “Fall”
“Snake” and “Boo!”

Artober continues

The SCBWI prompt was “Ride,” so of course Banjo Woman was a shoo-in. As for the rest, I’ve been researching dung beetles for a writing project.
“Mushroom.” I loved drawing this one!
“Exoskeleton” made for a cool abstract pattern. It’s a dung beetle, of course.

More artober catch up

“Bird” and “Basket.” I want someone to make this!
“Plankton” and “Bat.” Of course.
“Scales.” This is based on electron micrographs of placoid scales.

Catching up on Artober!

“Worm” and “Heart.” This one’s going out to my friend Kim,
who loves her worms…
“Rodent.” I like the negative space!
“Butterfly” and “Full moon”

Artober part 4

Daily drawings from October 7-10.

“Fossil” (GNSI)— just riffing on an ammonite cross-section.
“Reptile” (GNSI) and “Apples” (SCBWI)—I have never drawn a crocodilian before… so this was particularly fun!
“Bear” (GNSI) and “Black” (SCBWI)
“Costume” (SCBWI)—camouflage is a kind of costume, right?

Artober, part 3

Another day of playing with patterns. The GNSI prompt was “Cell;” the SCBWI prompt was “Fire.” The combination put me in mind of a mitochondrion.
“Bone” (GNSI) and “Crow” (SCBWI)

Artober 2022, part 2

A harvest (SCBWI) of bird skulls (GNSI), ready to pluck.
As with the egg a couple of days ago, I decided to abstract a pattern from its typical enclosing form; this one’s inspired by the enamel on the occlusal surface of a mammoth molar. (GNSI prompt – teeth)

Artober 2022, part 1

Just started a month of daily ink sketches based on prompts from Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. I’ve been doing this for the past three years, and I’ve started to look forward to it quite a bit… even though I know I’ll still occasionally experience creativity-freeze, and will still find myself scrawling a few of the dailies at the last minute before bed…

Case in point… Day 1: “Submarine” (GNSI) and “Spider” (SCBWI)
Day 2 is “Egg” (GNSI)

The painted owl

I think it’s close to complete. I used five colors of alcohol-based markers, plus a little bit of paint. I’ll probably finish up with a light coat of polyurethane.

A new medium

I’ve got a new project in the works—something I haven’t done much of at all: painting in three dimensions.

My friend Steve, a carver, asked if I would be interested in painting one of his wooden birds. Most of Steve’s birds are simple, graceful, smooth wood—and I think they look lovely in that form. But the short-eared owl he was offering experienced some issues that required a putty repair, so its face isn’t pristine wood. I couldn’t resist the opportunity!

Here’s the starting point.

My first thought was that I really didn’t want to lose that lovely red-cedar grain. The color and texture works so well as a background pattern for feather markings. So after a little experimentation, I decided to use alcohol-based markers directly on the unfinished wood surface. The wood is dense enough that the markers don’t bleed much, and the markers’ transparency allows the grain to show through nicely.

I started on the face, using thinned white acrylic with a little burnt umber to blend the putty color into the characteristic pale “mask” feathers of the short-eared owl. I added the triangular eye markings and the beak with black acrylic paint, and used my palest tan markers to establish the facial disk feather pattern.

Now I’m laying in the basic body and wing feather patterning with those same very pale markers.

After I get the patterns all on, I’ll add darker brown layers over the top.