Our Walnut Tree

walnut-tree-sketch

Walnut Tree, notebook sketch with Uniball pen, painted with a watercolor brush in Photoshop.

I always wanted a walnut tree. We finally planted one a few years ago, and while it’s healthy, it’s taking its time producing walnuts! Last year we had two or three. Maybe this will be our year? I’ll sketch more over the summer and track its progress.

The unfolding leaves are as beautiful as any sculpture.

Pronghorn Skull

pronghorn

Pronghorn skull from the Burke Museum, Mammalogy Collection, University of Washington, Seattle. Colored pencil on watercolor paper, cleaned up in Photoshop.

(Antilocapra american, family Antilocapridae)

I wanted to capture the roughness of the sheaths on the horns versus the smoothness of the ivory skull. (Pronghorns shed their sheaths annually, but underneath is a horn made of bone.)

pronghorn-pic-and-skull

Spinner Dolphin Skull

spinner-d-2-thin-outline

Skull of a spinner dolphin, Stella longirostris, Order Cetacea, from the collection of the Burke Museum, University of Washington, Seattle.

Colored pencil on watercolor paper, cleaned up in Photoshop.

The Burke Museum on the University of Washington campus is like a slightly smaller version of New York’s Museum of Natural History. The museum has excellent natural history exhibits as well as an incredible collection of skeletons, pelts and information about mammals, insects, reptiles and birds.

As I am interested in scientific illustration, Jeff, the Mammalogy Collection Manager, generously let me visit “backstage” and draw something from their collection. This spinner dolphin skull was sitting out from a previous researcher, so I decided to draw that.

spinner-d-pic-and-skull

One lovely part of the experience of drawing something for hours is really connecting with the thing it is you’re drawing. I fall in love with my subjects every time. Who was this dolphin? What was its life? What did it experience?