Saturday, April 01, 2006

Phyllocnistis populiella...say it fast 10 times

Leaf miner moths...
I am fascinated by the mazes they create as
the larvae chew their way through the
slurpy, spongy mesophyll of an aspen leaf.
I can hardly wait until the aspens around
my house leaf-out to see what the busy buggers
do this year...
Artwork continues at a rapid pace on this series.
This is a watercolor/ink drawing, 22"x15"
which doesn't show half of the painstaking work
that went into it.
Pretty clean and 'design-y' for me...
I tend to get heavily into surface texture,
collage and scumbling these days.
Which leads me to give a shout out to the
most wonderfull paper in the world:
Strathmore 400 series cold press watercolor paper...
This stuff can take it!
Acrylics, rough brushwork, layers and layers of
gouache and watercolor, glues, gel mediums...
you name it.
It can suck it up and keep it in with nary a
surface pill from all of that brushwork.
...and it's not very expensive.
Fanstastic stuff. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday March 28th

I have the hands of a little gorilla; short, thick
fingers, small, flat nails, square palms and callouses.
My hands were made for working in the dirt.
For months out of every year my hands are
crusted with dirt from my greenhouse job.
I love my tough little hands.
They'll never be graced with long,
beautiful nails or gem studded rings,
but they are emminently useful, tough and strong,
which I think is vastly more important.

(In art college, one of my nicknames was,
"the Little Fist" because I had these little gorilla
hands and I rode a motorcycle.)

These mitts dig in the dirt, run a chainsaw,
haul firewood, etc.,
but they also do beadwork, embroidery,
hand quilting, detailed drawing, knitting....
and don't forget the 15 years of classical violin...
They may look lumpy and inelegant,
but they are supremely agile. Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 27, 2006

Drawing Mania

I am an artist, trained and true. I've always known
I am an artist, even as a young girl. Sometimes
creating is incredibly uplifting. Sometimes it is
horrendously frustrating. I have felt exalted, blessed
fulfilled and very, very happy in making art. I have
also felt like a total moron who doesn't deserve
to walk the earth and that it's all a colossal waste
of time.
The art world I've come into contact with has
confirmed both of these viewpoints at different
times. Being an artist can be like living on a

But still....
As the saying goes,
You gotta do what you gotta do.

These days, I gotta do intricate pen drawings with
metal nibs. I'm doing this vine drawing
in what I like to think of as,
"chunky medieval style."
(No, that is not a proscribed art term.)
No crosshatching, just straight, short lines.

This drawing above was
thrilling me.....until I dropped a big, fat, wet
splotch of red ink on the very bottom right corner
of the otherwise pristine paper.
Do I finish it although it has been compromised?
This is one of the things about being a creative have to just cut your losses with
some projects/pieces and move on.
I love this drawing...
but I don't think I can cover up
or get rid of that f****** red splotch...
Breaks my heart.

Here is a recent page from my sketchbook.
I am working on several pieces for the
International Arctic Science Conference to
be held at the University of AK. Selected
artists (moi!) were invited to create a small
body of work based on a northern sciences
related subject. I chose several species of
northern moths to portray. So far, leaf miners
take the prize. The moth, Phyllocnistis populiella,
is only 2mm long at adulthood. The larvae
eat maze like patterns in the leaves of quaking
aspen. They are ravishing the aspen forests
all over the north, mostly because recent winters have
been very mild and the lifespan of the adult moth
is very long.
I found a leaf miner moth fluttering around in my living
room two weeks ago....
It is still in the -10F-+30F range here, so I think
it hatched on some firewood I brought in the house.
A tiny white speck fluttering around. I scrambled
for the magnifying glass as soon as it landed....
They have shaggy 'hairs' at the ends of their
wings, making them look like they have
wee tufty, tushes when their at rest...
I'd attach an image, but I can't find a good one
anywhere on the web.... Posted by Picasa