A Physicist and Artist try to make it in Silicon Valley

A Physicist and Artist try to make it in Silicon Valley
In which a couple tries to thrive creatively and intellectually on and offline

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #30

This week's sketchbook Friday sketch is one I created last week. It is for my latest painting, which is on a small 8 x 10 canvas and is about half done now.

Sorry my posts have been so infrequent. Trying to get ready for my parents coming to visit next week.

I am meeting with the writers for the graphic novel tomorrow, which hopefully means that I can start on full-pages soon. This will be the first time I have met them in person. Everything we have done thus far has been through email, instant messaging, and skype. Hooray for technology!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #29

I went through a period of drawing Drag Queens, for awhile, and I have several of these pen and ink sketches.

This one is my favorite.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Book of the Week #24

My husband chose this week's book: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

In his words:

It is a fantastic book about a fascinating subject, but not for those looking for a quick read. It is written more like a scientific paper, but is well worth the effort.

I love it when my husband actually has time to read something!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #28

This week's sketchbook Friday is a page of ink washes created in my 2nd life drawing class, I think this was junior year of college.

My professor was obsessed with the angles and proportions of the human body, and although the class drove me nuts, I learned a lot about accuracy.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Book of the Week #23

Ok, so I know I've already picked one book on homesteading for the book of the week, but I've found one that is so much better. I just had to share it.

The Backyard Homestead covers everything in depth, with detailed illustrations, regional discrepancies, and practical plans. I actually bought this book after just paging through it, and have read it twice already. I can't wait to have a house and yard so I can get started on the projects detailed in this book.

Our fox masks were a huge hit at Halloween. People kept asking to get their picture taken with us, and asked me where I bought them! They couldn't believe that I had made the masks out of plastic bottles and duct tape. Here's a picture of my handsome hubby in his full costume. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book of the Week and Sketchbook Friday...err Wednesday

Since we are going to be busy this weekend I'm combining sketchbook friday and the book of the week into one post...and it's on a Wednesday, so...yeah.

Anyway, my final Halloween edition book of the week is Extreme Halloween by Tom Nardone. This is the Extreme Pumpkins guy, and he has some pretty fun and creative ideas for costumes, lawns, and decorations. I like it because it's not filled with cutesy crafts.

This week's sketchbook image is a creepy one (I hope sufficiently creepy for Halloween). Just a couple sketches I did two years ago brainstorming for a painting that never materialized.

Happy Halloween everybody!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fox Mask #2 is Complete!

I finished my husband's fox mask on Sunday! I used the same technique and materials that I went over in last week's post. Here are some pictures.

Yesterday I made the tail for my costume as well.

Unfortunately, After a couple of failed attempts at making fox legs spats, I've decided to forgo the project. I don't have a sewing machine, and without it they won't get done in time. Ah well, should still be some pretty good costumes! I can't wait to see our friends in Madison while wearing these costumes.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Entry for the NASA and Etsy Space Craft Contest

I finished my entry for the NASA and Etsy Space Craft Contest today! Since I was a child, I have always had a love of astronomy and space exploration. I had all of Isaac Asimov's books on the subject, and I had those glow in the dark stars in my room, but I based them off of real constellations (okay, so I was a major nerd).

It is called "We will reach out to the Stars", and it is an original acrylic painting on a 20in x 24in canvas. This painting was inspired by the beauty of our universe and the importance of exploration. I titled it after a Stephen Hawking quote; "I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I'm an optimist. We will reach out to the stars."

I found out from some research that nebulae are the birth place of stars, so I took the idea one step further and represented the stars as eggs on canvas.

When you find a nest of eggs, without further observation you would have no idea what they may become. When we look up at the stars, each speck of light represents a whole area of our universe that without further observation or exploration would be unknown to us. Human beings are meant to be explorers, and that is why I think the Space Program is so important.

I really hope that I can at least make the first cut in this contest. If I do, I will need help making it to the final round, because the 2nd round is voted on by Etsy users! So on November 12th, if I post that I've made it to the 2nd round, please vote for my piece!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #26

Sorry that this is the only post this week-I have had the flu. Next week I will make sure that there is one more Halloween book of the week and will post the second fox mask, along with a how-to on making fox leg spats. Hopefully will also post my entry for this contest, a painting that I have been working on for the past couple of weeks.

Anyways....Sketchbook Friday!

This week's sketchbook Friday is a particularly ridiculous sketch from college. A friend of mine gave me this fantastic brush pen, and this is one of the first sketches I did with it.

Of course, two weeks later I lost it. I almost cried. It was a gorgeous pen.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #25

This week's sketchbook Friday is a sketch I did for this project, a bride skeleton for my sister's Dia de los Muertos themed wedding last year.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Book of the week #22: Halloween Edition

This week's Halloween book is The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

It's a great book for parents to read to their kids around this time of year. I remember loving this book when I was a child.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A fox mask made from recycled materials

I love to make masks for Halloween costumes. This year my husband and I are going as Mr and Mrs Fox from The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Yesterday I made my mask using recycled materials and shag fur fabric. Here's how I did it.

-1 milk jug
-1 orange juice jug
-1 egg carton
-1 cereal box
-1 roll duct tape
-scrap fabric
-1 recycled translucent white curtain
-hot glue
-shag fur

First, I made sketches:

Using some scrap fabric, I created a band to build the mask off of. I marked the area where it would rest on my forehead with a marker.

Sewing the bottom of the milk jug to the band, I created a kind of half-helmet. Then I added the ears, made from milk jug plastic and cardboard.

From this base I just continued to build the inner structure. I wear glasses, so I had to make sure that there would be enough space for me to wear them in the mask. The egg carton cups were especially helpful for building up areas. This was done using hot glue and a lot of duct tape. I drew irises on the white curtain fabric, and sewed them into the eye holes.

I added batting to the entire area with hot glue.

The shag fur was a real pain. It shed whenever I cut it, and my glue gun got covered. I burned my fingers up big time. For the next mask, I'm definitely going to wear gloves. I created a flap in back that covers the area where the mask is tied, and then used hairspray to calm the fuzzy fake fur and hold it in place.

Tah dah!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #25

This week's Sketchbook Friday is a quick pencil sketch I made freshman year of college.

I think it was supposed to be a self-portrait, because I had a haircut like that, but I honestly can't remember.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In which my cat discovers my costume materials and proceeds to act like a fool

My husband and I are going back to Madison for Halloween this year, and we are super excited.

I love making masks and this year we are going as Mr and Mrs Fox from The Fantastic Mr. Fox. I will probably update on them throughout the month as they come together.

I got my fur samples in the mail yesterday and was deciding which to order when our younger cat found one of the scraps and proceeded to go nuts, resulting in the following:

Enjoy the ridiculousness.

Book of the Week #21: Halloween Edition

I love Halloween, so this month I will be choosing books that are creepy, crafty, etc.

This week's book is World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks.

With the past couple years being focused on vampire novels, it is good to see an excellent zombie novel out there. Entertaining, original, and fun, this book is a quick read and will get you in the mood for the holiday.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #24

This week's sketchbook Friday is a sketch I did for a terrifically unsuccessful painting in my freshman year of college.
The sketch turned out okay though.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #23

This week's sketch is one of the preliminary sketches I did for the painting, "By Your Side".

I had a dream about an old boyfriend falling out of a laundry machine. Then his head blew up.

I think I ate pizza the night before or something.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Book of the Week #20

This week's book is one of my husband's favorites: The Quark and the Jaguar by Murray Gell-Man.

In this book the Nobel prize winning physicist discusses adaptive systems in a way that is engaging and informative. Very interesting, especially if you like science!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #22

This week's sketchbook Friday is another drawing of my sister and I from college.

She asked me if I would ever be able to tell if she were replaced by a robot.

I think I probably could.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book of the Week #19

This week's book is Homesteading by Abigail Gehring

I picked this book up from the library on a whim and am now planning on buying it. While the format and shape of the book is a little awkward (it's shaped more like a coffee table book than a reference book), it covers a wide range of topics in excellent detail, without getting too hippy-dippy (although there are whole chapters on planned communities and herbal medicine).

Here are a few topics it covers:
  • Gardening- both raised beds and regular, with in depth details about plant pairing and climate
  • Canning- covers both pressure and boiling methods
  • Brewing and wine making
  • Chickens and ducks
  • Barn, smoke house, and tree house building
  • Alternative energy sources- including geothermal
  • Wild edibles
  • Candle making
  • Lots of other fun tidbits
All these topics are covered in an approachable way so that any one with a quarter of an acre or more can achieve.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Camping in Big Trees

This last weekend my husband and I decided to go on a last minute camping trip. I had wanted to go to Calaveras Big Trees State Park since we first moved here, and even though it's about three hours away, we decided to make the trip.

It was totally worth the drive. We camped in Oak Hollow campground, which is very nice, and there were several available campsites. Our tent was pitched in a young grove of sequoias and douglas fir and the fire pit was large and high enough that we could have a fire despite the dry conditions. We took a short hike along the river trail and spent the rest of the evening relaxing and talking outside. The next morning we made pancakes and laughed at the ground squirrels eating the enormous pinecones that dropped from the douglas fir near our tent.

The next day we decided to hike around in the South Grove, which has over one thousand giant sequoias and is a really nicely maintained trail and area. We heard a bear on several different occasions, twice splashing around a stream and once tearing at a tree trunk.

Because we live in such a highly developed and polluted area, it is so nice to get out and spend the night in the mountains.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #21

This week's sketchbook Friday is just a little demon I drew a couple of years ago. I like the idea of a demon in footy pajamas.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book of the week #18

This week's book is Food Rules by Michael Pollan.

Much has been said about Pollan's previous books about food, and having read them both I can easily say that the praise is well-deserved. The reason I chose this book, however, is that anyone can read it. And in one sitting. It's simple, entertaining, and gives logical and concrete advice about eating. For these reasons, I think it has the potential to change this country's eating habits.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #20

This week's Sketchbook Friday features two drawings I did for an life drawing lesson. I taught art lessons at the Monroe Street Fine Arts Center in Madison, Wisconsin for several years. It was a wonderful little community art center in one of my favorite Madison neighborhoods.

This was a lesson on legs and feet. I used my husband as a model.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Book of the Week #17

This week's book is Art Spiegelman's Maus.

If you haven't already read this Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel, you really should. It is a heart felt and honest allegory that grips the reader and won't let go. Totally changed comics. Check it out.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Science-filled weekend in the city

This last weekend my husband and I drove up to San Francisco to meet up with the Bay Area Badgers Group in the Presidio. I also decided to use this as a fact-finding trip for me to do some serious research on animals for my children's custom work. We spent Saturday at the California Academy of Sciences, which, while pricey (about $25 each for adults) is a gorgeous spot. We took our bikes through Golden Gate State Park to get there, which on a weekend is a little hairy, but we got there safe.

The California Academy of Sciences is basically a really state of the art field museum, with a fabulous aquarium and tons of animal and plant related exhibits. It is also always crowded. We didn't even make it up to the Extreme Mammals exhibit due to the lines, and the planetarium tickets were gone in an instant. Having said that, it was well worth the time and expense to go. The exhibits are really interesting, and we got a lot of photos and information on the animals that I will be using in the future.We also spent a decent amount of time just walking around, including along the Bay Beach in the Presidio area, where we both love to watch the dogs and their owners, the wind surfers, and the boats passing through. After a breakfast near the old Sutro bathhouses and a walk on the beach, we went to the Exploratorium with the Badger Alumni. This is without a doubt the coolest and most engaging science museum I have ever been to. Totally worth going to. My husband and I were like kids in a toy store running around and playing with all the exhibits.
They have an Artist in Residence program that I'm looking into. Once they open up the application process, I'm definitely applying. My husband and I already have plans from what we saw to create some sculptures and experiments! Once he is back to only working 60 hours a week, we may even have time to start working on them. :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #19

Today's sketchbook Friday sketch is another Alice in Wonderland sketch from my early college years:
The Mad Hatter

Monday, August 23, 2010

Book of the Week #16

This week's book is Making Comics by Scott McCloud.
This book has, in many ways, changed the way that comics are made today. Scott McCloud made it possible for comic illustration and writing to be approachable and wrote in an easily understood manner for visual learners. Written in comic book format, this instructional book is funny, entertaining, and informative. A beginner's must for those looking to break into comics.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #18

This week's sketchbook Friday is a sketch I did for a series of illustrations for J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan while I was in college. It's the Neverbird.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


My family and I participated at Chalkfest in Eau Claire, Wisconsin last weekend while I was visiting. While it was intense (6 hours of drawing), we had so much fun!

About 90 artists participated, and it was a fantastic event.

Our panel was a spoof on the video game Katamari Damacy, and we got Runner up for Adult Group.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #17

This week's sketchbook Friday is a sketch from my early college years. Back when I went to punk shows, cut up a perfectly good sweater to have arm cuffs, and wore very large boots.

Apparently, my cat was a pirate at the time also. Who knew?