Sunday, December 16, 2012

I don't have to worry about this in AZ...

An amazing watercolorist's dilemma

Too funny not to share.

Bird Mail!

So John Muir Laws is amazing.  Finally, a drawing book that cuts out the repetitive unnecessary and adds in the little key tidbits that normally you have to bang your head against a wall to get.  Oh wait, that's what I have been doing!  Some tips he has took me years to figure out.  There definitely is an advantage to working it out on your own, but I sure would have wanted some of these tips at the beginning! 

Playing with his strategy for drawing birds, I made these three postcards below.  I referenced pictures I found online.  One tool he uses that I have not really embraced is the water soluble pencil.  I went to the art supply store and picked out pencils from three brands to test out.  I personally enjoy the Faber Castell the most (4B), which was used in the chickadee below. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Roadrunner by melbergink
Roadrunner, a photo by melbergink on Flickr.

Some practice with texture with one of the coolest birds around!

Kamalah Tribal

I got to see some very talented folks in the group Kamalah Tribal perform at Mijana (a Lebanese restaurant in Tempe, AZ).  Some many colors!  So much movement!  Their endurance and grace were phenomenal.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fall League Swimming

I coached Fall League swimming this year, which was a great learning experience!  On two of the Sundays we had quite a bit of time in between each swimmer, so I tried working on body posture.  There was one coach directly across the pool that provided many positions.  I also tried to draw swimmers, which provided a challenge from the splashiness!  I could see their bodies underwater, but then I couldn't at the same time.  How to draw that?

Friday, October 12, 2012

The First Postage Stamp

My mom is brilliant, FYI.  One of the most creative people I know, so I must give her the credit of this wonderful idea of how to decorate the wall in my house that has been nagging me with its emptiness.  Everyone says, "Hey, you should paint a mural on this wall!"  They don't know how mercurial I am.  I have always wanted a tattoo, but I have my personal rule of knowing exactly what and where without change for a year.  I gave up even thinking about it a decade ago.  I can't even keep to the same style for more than a painting in a row.  So here is Mom's idea - since I love the mail system and old weird stamps, make each painting a stamp.  That way each one can have its own color scheme and style!  Also, I don't have to stick to one theme.  The perforations would unite them all!

Thanks Ma!

I knew exactly what I wanted to do for my first one.  Antisana in Ecuador.  When people tell you, "Close your eyes and visit a calming place..." I go back to Antisana.  When I am scared, I think of Antisana.  When I am overwhelmed, I think of Antisana.

Now what to do for my next one...?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Last of the New York Drawings

Sigh.  I miss drawing.  I am starting to get the itch again.  I have all sorts of blank canvases waiting to be filled, but I never seem to have the time.  Making time means dropping something else, and I'm not sure how to do that.  Hmph.  Here are my last two unshared files from New York!  I got the sax player to sign the Village Vanguard one.  Awesome times.  Still working on faces - they don't know whether to be caricatures or not.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Arizona Sunrise

Sunrise by melbergink
Sunrise, a photo by melbergink on Flickr.
Inspired by early morning swims and Larry's Instagrams (

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chef Sameulsson

More food.  Delish.  We totally saw Chef too.  Adam was a little smitten.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

NY Food

I love drawing food.  I have to draw if before eating it, which forces me to stop thinking and DRAW.  Colors were fervently observed and painted on later.  Adam reviewed their accuracy.

The left meal was at Chef Zakarian's restaurant - yes, the Iron Chef!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Liberty and Ellis Island

Taking the ferries to Liberty and Ellis Island.  Beautiful morning!  Adam and I hit these historic locations before the crowds.  Lady Liberty made both of us tear up.  (The stamps were the passport stamps at the Nat'l Park)

Monday, August 6, 2012

The ABC's of Molecular Biology as seen at Princeton


This entry is a DOOZY. A whole journal in one post!

From July 7th to July 20th I was one of the 19 teachers to participate in the HHMI Molecular Biology Outreach Program at Princeton. Each day we had amazing labs and speakers! The alphabet will encompass a wide range of molecular biology topics and equipment, and every speaker has a letter dedicated to something that they discussed. I am very grateful for the experience, and the last page says thanks to some of the major players involved.

Go science!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Princeton Campus

Sometimes I had some extra time before the labs we were doing.  Here's a postcard I sent to my wonderful friend Aunt Sue-Z!  The campus at Princeton was ridiculous, and it was wonderful to be surrounded by it.  Thanks Woodrow Wilson for the Neo-Gothic!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bunny and Tigers! Oh my!

I loved these tigers and the color dancing in them.  This is my personal favorite drawing of the whole trip because of a connection.  They really felt alive as I quietly sketched them.  Feisty on the left and Pensive on the right.

 Here is a bunny that was nomming on the grass at Princeton.  The rabbits out here are so petite and fluffy!  I used my itty-bitty sponge to swipe and make the grass and fur texture.  It was fun!  I need to experiment with it more.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

New Moleskine at the Princeton Church

I did draw a few sketches from my recent trip to Princeton and New York.

There was a neat little bookstore on Nassau St that actually had watercolor Moleskine. My mini Moleskine that I brought became quickly filled (I'll share that later), and I needed another. Here is my first page! Drawn in the Princeton Church (I sat in the back). Japanese tourist kept walking through. Pristine and peaceful.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Test Versions

In order to reduce the temptation of cheating with the students, I always have two versions of tests that alternate between them.  Instead of test "A" or "B" for the final, I like to find new critters I have never heard of before.  This year will have Version Sea Pig and Version Long-eared Jerboa!  These little drawings will be on the front of their exams.  (Note: Sea Pigs do not have eyes.  It was part of the cute-ification process.)


Awhile ago I sent a letter to my lovely Aunt Sue-Z.  Now that she has received it, I can share the image!  Protist good times!  The gray shading on the left side is that edge of the water droplet these were floating in.  The drawing it through a microscope.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dr. Dufty

My adviser Al Dufty died last week quite unexpectedly.  He was a tall, kind person that helped to guide many grad students through their intense work.  If it was not for him, then I never would have gone to Boise State.  I still remember sitting in my apartment in Placerville, CA interviewing over the phone and thinking that this was the adviser for me.  You don't pick a grad school in reality.  You pick an adviser, and he picks you.

In honor of his memory, I painted two watercolors.  One being the brown-headed cowbird - his "specialty" if you will.  The other being the puffies (AMKE nestlings) in a BSU box, which he shared with his grad students.

Thank you Al, for enriching our lives.