Michigan is blessed with incredible natural beauty and resources. Vast diverse forests, sprawling sand dunes, and wetlands teeming with life all span across the state. Each environment plays their part in sustaining the life and health of those that live in it, including humans. But we have been poor stewards of the land we live and rely on. We once revered the environment and its resources, but with the growing presence of industry and technology, nature has fallen to being valued only as a commodity. As something to be bought, sold, and exploited without regard to sustainability and preservation of habitats.
This series exalts nature to the position it once held; as a powerful, life giving force. By invoking the familiar figure of Mother Earth as a personification of nature, I strive to humanize these disconnected worlds. Sanctifying her with a golden halo, I elevate nature away from a commodity to be exploited unchecked to a diverse entity, to be revered and sustained. By provoking curiosity the viewer is driven to search for what is hidden. The detailed environments growing on each figure implores for a closer look. To realize that there is always more than meets the eye, and that even the small things hold their own importance.
Perhaps next time you find yourself outside take a moment to look a little closer, stare a little longer; find the beautiful moments worth protecting.
Delight in the discovery.
These landscapes highlight the diverse environments within the state of Michigan and inform the viewer of different ways people can engage in it. From berry picking, bird watching, or simply going for a long walk on the beach; people become a part of the natural world we sometimes find ourselves distanced from.
The first illustration is of a mixed Michigan forest. This piece highlights the wild berries that can be found in the woods if one knows where to look. The berries shown are blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, and chokecherry. Wild berries typically grow either on the edges of forests, along roads, or in “holes” in the forest. These “holes” are either naturally created when a tree falls down or by loggers, raspberries especially like to grow on discarded piles of lumber. Surrounding the berries are the various creatures attracted by the food source, as well as the predators that are attracted to them.
The second illustration is of Michigan’s famous fresh water dunes. Sand dunes are an amazing display of primary succession and the resilient plants and animals that live there. Despite this resilience, dune plants are actually very fragile to outside disturbances. “Blowouts” in dunes can occur naturally or from excessive human activity which disrupts the root systems of plants and eventually causing the dune to collapse. Michigan dunes are home to an incredibly diverse array of flora and fauna, so help protect the dunes and please stay on any marked paths when out exploring this amazing environment.
The final illustration is of a Michigan wetland. This piece highlights the flora and fauna found in wetlands, especially the diverse bird populations. Wetlands are an amazing place for casual and serious bird-watchers alike. Amongst the weeds one can spot some popular birds like the Common Loon, Great Blue Heron, King Fisher, Sandhill Cranes, and a Bald Eagle. As well as some lesser known birds like the Marsh Wren, Wood Duck, and the Northern Marsh Harrier; which is the only Michigan hawk that nests on the ground.
For more information about Michigan’s diverse natural environments visit: http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/
Birds of Michigan
These little vignettes portray a bird and a flower that one might find together in the same ecosystem in Michigan.
Robin and Painted Trillium
Piping Plover and Houghtons Goldenrod
Common Loon and Water Lily
A Black-capped Chickadee nests amidst a collage of wild roses, apple blossoms, and blackberry flowers.
The Fox Sister
A full page spread and three spot illustrations for the Korean folk tale The Fox Sister. A cautionary tale about a man who has everything yet begs the heavens for a daughter, even if she is a fox. And low and behold a fox daughter is born to the family and causes quite a bit of bloody misfortune.
I Shall Grow & Grow
Words of affirmation, a constant reminder to move forward and continue to grow as nature does.
Flowers include: apple blossom, wisteria, wild rose, violet, lily-of-the-valley, pink lady slipper, dwarf lake iris, lavender, lupine, blueberry, twinflower, wintergreen, wild clover.
Scenes of an Oxbow
An oxbow lake is a U-shaped lake that forms when a wide meander from the main stem of a river is cut off, creating a free-standing body of water.
These are scenes from a few days spent sketching and painting an ox-bow off the shores of Lake Michigan and the interesting shapes the land and water formed.
Are You Certain That You Are Alone?
Are all these plants poisonous or just strange looking? Is this scene as it seems or is there something hiding among the foliage?
Maybe don’t touch anything and don’t look back just to be safe.
Oh, didn’t you know oleander in the most poisonous landscaping shrub and people plant it in their yards? Maybe keeps the cat away from this one…
Bones, Berries, & Gems
A pattern series depicting a collection of animal skulls, berries, and rough gems stones.
Bird, cherry, and citrine. Bear, blueberry, and flourine. Snake, blackberry, and garnet.