New River Gorge National River Artist Residency

From February-March 2019 I lived in the heart of the iconic New River Gorge National River in southern West Virginia as the 2019 Artist-in-Residence at Lafayette Flats. While I was in the national park, I created an illustrated map of the region and lots of other work inspired by my hikes.

 

Because I was in the Gorge in early spring (when the trees were still barren), I really enjoyed focusing on finding and depicting different textures instead of the typical flora and fauna that I gravitate toward. I especially liked all the different colors and patterns of mosses, lichen, and Nuttall sandstone rock textures that I came across (see below).

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Sometimes I think it’s fun to test my observation and paint blending skills by trying to make my sketchbook disappear against a background. I tried that out with this lichen pattern on a rock that I liked.

Oh where, oh where did my sketchbook go?

Oh where, oh where did my sketchbook go?

6 Weeks in the Country of Jordan

From September - October 2018, I spent 6 weeks exploring the landscape and culture of Jordan, where my sister lives. I was excited to be a KEEN Adventure Guide for this trip and share the country of Jordan through my sketchbook with their audiences. Read more about what compelled me to visit this desert country on KEEN Footwear's blog here.

I camped in the Wadi Rum Desert for a long weekend during my visit to Jordan, and was so very excited when I spotted this Blue Lizard on a hike!

I camped in the Wadi Rum Desert for a long weekend during my visit to Jordan, and was so very excited when I spotted this Blue Lizard on a hike!

I think it’s fun to try to show a different perspective on famous landmarks. So while I couldn’t help but create a few pieces of the iconic architecture at Petra, I also wanted to show a close up of the swirling pink sandstone that

We spent several days in the ancient sandstone city of Petra with a few of my sister’s Bedouin friends. We slept in their cave with them and explored all the nooks and crannies of this architectural masterpiece.

We spent several days in the ancient sandstone city of Petra with a few of my sister’s Bedouin friends. We slept in their cave with them and explored all the nooks and crannies of this architectural masterpiece.

Several different native fruits were in bloom in Jordan while I was there, so I decided to paint them. My sister speaks Arabic and helped me with the calligraphy.

Artist Residency at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

In 2018, I was honored to be selected as one of 6 annual Artists-in-Residence at the national park.

I spent June 2018 living and creating in the park. I focused on depicting the "tiny worlds" of the park, including the plentiful fungi and the synchronous firefly phenomenon, a rare mating ritual that occurs in only a few locations around the world.

Read an article that I wrote for She Explores Podcast on my experience as a National Park Service artist here.

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While I was there, I illustrated an activity booklet for the park to help kids understand the amazing synchronous firefly phenomenon. I also made homemade firefly wings to wear around as I led kids in artistic engagement activities! They were a big hit.

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I hiked every day for 5 weeks during my artist residency and by the end, I felt the strongest that I ever had. I created this painting inspired by my newfound strength and my new pair of hiking boots.