Mural installation at James Madison University

I’m excited to see that a mural I designed and illustrated for my undergraduate alma mater is being installed this week! The mural is for the new Biology building, so, of course, I cherished the opportunity to draw lots of plants and animals– a lemur, flying squirrel, and orchid, to name a few.

Mural detail of jellyfish and DNA

Mural detail of jellyfish and DNA

The mural will span 3 stories in panels of about:

The three mural panels together

The three mural panels together

3rd floor, 24’8″w x 10’9″h
2nd floor, 24’4″w x 10’8″h
1st floor, 14’8″w x 10’7″h

My design was printed onto adhesive panels and installed on the wall. When the mural is seen through the 3-story glass exterior wall of the building, the panels will appear to connect as one image. Thanks to my former professor Dr. Jon Monroe and the JMU Biology department for the job and to Erick DeMartino for guidance.

See below for more views of the finished project (photos by Jon Monroe):

Outside view of building-- mural is behind glass on left

Outside view of building-- mural is behind glass on left

Outside building view-- mural behind glass

Outside building view-- mural behind glass

First floor

First floor (jellyfish, paramecia, a virus, nostoc, trout, salamander)

second floor

Second floor (orchid, flying squirrel, butterflies, oak leaf, chameleon, lemur)

third floor

Third floor (hawk, butterflies, swallows)

DNA close-up on wall

DNA close-up on wall

Posted in Illustration | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Love Birds

For two little birds who are going to City Hall!

Pigeons at City Hall

Posted in Illustration | Comments Off on Love Birds

Dogs love Chicago

Were there always this many dogs on planes?  While landing in Chicago over Christmas vacation, I spotted no fewer than 3 little critters emerging from their under-the-seat carriers to ride out the landing lap-side. I LOVE dogs– I’m not complaining!  In fact, if memory serves, our flight looked something like this…

dogs on a plane

Posted in Illustration | 3 Comments

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Portrait of Orito Aibagawa in The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de ZoetAnother illustration about a book I enjoyed, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (David Mitchell, 2010).  I drew this portrait of my favorite character, Orito Aibagawa, a midwife in Dejima in turn-of-the-19th-century Japan.  That’s all I should say, but there’s more to this story than meets the eye…

Posted in Illustration | 1 Comment

Homage to “The Tiger’s Wife”

I’ve had this story and its imagery on my mind since I read Tea Obreht’s excerpt in the New Yorker a year or two ago. I just read her novel of the same name, and this is how I see it!

Illustration of the novel The Tiger's Wife

Posted in Illustration | Comments Off on Homage to “The Tiger’s Wife”

Sonic Bloom

I’m trying some things out in Adobe Illustrator, and I have to say– I’m enjoying it!  What do you think?

a robin sings flowers into bloom

Posted in Illustration | 1 Comment

13 Blackbirds

I finally got around to doing something I’ve always thought about– illustrating the poem “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” by Wallace Stevens (1917).

16 x 16 inches, Ink and Acrylic on gesso board.

13 Ways of looking at a blackbird

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.



Posted in Illustration | 3 Comments

New promo illustration

coffee monkey on man's back

Posted in Illustration | 1 Comment

I can, and I will.

It’s always an extra bonus when an illustration project leads to an exciting new experience– in this case, learning how to can! After designing and illustrating these canning workshop advertisements for Loose Caboose Farms in the Hudson Valley, NY, I was invited to participate in two of their food storage workshops.  At our 1st workshop, I learned how to can spicy garlic jalapeño carrots.


Loose Caboose Postcard

Loose Caboose Farms postcard


Peeling and preparing the garden-fresh veggies


Releasing trapped air bubbles with a chopstick

Releasing trapped air bubbles from brine with a chopstick


Spicy garlic jalapeño carrots

After closing the jars and boiling for 15 minutes-- Spicy Carrot sticks!


If you live near the Hudson Valley and would like to participate in a Loose Caboose Farm canning workshop, visit their website and write to ask about upcoming workshops.

Posted in Illustration, Out and About | Comments Off on I can, and I will.

Sketching at SOI

Bri Hermanson, Daniel Hertzberg and I enjoyed the beach theme at the Society of Illustrators sketch night yesterday. Four figure drawings below…

Posted in Illustration | 6 Comments