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Chalk Mural

What do you do with a free evening, chalk, and a group of scientific illustrators? Why, you quickly create a mural showcasing local specie.

At the Guild of Natural Science Illustrator's conference this summer in Santa Cruz, CA, 180+ illustrators convened to exchange inspiration, knowledge and artwork. GNSI member and illustrator, Taina Litwak, dreamed up the murals (this is one of three), prepared the surface, supplied chalk and references, and let us go to town. SIDP student, Peter Green, participated in the drawings, as did I. For more information about the conference, go to You'll see all the wonderful speakers, workshops, events, and field trips. Next year's meeting is outside Ashland, North Carolina the end of June. You're all invited!

What did I do? This year I neither worked on the conference nor offered any workshops or presentations! Drinking in the conference as a full participant, I took: a workshop in NOTAN using lights and darks to develop composition from Marj Leggitt; Digital Drawing for Science and Fantasy from Brynn Metheney; and Digital Colorization in Photoshop with Melissa Logies. Right now, I'd still rather layer with watercolors, but I can see the addiction to painting in Photoshop. Now I just need a Cintiq.....

I went on field trips with excellent docents, exploring tide pools at Natural Bridges State Beach and admiring the redwood trees in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. I listened to every fabulous plenary speaker and attended as many presentations as possible. I loved meeting with the past, present and future SIDP students who were in attendance.


Notan workshop. 1. Sketch contour drawing of landscape. 2. Look for patterns in black and white. 3. Render a value study, leaving white all areas that are light or bright. 4. Overlay with watercolors (to be completed). We needed a full day for this class!


I'll be sharing all this and more this fall. Upcoming classes begin September 12 (Session III) and September 14 (Session I).

I leave you with a tide pool rich with life and color: orange sea stars, purple sea urchins, green anemones.... mussels, rock weed, rocks, hermit crabs, Pacific Ocean......and with a towering twisted-trunked redwood, busy saving our planet. (Coast redwoods capture more CO2 than any other tree on Earth, so thank you, coast redwoods, for every breath we take.)

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