Joseph Cornell and Vintage Stamp Collages


February 29, 2012

I am still plugging away at the illustration job to design a series of skateboard decks. All is going well, but time has been really tight which means I haven't been able to volunteer at the Field museum for many weeks, including this one. When I need a little break from making line art for the decks, I have been making these litte collage paintings with some vintage stamps that I got from here

I've always loved vintage stamps, and collage art in general. One of my favorite artists, and a master of collage, is Joseph Cornell. Is it any wonder? So many of his collages included avian imagery. The Art Institute of Chicago has quite a collection of his boxes, and over the years I have visited them many times. They've always been these magical, holy relic-like objects to me. A wonderful biography of Cornell is Utopia Parkway by Deborah Soloman. 

I'll try an post a few more of my skateboard deck illustrations a bit later, but for now, I posted a handful of new collage paintings in the shop.

Hope you all are having a great week!

Burrowing Owl


February 22, 2012

I've been working on illustrations for a series of skateboard decks. That's been occupying most of my work time these last weeks. It been a great project so far, but I haven't been able to spare time to go in to the Field Museum recently. Hoping I can make it in tomorrow to work in the bird lab.

In the meantime, here is an ink drawing of a Burrowing Owl. I love Burrowing Owls! The series of decks will each be a different terrestrial animal. I'll post a couple more soon.

One last thing: I decided to make a giclee print edition of the Spring bear painting
I made to honor poet Mary Oliver. You can now obtain a copy 

For Mary


February 14, 2012

a black bear 
has just risen from sleep
and is staring

down the mountain. 
All night
in the brisk and shallow restlessness
of early spring

I think of her,
her four black fists
flicking the gravel,
her tongue

like a red fire
touching the grass,
the cold water.
There is only one question:

how to love this world.
I think of her
like a black and leafy ledge

to sharpen her claws against
the silence
of the trees
Whatever else

my life is
with its poems
and its music
and its glass cities

it is also this dazzling darkness
down the mountain,
breathing and tasting;

all day I think of her-
her white teeth
her wordlessness,
her perfect love.


Spring by M. Oliver

Valentine's Day Sale


February 08, 2012

I am having a 15% off everything sale in my bigcartel shop until Friday.

There are also a couple new vintage stamp/bird paintings there too!

Use coupon code 


Winter Reading: Wild


February 07, 2012

Not a whole lot of time for reading these days, but I make an effort. There is SO much out there that I want to read, but I would need another lifetime to get to it all!

I am currently reading Wild: An Elemental Journey by Jay Griffiths. I recently became aware of Griffiths through this reading she did for Orion Magazine. Although I have not finished yet, Wild is proving to be an astonishing, revelatory read.

Wild is the result of several years of research and travel. Griffiths spent time with various indigenous cultures in South America, the Arctic, and Australia, to name a few. The book explores the idea of wild, our engagement with it as humans. It's part travelogue, academic examination, and part damning treatise on the effects our (Western) culture, and specifically that of Christian missionary work, has had on the environment and indigenous cultures.

 This may sound like a downer of a read, but it's not. It's a rallying cry on the level of Silent Spring that shows how much we have to learn from the natural world, and the ancient cultures that have been living in harmony with it for thousands of years.

Originals Sale


February 02, 2012

Hello - I'm have a larger than usual sale of originals over at my Big Cartel shop.
Check it out here.

That's probably it for this week. Have a lovely weekend!

Thylacine - Thylacinus cynocephalus


February 01, 2012

Recently, my husband brought this movie trailer to my attention: The Hunter. Seen it? I've been obsessed with Thylacines, otherwise known at the Tasmanian Tiger or Wolf, and have been wanting to do a painting of one for months. When I saw the trailer, I figured I better get on it before the Thylacine is forever associated with a gun toting Willem Defoe. Even though I expect the movie to be based on a lot of myth while possibly exploiting and maligning an amazing (extinct) animal, some of it's more sensationalist plot points might actually be based in truth.

The Thylacine, a large, carnivorous marsupial is thought to have gone extinct on the Australian mainland about 2000 years ago. In Tasmania, however, it held out until the early 20th century. The Tasmanian Tiger went extinct as the result of an extremely focused hunting effort, in which a price was put on its head. Other factors could have contributed to its extinction such as introduced predators to Tasmania. The last Thylacine was shot in wild in by Wilf Batty (way to go Wilf) in 1930, and the last to die in captivity was in 1933 (possibly 1936). Since then there have a been number of unconfirmed sightings and evidence that the Thylacine may still exist (the movie explores this possibility), but methinks it is a lot of wishful thinking. 

Another aspect of the Thylacine's story that the movie seems to possibly touch on is the effort in recent years to extract DNA from Thylacine specimens with the intention to clone. I read an article on this project years ago, and since then I believe these efforts have been abandoned as a good DNA sample was not obtainable. I remember reading the article and feeling the excitement over the possibility of resurrecting an extinct species, especially one as magnificent as the Thylacine. But then, upon further reflection, I felt it was a hopeless endeavor. Not so much that it was destined to fail, but more what if we were able to bring the Thylacine back from the dead? Would it be to assuage our guilt as species in being directly responsible for its extermination? And what of its current habitat? Would it still be able to sustain a viable Thylacine population? Sometimes it may be better to accept that once something goes extinct, it is gone and gone forever. little soapbox for the day. I'm sure I'll go see the movie, though. If you haven't seen footage of a Thylacine, check out this video here.

Also, the painting above is available here.

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