Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Project - Naturalist's Journal of Strange Beasts


I've started a new project; one that will probably be a continuing pursuit. The premises is that the artist is an explorer in the early 1700's, sailing on a ship in the same way that Darwin travelled on the HMS Beagle as the on board naturalist. In this project, however, all of the animals encountered are imaginary creatures. All of these are going to be done in watercolor, though some of these might lead to the creatures being used for standalone oil paintings. Likewise, some of the creatures in past oil paintings might be included in this project.

With each watercolor painting, there will be notations written in the lower margin, as though the naturalist kept field notes. Additionally, there will be a "letter" to accompany the painting, written by the explorer, narrating how the creatures were found, the environment, and travel adventures.

My friend Julie will handle the notations and letter writing, since she has much better handwriting than I do. She studied calligraphy and is a superb writer. So this will be a collaboration of sorts, although right now I'm just coming up with creature paintings.

I don't know exactly where it will lead, but it sure has been a great deal of fun. I will probably work exclusively on these for the next couple of weeks, and then get back to oil painting.

I plan to include the initial twelve naturalist journal paintings in my next show at the Bone Room in Berkeley.

Above: Spider Baboon (Red knee Mexican tarantula and Gelada Baboon) (not yet finished - work in process. I need to finish the grass and plants)
Kangalion and mandrill-lope
Painted Lady Butterfly and Murine Mouse


  1. Hi, Sandra! I'm enjoying reading your blog. It's really interesting hearing about your internal process.