Sketchbook Snapshot: Mystery Moth

One foggy morning, I found this moth on the back steps of the cabin where I stayed in June (at the UW Research Station in Grand Teton National Park).

I spent a fair bit of time with this one, like I do with nearly every moth I can get my hands on.

I sketched it from a couple of angles (right to left on the page). Each time, I aimed for increased precision with how I recorded the markings on both front and hind wings. I figured the placement of the spots and bars would be key for identifying it.

When I looked through the insect ID guides in the research station library, I could only find one on moths: Moths of Western North America by Jerry A. Powell and Paul A. Opler. It’s approximately 500 pages, a hardcover reference, not a field guide. There are 65 pages of color photos (roughly 25% of “each family, subfamily, and larger genus” are depicted). Using only those images, I couldn’t figure out what the moth was. The closest I could get was something in the family Noctuidae. Continue reading Sketchbook Snapshot: Mystery Moth

Sketching Tip: Solvent Transfers

Reproducing or presenting an image in an artistic way can help you catch the attention of a wider or different-from-usual audience.

One such method is the packing tape sticker I mentioned in my October 2016 newsletter. If you want to create something more permanent, though, you might try solvent transfers.
Wintergreen transfer + watercolor pencils; Bethann Garramon Merkle/public domain clip art

I learned about this printmaking technique just last week, when my writing students, co-instructor, and I took a field trip to the University of Wyoming Art Museum’s studio classroom. Our field trip was part of an on-going multidisciplinary approach to “Communicating Across Topics in Energy” (the name of the course). See the Artful Classrooms section of the March 2017 newsletter for more information about how students are exploring the connection and communication potential of artworks and energy issues.

Most of the images you’ll see throughout my April 2017 newsletter were created using this technique.

Solvent transfers are fairly straight-forward, judging by the process we learned at the museum:

Continue reading Sketching Tip: Solvent Transfers

Sketchbook Snapshot: taking a closer look at winter vocabulary

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Though many a northerner might beg to differ with Robert Frost’s somewhat flippant statement – “You can’t get too much winter in the winter” – there is a truth to the poet’s words that became evident when I looked into winter vocabulary.

Wintry word origins

According to etymologyonline.com, the word winter likely derives from a combination of Proto-Germanic, Norse, Dutch, and Gaul words which meant “wet” or “white.” The word snow dates from circa 1300, shares linguistic roots with winter and was alternatively spelled “snew” until the 1700s. Continue reading Sketchbook Snapshot: taking a closer look at winter vocabulary

Sketchbook Snapshot: Lunch Biodiversity

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walnut, broccoli, carrot, radish, onion, swiss chard

First, a quick bit of context:

I’m curating the @IAmSciArt account on Twitter this week. And, a week dedicated to #sciart conversations with the friendly and creative folks of the interwebs strikes me as a fantastic way to kick off 2017.

So far today, we’ve discussed SciArt-related time management and habits, such as scheduling time to regularly sketch or explore a new media like relief printing or painting with Quink. And, since I recommended quick and informal sketching as a good way to maintain a daily sketching habit, I figured I’d sketch my lunch. Continue reading Sketchbook Snapshot: Lunch Biodiversity

November 2016 newsletter: SciArt Animation & Sharing

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Sharing SciArt can be fun for everyone!

I’ve been busy working on illustrations for an exhibit of my “Ecologically True Story of the Tortoise and the Hare” project. As a result, I’m in a sketching mood, and I’ve started sending drawings hither and yon.

Last month’s sketching tip focused on making stickers from our drawings, as a way of making reproductions we could certainly share.

But this month, I’m in the mood for sharing with no intermediate process. So, I’m suggesting you sketch on the packages you mail, and illustrate the letters you send (and send a letter!). 🙂

In general, this month’s newsletter focuses on ways of, and ideas for, sharing SciArt.

Enjoy and happy sharing!

November Table of Contents

  • Sketching Tip: Best practices & ways to share your SciArt
  • Artful Science: Animating your SciArt
  • Artful Classrooms: Sharing Inspiration
  • Sketchbook Snapshot: Tortoise & Hare sketches from illustrations in-progress
  • News & Events:
    • Get your holiday cards and gifts from me! 🙂
    • Drawn to Wildlife (sketching for scientists workshop, hosted by the Wildlife Society, Wyoming Chapter)
    • Tortoise and Hare project update: new project website & spring exhibition dates selected
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