I just gave a short lecture and a drawing demonstration for students coming from lower-income families from around the state at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This was a 2 day event that the Lab holds for winning applicants who showed effort in school and helped out in their communities. It was fun engaging with students, and I hope they use what they learned for whatever career path they choose.
I gave a demo on how to draw in general and how to use sketchbooks. The lab sponsored the students sketchbooks and a tool kits for them to take home and keep practicing.
The lab has also put up my ornithology work for visitors to see. Check it out if you're in town!
The passenger pigeon story is one of significance in the scientific community. This species used to be one of the most abundant birds in North America estimated to range from 3 to 5 billion during the 1800's. A flock of these pigeons were reported to have blacken the skies for almost three days straight. By the year 1900, this species was completely wiped out through human exploitation. They were marked as the cheapest source of meat during that time. This rapid extinction provoked scientific research and awareness of the impact humans have on the environment.
September 2014 was the 100 year anniversary of the last known passenger pigeon, named Martha, located in the Cincinnati Zoo. I was commissioned to paint this 11x17" digital illustration for The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in recognition of this historical event.
The Lab luckily had a stuffed passenger pigeon for me to study and use as reference. This species used to live in thick forests similar to the ones we have in Ithaca, NY. Tote bags are available through the Lab too! Thanks for reading, and feedback is always welcome.
I later returned to Cornell to give a lecture & demo to visiting students. Click on "Newer Post" below.
Here is the 3rd window cling featuring the Black Capped Chickadee. Like the others, this was first drawn in graphite then scanned in to be painted digitally. Below are a couple of my process shots and the final window cling print in the end.
To view the Part 3, click on "Newer Post" below the comments.
"At the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, scientists, conservationists, engineers, educators, and students all work together for a common purpose: to understand birds and other wildlife, to involve the public in scientific discovery, and to use our knowledge to protect our planet." -- birds.cornell.edu
I started working at the lab on May 1st as a Bartels Science Illustration Intern. It was a great experience working with people who are passionate about what they do. For an artist, the lab provides a rare collection of resources to study the anatomy and behavior of a bird accurately.
The following are 2 of 4 window clings that I illustrated for the lab's promotional purposes. The American Goldfinch and the Rufous Hummingbird were first drawn in graphite, scanned and then painted digitally.
As you can see, the overall anatomy of the bird has changed. A common mistake is to give birds foreheads and necks. Two things that many birds don't have.
These illustrations were then printed on clear sticky plastic so they can be placed on windows. They glow a little when light passes through them.
To view more of my work at Cornell, click on "Newer Post" below the comments.
Here are a three studies I did a while ago focusing on a new drawing technique. Drawing is just as hard as painting, if not harder. Painting lets us cover up our mistakes with layers and layer of brushstrokes, saturated colors, etc. When drawing, on the other hand, it's easy to see an artist's process: the early line-work, eraser marks, accidental smudges, areas of success and areas of frustration. And thus it's easier to read an artist's personality. Something that Clifford Wun taught me.
The Red-tailed Hawk was started 2nd year in college as an acrylic painting. By the time the background landscape was done, I ran out of time and never picked it up again. Recently I repainted it digitally. I need more practice with landscapes. This is my first time painting one digitally.
This Great Horned Owl was done in graphite first then digitally colored over.
Near the end of 2013, I worked at Spaeth Design in NYC. My primary project was to illustrate 6 figures that would be used to create a life-size, interactive book for one of the Macy's Christmas Windows at Herald Square. Each figure represents an important decade in fashion history. The first is 1890's, then the 70's, 1910's, 40's and the 60's. After a month of character designs, I illustrated these figures in a cartoony, whimsical style.
Some of the sketches from the concept development stage are below.
Each figure is then split in 3 and interchanges with the other figures. Check out the video below.
David explains to King Saul that he protected his sheep from lions and bears and that he is more than ready to take on Goliath. This is the 2nd finished painting from a book illustration class during college. Painted with my left hand! I'm grateful to still be able to make art as my right arm recovers.
All my work nowadays is left-handed. My right arm is still recovering and I rarely use it any more.
This is one of two paintings for my book illustration class at RIT taught by Elaine Verstraete. This depicts the scene when David confronts Goliath declaring 1 Samuel 17: 45-47. I started off with a pencil drawing first then painted over on Photoshop.
One thing I learned from this project was that you don't need to be perfect. You don't need to be 10 feet tall or wear fancy armor. All you need are the right things at the right time no matter how small they may seem. Just a stone and a sling to face your giants.
It's all about the details. The intricate patterns, the decorative fabrics, the antique machinery. I get lost in them. People ask me why I'm so detail oriented-well, here's why. :)
I probably spent a little too long on this one so I'll be taking a break from Kerala portraits for now. This photo was taken by my cousin Marily Scaria in 2012, but these sewing machines are considered an antique here in America.
So many things to update! Let's start with this one since some of you may have seen it from my Facebook posts. Kerala, India is where I grew up. It's been a while since my last visit but every time I see pictures it I'm stunned by how different that place is from America. On the surface all you see are unpaved roads, dirty walls, clothes that look a century old and let's not even talk about the bathrooms. But I know better! I lived half my life there. There's a beauty you can't truly appreciate unless you breathe the same air they do. Each persons's face is written with their life story told through their wrinkles, scars, aged hair, etc. The marks on their arms, the tears on their clothes are all hints on the unique life they live.
The following is an attempt to render that beauty. I've been painting a series of these as a personal project.