On my work table, 11.09.2018

For greater freedom and confidence with watercolor, I’ve been working on small studies using watercolor directly on the page, without any drawing in pencil or pen beforehand.  This has been illuminating: while the spontaneity can of course lead to disasters, I am also often much happier with the way that I am able to capture light on form especially.

Here are some examples:

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Stebbins Cold Canyon Interpretive Sign

My interpretive sign has been placed at Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve. The sign is posted at a small creek overlook along the Homestead Trail.

I developed the sign to highlight how plants and animals make use of a seasonal stream in both wet and dry times of year. To illustrate the concept, I selected a set of organisms that represent a wide variety of strategies for coping with fluctuations in water availability in different seasons. Given a two-color design constraint, I used the colors to help emphasize the species and the changes in their environment.

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Here is the sign alone:

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And here are sketches that show my design process:

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On my work table, 06.07.2018

I finished the first of two paintings that will be used to make spring toys for a playground to be constructed by the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County at Kathleen’s Canyon Overlook in the Black Lake Canyon Preserve.  This one is a California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) and the second will be an Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna).

Here’s a trip backwards through four stages of the work in progress:

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Updates posted on Wildfire to Wildflowers

I have been catching up on adding color to the drawings I made at Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve last fall and posting them on Wildfire to Wildflowers.  Every six months I draw the view into the canyon from the old trailhead:

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In September, I also focused on a blue oak that was blown down in high winds early in the month.  The oak had survived the fire and had new leaves growing, but was weak enough that it was unable to withstand the wind.

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On my work table, 03.16.2018

This week I finished a few more illustrations for the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County.  First are monarchs (Danaus plexippus) and their host plant milkweed; in this case it is narrow-leaved milkweed (Asclepias fasciculatus).

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The next is Nipomo lupine (Lupinus nipomensis), which is federally listed as endangered and is endemic to the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes.  LCSLO has been working to save this lupine, monitoring extant populations and improving habitat so that they can thrive.

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An important method of improving habitat for Nipomo lupine is by reducing competition from perennial veldtgrass (Erharta calycina), an introduced species:

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On my work table, 03.08.2018

The interpretive panel illustrations I am working on for the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County include a long horizontal panel showing the four habitat types in Black Lake Canyon Preserve.  I’ve completed the draft of the first habitat, Coast Live Oak Woodland.  Here’s a preview of the woodland landscape and species, with just a little more cleanup and rearranging to do before the labels and interpretive text are added.

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And here’s a little of the process; these are the two sketches I used to develop the scene.

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