Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Mystery of the Mosasaur

I have a serious bone to pick with South Dakota's very near and dear neighbor to the south.

Mosasaur Sign

Why is there only a picture of this sign, you ask? Why are there no further photos of a mosasaur mount or an excavation site? Why are there no pictures of a museum, a single fossil, or even so much as a small plaque marking where a mosasaur was once discovered? I don't know, Nebraska, why is that...? WHERE'S THE MOSASAUR, NEBRASKA?

On a trip to visit family in Nebraska last weekend, we stopped at Niobrara State Park. We were just planning to stop at some scenic overlooks and get an idea of the hiking options, mostly checking out the park for future visits when we'd have more time. But then we saw this sign and I got giddy with thoughts of mosasaur possibilites.

The arrow pointed to a hillside covered in wind-blown grasses; no mosasaur or even promising looking rocks in sight. With no other signs and no mention of mosasaurs on the park map, we decided there must be something mosasaur related on the nearest hiking trail that went in the general direction the arrow was pointing. But after an hour or so of searching on foot, we found no further clues of a mosasaur and/or any kind of excavation site. We drove the entire park, still turned up nothing, and with sighs of great disappointment were forced to leave completely mosasaur-less.

The first thing I did when I got home from the trip was start Googling for answers about this elusive "excavation site of mosasaur". It has only brought me more questions. The official website for Niobrara State Park mentions it in passing with no specifics:

"Visitors may want to check out the site of the mosasaurus palentological [sic] find, an important one, since it was the first complete fossil of its kind found in Nebraska." 

An important one, eh...? Seriously, where's the mosasaur?


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Art & Wine Walk Update

I have only a few photos from after the Art & Wine Walk was pretty much over. The turnout was great, especially considering that the local weather forecast was basically THE END OF THE WORLD as we know it. It turned out to be a brisk but generally nice autumn evening in Sioux Falls, while west river South Dakota was hit with a massive blizzard. Whew!

DTSF Art & Wine Walk

DTSF Art & Wine Walk

DTSF Art & Wine Walk

DTSF Art & Wine Walk

I brought two watercolor pieces with me to work on and made it this far on one of them (above).

Thank you to all who stopped by the Book Shop, whether close family or meeting for the first time - I never have enough time to spend talking with everyone who comes out for events like these, but your presence and support is sincerely appreciated!

If you have photos from the event you'd like to share, email me at and I'll post or link to them here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

DTSF First Friday Art & Wine Walk

This Friday, October 4th, I will be the working artist at the Book Shop for the Art & Wine Walk from 5 to 9 pm. I took part in this event last Spring and it was definitely a fun experience! This time I'll be working with watercolor on paper.

Art & Wine Walk
Visit the DTSF website for the details of the event and a list of the other artists that will be participating. If you only have time for a few stops, I highly recommend Monks House of Ale Repute where a couple of my fellow USD painting alumni will be stationed: T.J. Donovan and Andres Torres. Also, Michael Hill, longtime ceramics professor at USD, will be at Rehfeld's gallery.

New Painting: "Mega Annum Ammonite Experiment 3"

It's been a rather long summer hiatus from blogging here but I have new work to share in coming weeks. I'm finally getting around to scanning and photographing new stuff.

You might find something slightly familiar about this piece: it's one I started during last Spring's Art & Wine Walk. It has changed drastically since I last shared it, but pieces of the early layers remain. I've titled this painting Mega Annum Ammonite Experiment 3.

Mega Annum Ammonite Experiment 3

It's acrylic on canvas, 18 by 18 inches square. As always, photos can't capture all the detail of the original but the colors are fairly accurate in these. The difference in finish doesn't show well - some layers are very glossy, other parts have a different kind of reflective sheen from the use of iridescent medium.

Mega Annum Ammonite Experiment 3 (detail)

Mega Annum Ammonite Experiment 3 (detail)

Mega Annum Ammonite Experiment 3 (detail)

I'm working with this in a series of three paintings with the same title, possibly more depending on how the other two come out.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Deerhead/Van Eps/Brian Hoffman Show Poster

A poster/flyer for an alt-rock show at Old Skoolz in downtown Sioux Falls. Drawn in black pen and marker on paper, colored in photoshop.

Hand-drawn Show Poster

Deerhead/Van Eps/Brian Hoffman Show Poster (color)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

BEASTS Showing at Exposure

Last Friday, some of my work was in a group show with an animal theme called BEASTS at the new Exposure gallery space in downtown Sioux Falls.

BEASTS Group Art Show at Exposure

BEASTS Group Art Show at Exposure

Exposure is open as a gallery on DTSF First Fridays (among other art events held each month in this space) so locals should definitely stop in and join the party! It's non-profit and everything is done by volunteer work - THANK YOU everyone who helps make this place a reality! Very special thanks to fellow artist/designer Zach DeBoer, who generously donates his time to curate and do the heavy lifting on these First Friday shows each month...literally, he's the one up on the ladder drilling holes to hang dinosaur curtains.

You can learn more by visiting the Exposure website, liking on Facebook, and watching this brief local news story (bonus points for spotting my brother and me in the video footage).

I also want to thank my family and friends, who come out to these events even when it's work of mine they've already seen plenty of times, and my husband who always ends up helping with the worst kinds of grunt work involved in being an artist (moving furniture and bins of pillows in 90 degree heat in this case).

I'm unfortunately not well connected with all the local artists that were included in this show, but here are some links for the ones I do know for you to check out:

Molly O'Connor
Darcy Millette
Cassie Marie Edwards

I'll update this list later if able to find websites for the others.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Giclée Prints!

My first art prints have arrived at my Etsy store! They are archival fine art Giclée prints.

The quality of these prints has exceeded my every expectation. One of the reasons I've been dragging my feet so long on prints is that I've always figured they're just never going to look good at all compared to an original painting. These prints have changed my opinion.

Synapsid Sunrise Giclée Prints

Synapsid Sunrise prints are 8 by 10 inches. The colors on this piece turned out incredible. In fact, I like the way the prints look better than the original painting now. I chose Arches Cold Press paper for these, which has a texture almost exactly like the original watercolor paper it was painted on.

Superspatial Sailfish Giclée Prints

The Superspatial Sailfish prints are 12 by 12 inches. As always seems to be the case with blues, there was some color shifting from the original scan, but they still turned out excellent. These are printed on Arches Cold Press paper as well. I'm really happy with how this piece looks with the square breathing space around it.

It took me a long time to come to a decision about who I was going to work with to make my prints. It's cheaper to get them online, but cost was not my only consideration. In the end, I went with a local print shop I already work with and trust - I'm supporting a local business and have a lot more control over the quality of my prints.

One of the drawbacks of having these printed in advance is that customers can't choose what size print they'd prefer. You can contact me at or message me on Etsy if you're interested in a different size - so far, it's taken a week or less from the time I put in a print order to the time I have it in my hands.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Art & Wine Walk Update #2

Art & Wine Walk

Asked and I have received - my Book Shop colleagues did catch a photo of me hard at work (or looking hard at work).

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Art & Wine Walk Update

The Art & Wine Walk was a grand time! Pictured is the main painting I was working on during the event. It's not even halfway finished, but it's not bad progress for a few hours of highly distracted work. This is acrylic on canvas, 18 x 18 inches.

Art & Wine Walk Painting Progress

Art & Wine Walk Painting Progress



I met some wonderful people, and also learned that mixing art, artists, large amounts of alcohol, and the general public together becomes an increasingly unpredictable and fascinating combination as the night progresses.

A huge thank you to everyone who came out - family, friends, and new acquaintances! I hope you had a great time! If anyone else actually captured a photo of me working, do send it my way.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

First Friday Art & Wine Walk

First Friday Art & Wine Walk

This coming Friday, May 3rd, I'll be taking part in DTSF's First Friday Art & Wine Walk! My wonderful and very supportive employers/colleagues at the Book Shop are hosting me from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. I'll be working on several acrylic paintings in various stages of finish so visitors can see firsthand how the pieces develop. Some of my wares will be available for sale as well.

The event is free (buying wine samples is optional) so if your existing plans for this particular Friday evening are more boring than watching paint dry, come and check it out!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Superspatial Sailfish

Superspatial Sailfish

This is my newest finished painting called Superspatial Sailfish. It's watercolor and gouache on paper. The original is on 9" x 12" paper. I shared one of my preliminary drawings for this piece when I was beginning to develop the idea way back in January.

I also have some very exciting news: sometime in May I will start to offer Giclée prints of my paintings in my Etsy shop! This is the first time ever I'll have prints of my paintings available for sale. Synapsid Sunrise and Superspatial Sailfish will be the first two ready. I'll share all the details later once they are ready to go!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Kori Bustard & Bee-eater

This simple ink and marker drawing started out as just a pencil practice sketch of a Kori Bustard and its bee-eater companion. It's one of those wondrous occurrences in nature that most people would probably assume is fiction when depicted in an illustration, but is completely, incredibly real.
Kori Bustard + Bee-eater
I wasn't able to keep up with the daily drawings I was doing in February, but I'll now be aiming to post two new drawings from my sketchbooks per week for April. Yes, April! It's finally spring!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Synapsid Sunrise

Synapsid Sunrise

I've finally finished my piece for the Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs "All Yesterdays" contest. It's called Synapsid Sunrise and is pencil, watercolor, and ink on 9" x 12" watercolor paper. The above scan is not altered digitally - the only further change I'll be making is removing any darker areas showing up in the white space around the painting. You can view it in larger sizes for more detail here.

My accompanying caption for this piece reads: "To best enhance their spectacularly colorful courtship display, Dimetrodon gather in intense early morning and late afternoon sunlight on hot summer days with the clearest of skies." This is further over on the side of fanciful than scientific, but imagining these animals strutting around in extravagant courtship displays with the colorful reflections of brightly hued sails all around them was too wonderful for me to resist illustrating.


Some preliminary sketches, with Safari Dimetrodon and chunk o' calcite.

Synapsid Sunrise Progress

With watercolor paintings, I usually prefer to start with a completely fleshed out composition in pencil.

Synapsid Sunrise Progress

Synapsid Sunrise Final

I've only yet seen a handful of the other entries for the two different "All Yesterdays" contests going on, but among the few I have seen are this depiction of Dimetrodon called Texan Mama by Mike Keesey. It's very fun to see a completely different but plausible vision for the same animal, which is, of course, part of what "All Yesterdays" is all about. He also shares some interesting information about Dimetrodon in a nice compact explanation about where it fits on the evolutionary tree as a stem-mammal, so check it out.

I'm looking forward to seeing all the other entries in these contests and will post the appropriate links here once the results are in!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Daily Drawings, Jan 20-21

Daily Drawing, Jan 20

Micron and marker in 6" x 6" sketchbook.

Daily Drawing, Jan 21

Micron and marker in 5" x 7" sketchbook.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Daily Drawing, January 17th

Daily Drawing, Jan 17

I've recently started pulling some elements out of my rough sketchbooks and putting them together into slightly more cohesive drawings to help organize my thoughts/concepts. Most are still very loose and exploratory but I figure they will make perfect "daily drawings" to share here. I wish I'd come up with this idea to start on January 1st, rather than randomly halfway through the month. Ah well. Above is today's entry - micron and marker on 5" x 7" paper.