I’ve been painting jewelry for about 3 years, and after a trip this summer to visit relatives who run an apartment gallery, I was inspired to delve back into soft pastels. I studied oil painting and lithography in college, and at the end of my college career started to play with soft pastels and really liked them. They have qualities I love about oil paints: easy to layer color; deep rich hues; easy to work and smear with your hands. They also are easier to store and transport and are less toxic. So I decided to take some of my most popular jewelry designs and create pastels drawings.
The first of the drawings was the Jackrabbit print. You can read more about my inspiration here!
In the next few months, I’ll be introducing some new prints and I’m very exited!
My Jackrabbit print is available from the store here.
The American Bison is the iconic image of the American West. Vast herds of 40,000,000 used to roam the plains of America. Bison is a crucial part of the plains ecosystem.
Bison were almost hunted to extinction as white settlers moved west in the 1800’s. Today most bison are kept on private lands, with a few small herds roaming free. Yellowstone Park is the only place where bison have lived continuously in the wild.
Fortunately today there are several groups striving to move bison to the prairie and reintroducing bison to tribal lands.
Read more bison facts here!
I designed the Jackrabbit necklace 2 years ago. The idea was a Predator | Prey series: the prey are very fierce and the predators are kind and gentle. The concept of the series was to challenge our stereotypes of what it means to be the prey (weak, scared, bad) or the predator (powerful, strong, good); the reality in nature is both the predator and prey rely and depend on each other. Neither survives without the other; this is balance in nature.
I had been painting the necklaces for over a year when, in the fall of 2016, I started working on original art based on my most popular jewelry pieces; the first piece was the Jackrabbit.
The second necklace in the series is the Grey Wolf.
People ask me if I have a rabbit, and the answer is no. However I do have a 24 pound cat that does look like a rabbit.
The Small Jackrabbit necklace is available in my store. The Jackrabbit pastel drawing is also available as a print.
Scientists are using robots off the western coast of Canada to figure out what whales are doing. Sometimes they stop in their migration, and linger in what is called “hot spots,” and the scientists would like to discover what it is about those spots that cause the whales to hang out. In a similar study, scientists were able to adjust shipping lanes to reduce encounters with whales and ships, improving the whales natural habitat. You can read more here!
When I was reading last week about the attempt to save the nearly extinct vaquita porpoise, I was reminded of the huge conservation effort for the California condor. As a kid growing up in California, the effort was well publicized; many thought the birds would become extinct. There were so few left, all the wild birds were captured to start a captive breeding program. No one knew if it would succeed. When many chicks started to be born in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the program was determined successful; later chicks were released into the wild to continue a wild as well as a captive population. Today there are only about 400 condors in the wild, and there is still work to do to protect the species, but this program worked to save this beautiful and important bird.
The historic range for the condor used to be all over the southwest, from California to Texas. Condors were often shot or poisoned by early settlers, and their habitat was reduced due to human development. More recently, pesticides and lead in bullets (condors are carrion feeders and consume lead in animals that have been shot) have lead to their decline.
Click here for more info on the Condor and past conservation efforts.
What better way to start the weekend than with a baby elephant?
Today’s daily sketch is highlighting the Vaquita, which is now in grave danger of going extinct. It’s the most endangered animal in the world today. The estimate is there are only 30 left in the wild and now a desparate attempt is being made to introduce them to captivity. Experts warn that the vaquita is not suitable for captivity, but this porpoise will vanish without some intervention.
This is an issue that has been going on for years: illegal net fishing of the totoaba fish has greatly affected the vaquita, as it is easily caught and killed in the nets. The population has been on a steady decline for many years and some (mostly ineffective) intervention has been attempted in the past. But now with so few in the wild, there’s not much else to be done. This, as with many extinction events like the baiji or Yangtze river dolphin (which became extinct around 2006), is like watching a slow motion train wreck. Often conservation is complicated, and most efforts reflect short term emergencies (because the species has declined to an unsustainable level) rather than long term proper management of natural resources.
Please donate to the following organizations on the front lines of saving the Vaquita:
Sea Shepard: this organization currently has 2 boats in the Gulf of Mexico, working to protect the vaquita.
Vaquita CPR: this is an organization consisting of governmental and animal conservation groups, who are working on implementing the plan to capture the vaquitas and introduce them to temporary sanctuaries.
July 8, 2017 is International Save the Vaquita Day, click here to find out what you can do!
It’s fun to pretend my desk looks this neat while I’m working.
The Rusty Patched Bumble bee is officially the first bee on the Endangered Species list. This bee, a native of eastern United States and upper Midwest, has been on the decline for a while; it’s imperative we take action to protect the decline of bees, as bees are a keystone species and the environment depends on their actions.
In February there was some doubt the bumblebee would make it on the list, although it has been slated to join in January. NRDC sued the Trump adminstration, who froze the federal protection through an executive order. The adminstration backed down, and allowed the bumblebee to be added to the list of protected animals.