I’ve become interested recently in the true story of Smokey Bear. Terrible forest fires have ravaged the West Coast this summer. Smokey’s message has evolved over the years to encompass better stewardship of our forests and respect for nature. Smokey’s story is an amazing story of struggle and cooperation. This particular image depicts the moment that Smokey Bear came across Taos Pueblo firefighters fighting the Capitan Gap Fire in New Mexico in 1950. After the cub was rescued, his burns were treated and, when he was fully recovered, he was brought to the National Zoo in DC. An account I read said it was getting dark when Smokey was discovered. This gave me a fun challenge as I developed the palette for the picture.
Finished this illustration over the weekend: Shirley Chisholm Goes to Washington. Shirley Chisholm was the first Black American woman elected to Congress in 1968. I had a pretty clear picture in my mind of this piece before I started – happy with how it turned out!
A chalk pastel + digital drawing: a North Atlantic right whale feeing on krill. I’ve been experimenting with combining traditional and digital media. The North Atlantic right whale is critically endangered. Nearly hunted to extinction, it faces threats from fishing gear entanglements and vessel strikes.
After a contentious election and terrible year, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are expected to be sworn in as President and Vice President one month from today. For Joe Biden, this was his third run for office. Kamala Harris will be the first female vice president in our nation’s history. For many Americans, including myself, their 2020 victory represents hope and the chance for renewal.
My first book project is finished and I received my personal copy in the mail! The authors self-published so supplies were limited. 2+ years in the making! Thank you to the authors, Karen and David Richards, who gave me this opportunity. Thanks to Jennifer Morris for the referral and the Greater Boston Illustrator’s Group, Priscilla Alpaugh Cotter, Sarah Brannen, and Mel Cataldo for their advice and encouragement along the way. Thanks especially to my family who have been there since the beginning- from the reference-gathering road trip to North Carolina, backyard photo shoots, and the many critiques along the way!
Black Lives and those of Civil Rights giants were lost in 2020 including Breonna Taylor, John Lewis, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Their losses sparked outrage, calls for social change, remembrance, and appreciation. I drew these portraits as I reflected on their lives.