Friday, September 6, 2013

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Part 4: The Passenger Pigeon Project

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. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Part 3

Western Bluebird. The last of the 4 window clings illustrated at The Lab of Ornithology. 

To view Part 4, click on "Newer Post" below the comments.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Part 2

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.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Part 1

"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." --

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.