Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Woodworking Brand

Earlier in the month I posted a couple of designs for a woodworking brand for my stepfather.  Now that the design has been chosen, I have been working on a digital version of the design using Adobe Illustrator.  I never had the opportunity to learn Illustrator in the lab so after 3 scrapped attempts and 2000+ undo's I have able to create the following version.

It is still not perfect.  I have a few minor adjustments to make in addition to figuring out how to get a black fill for the 'S.'  Regarding the fill, if anyone has any advice to share it would be very much appreciated!

Monday, January 30, 2012

New Business Cards!

I just ordered my first set of business cards featuring my artwork from Vistaprint, and am very excited to receive them and start passing around.  Hopefully I will like them as much in person as I like the preview above!  The image is a pink iris rendered in watercolor and color pencil.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

'Change of Address' Announcements

I designed and created these cards to announce our move to a new house late last summer, and both the outside and inside are shown above.

We are planning to move again this year so it's almost time for a new design!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Botanical Art at Filoli

I love botanical illustration and recently began taking classes towards a certificate in Botanical Art at Filoli.  Today was the first day of 'Drawing Plants in Perspective' and the above drawings were completed today with graphite pencils on bristol paper.

For our first assignment, we need to complete drawings of a branch and some sort of round botanical object (without perfect symmetry).  I am on the hunt for subjects and welcome suggestions!

And just for fun....a little Filoli trivia courtesy of Wikipedia:

The "exterior of Filoli [was] used as the Carrington Mansion on the TV series Dynasty."

Friday, January 27, 2012

'Branch & Bird' Table by Wood Magic

My stepfather has a piece of furniture that will be featured in an upcoming show at the BJ Spoke gallery on Long Island.  The side-table incorporates a stylized 'branch & bird nest' motif which is shown below.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Scientific Illustration

The first person to suggest scientific illustration to me as a potential career was my high school AP Biology teacher, but it wasn't until later when I was working in the Talbot lab at Stanford University that I began to seriously entertain the idea.  I was asked to create an illustration for a paper showing the myelination process for an axon, and the final illustration is shown below along with how it appeared in publication.

Completed using graphite pencils on bristol paper.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Found Art

Typically, 'found art' is made using everyday objects in an artful way but for today's post I am interpreting the term in a different manner.  Similar to seeing shapes in the clouds, I saw the smudge photographed below on our shower door and had to share because to me it looks just like a bald mermaid with one arm extended and the other bent.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Costa Rican Cattle

The following study is of a cow I photographed while in Costa Rica.  I found their appearance interesting and was told that the breed is particularly heat tolerant.  The sketch is done with a combination of watercolor, color pencils and gouache.

So far, no one has taken me up on my genus and species challenge but this darling is worth another 10 points!  And you didn't think there was a prize...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Variations on Quinn

One of the great things about being married, is always having someone to sit for my sketches!  The above are all studies of my husband Quinn done with either pen & ink, india ink washes, or a combination of both.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sutro Tower

The following sketch of San Francisco's Sutro Tower was done from the 'Japan Peace Plaza' in Japantown.  It was an overcast day and the tower was barely visible through the fog.

I just love Sutro Tower in the fog, especially on days when it skims along the top of the clouds like a frigate pirate ship.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sharon Art Studio

Before I began the MFA program and the Academy of Art, I took a 'Drawing and Painting with Pastels' class at the Sharon Art Studio in Golden Gate Park.  The following two pieces were completed for the class and are done with a combination of hard and soft pastels on Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper.

The reference photos for these pieces were shot in Sedona, Arizona and Crater Lake, Oregon respectively.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Caumsett State Historic Park

When I was on Long Island in December, my mom took us on a hike at Caumsett State Park to get us away from all the delicious food in the house.  It was beautiful, and while there I shot the reference for the painting below.  It is of the view from behind the mansion that is also pictured.

For this piece I used a combination of watercolor, watercolor pencils and pen & ink.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sustained Figurative Concepts - Part 2

These gentlemen complement the ladies posted earlier this week and were also done in-class last semester with hard pastels and pastel pencils.

I love working with pastels, but have a hard time dealing with the dust.  I am intrigued however by pan pastels and would be interested in hearing from anyone who has experience working with them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Baby Shower Place Cards

I designed and lettered the following place cards for my nephew Liam's baby shower in 2010.  The zebra stamp and other supplies were purchased at Paper Source, which I LOVE for all my paper projects!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sustained Figurative Concepts

The following studies were done in 'Sustained Figurative Concepts' last semester.  They were completed in about 2 hours with hard pastels and pastel pencils.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lake Lagunitas

Today was a brisk day in the Bay Area, and what a better way to celebrate the spectacular 49ers win yesterday than with a hike in Marin county.

The destination was Lake Lagunitas and the following sketch was done in about an hour from the eastern shore.  I have been really enjoying painting on location and can't wait to head out again next weekend!

Bring on The Giants!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Science Wedding Calligraphy

I designed and lettered these place cards for my own wedding, which had a little bit of a science theme to it. Dorky I know, but à propos as my husband and I met in a lab at UCSF.

The tables were 'numbered' with the single letter abbreviations for different amino acids, and the place cards featured the various chemical structures as well.

I love collaborating with brides on custom designs so please message me if you are interested.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Parrot in (color) Pencil

I received a great Faber-Castell color pencil set from my Father-in-law for the holidays and have been VERY excited to try it out!  This parrot was completed with the pencils plus Faber-Castell watercolor pencil washes in the background.

The subject was photographed on a previous trip to the California Academy of Sciences.  10 points for the correct genus and species!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wood Magic

My stepfather owns a woodworking/custom furniture business on Long Island called Wood Magic, and the last time I saw him he was working on a design for a personal brand to sign his pieces.

His idea was to combine his initials (K & S) with the Maltese cross and these are the two designs I came up with.  I've had a lot of fun playing with this and I like them both.  Which is your favorite?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


The following two pieces were done for 'Chiaroscuro' last semester at the AAU.  The first is an in-class head study (1/2 day), while the drapery was a longer assignment.

There is nothing inherently exciting about drapery, but I have included this one for my family on the East coast.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Variations on Squirrel

These were also done for 'C, T & I' last semester and were really more about technique with the different mediums, but the little guy grew on me!

The first is pen & waterproof drawing ink on illustration board.  The second is acrylic paint on illustration board.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wedding Place Cards

There are many things I enjoy doing creatively and one of them is designing and lettering place cards for weddings, showers, etc...  I have completed sets for a number of events in the past and the images below are from my friend Jackie's wedding.  The concept was to feature the Chinese 'double happiness'  character with the theme colors of pink, brown & gold.

I will be posting images from a couple other events later this month so make sure to check back for more! :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Plein Air Sketching

I had been wanting a small watercolor pocket sketch box for awhile and recently put one together using an old Altoids tin, 6 bottle caps and watercolor tube paints. The flat lid of the older style Altoids tin (expiration 2006) is perfect for a mixing surface and the box fits great in a small coin purse along with 3 travel watercolor brushes. The colors included in the tin are cadmium red, alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow, ultramarine blue, pthalo green and burnt sienna.

Today, I decided to take my new sketch box along on a hike in the Long Ridge open space preserve in the Palo Alto/Woodside Hills. The sketch above is my first attempt at plein air watercolor painting and was completed on-site using the Altoids tin palette and a few color pencils.

While I wish my tin could fit a couple more colors, the coin purse is small enough for carrying around everyday and I will definitely be making more use of it in the future!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New York City

I was recently in New York visiting my family for the holidays and Day #1 was spent museum hopping in Manhattan.

First up, the Metropolitan Museum of Art! The top sketch was completed while enjoying a very yummy strawberry & banana smoothie in the American wing cafe. Just enough time left for a quick trip through the period rooms and visible storage!

Just a little further uptown is The Museum of the City of New York. My sister works in the education department where she teaches history programs to school children on field trips. In the afternoon, I was fortunate to be able to sit-in on "From Wigwams to Windmills" along with the visiting 2nd graders. The second sketch captures one of my favorite moments from the presentation.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Yonder Mountain String Band Album Cover

YMSB has been my favorite band ever since I saw them play at the High Sierra Music Festival over July 4th weekend 2005. Therefore, when the assignment was to design an album cover in 'C, T & I' (see previous post) this past semester I had no trouble picking a band to illustrate for.

The concept was to combine my love of scientific illustration with the earthiness of bluegrass/jamgrass music and this is the result! The piece is paper, acrylic and oil paints on carved wood board.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Hello! I am a former lab assistant that traded in the pipettes and petri dishes for paint brushes and pastels. Fall of 2011 was my first semester at the Academy of Art University and these two pieces were down for the class ' Concept, Technique & Illustration'