Birding and Leaf Painting

I have always collected leaves. Every year as the leaves turn I find myself picking up my favorites. In past years I did this without much plan; I would pick them up and shove them between book pages (books I clearly didn’t care about because leaf pressing in books wicks all the moisture from the leaf into the book, warping the pages). While this was fairly successful in pressing the leaves, they languished. I didn’t have a plan and the plans I thought I had wouldn’t work with the paper like dried leaf I ended up with.

This time I got a real plant press and prepared a set up to submerge the leaves in glycerin. I wanted to have two options, leaves dried like paper and leaves that were preserved maintaining their flexible state.

glycerinleaf

A lettuce leave after soaking in glycerin. It looks like kelp!

The glycerin leaves are still in my processing space. Sometimes I have to sit and look at something day after day before the idea fully forms and I know what I will do with it. The dried leaves I immediately started painting birds on them.

Two separate things brought this idea together. I have always liked painting on none white surfaces. When I went hiking in 2010 and picked up birch bark off the trail, it looked so much like paper, I decided to paint on it. I left these paintings on the trail knowing they were watercolor and would wash off if no one picked them up (I found out the hut kids found them and enjoyed them). Then in the summer of 2016 I got a button maker and realized you could easily put leaves in the press. The jump to painting on the leaf first was a short distance away.

I decided on birds because I look at birds all the time. I have feeders all around my yard. My mother and her sister, Karen & Teresa are birders and they constantly teach us what birds we are looking at. Also, many family vacations now have large swaths of time devoted to birding. We all enjoy it including my son. It’s very similar to collecting Pokemon but, real animals and instead of taking them home we make a list of what we saw and/or heard.

I took the close up photos with my phone using a scope and binoculars for zoom, technology can be ridiculous.

I wanted to paint birds that came from the same locations as the leaves. Representing native species on both fronts, flora and fauna. However, even though the leaves I have collected are living locally, they are native to other countries. The Ginkgo specifically which, is a favorite to paint on. However, the birch and sweet gum trees are fine, as well as the blackberry, strawberry, saltbush, holly cherry, and other natives I have purposefully replanted in our yard. This follows my overall goals of native flora for the paintings and a native garden for the yard.

The leaves all react differently to being pressed and dried, sorted and held until I paint on them, and after they have been enclosed in a button. If the leaf isn’t fully dried it tends to mold within the button. These possibilities cause me to charge not much more than a fancy cup of coffee which, is also a short lived life enjoyment. However, there is the possibility the properly pressed leaves will survive for quite sometime. This is the moment where we say, ‘only time will tell’.

Photos of the buttons finished or pre-pressed. The penny is for size. These end up being 1 inch buttons.

I hope that this project will bring happiness to anyone who buys a button or other final finishing choices I am exploring (pressed in glass making it wall art or made into a pendant). I also hope it brings awareness to the many amazing species of birds that continue to thrive or struggle to live on this planet. I believe our coexistence holds more importance than we are fully aware of.

Hippo for Christmas

Thank you to those that came out to SF Bazaar and Cal Academy’s NightLife and shopped with all of us crafters and artists. We really appreciate the support!

Shop news, the closing down has begun. My shop Biology Class is going to close as of January 1, 2017. It is time for me to move on from making specimens in such a focused way. I am going to pair my art down to having one shop.

I am going to extend my holiday sale through December 15th still HOLIDAY2016, this works in both shops.

So come get goodies! Everyone wants a Hippopotamus for Christmas. My Hippo and Crocodile ornaments will be posted to my soon to be only shop Sunday at 10am.

ornamenthippos-caseygirard

Hippopotamus for Christmas

crocodiles-ornamentscaseygirard

Crocodile Bring the Ham

The Crocodile carries the Christmas Ham because, what else would a Crocodile politely bring to the holiday dinner?

I am also going to post at least two new prints of work I made this year. Red Riding Hood and Tadpole. Maybe Peacock?

tadpole-caseygirard redridinghoodcaseygirardpeacock-1caseygirard

Specimens for SF Bazaar at Maker Faire

Totally excited that I got into SF Bazaar at Maker Faire! Go here for details. It has meant that I am in deep production of many specimens. Here are some works in progress and I prepare them for full preservation. Taking pictures before the caps go on is nice because you get a little more light on their heads.

I’m working on making many small and mini specimens for the show. Here is the first batch. They are all of the amphibian and reptile creature variety.

smallspecimens

I am introducing Hippopotamus Specimens to my repertoire. Here are two angles of one of the Hippos.

hippo-specimen-2  hippo-specimen-1
diplodaucus-specimen

closeup-longspecimens

I am playing with longer specimens within my regular jars. This is a long Diplodocus wrapped a bit around itself to fit into its jar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally for this post of new, the new long vials. They will have amphibians, reptiles, and sharks.

long specimens

These are the new categories I have gotten to thus far. I have some other ideas I’m hoping to flesh out by May 20th. Now that this update is made, I’m going to get to it!

Shared Sketchbook

I am always so grateful for my friends. They keep me positive amidst all the strange happenings that go on in our world.

Recently I was so pumped to be contacted by my friend eHawk. We have both been swamped in daily projects and both are looking to focus our time towards our long term goals. In an effort to create routine and collaborate, we are jointly filling a sketchbook.

eHawk started the book with this page. Our plan is to fill the sketchbook each riffing off the other for inspiration of each new spread.

From her work, I made this my first page. CaseyGirardpage001

10 points for anyone that can identify the birds. This is based on a Southern White Rhino. Bring awareness and keep Rhinos in our world!

We aren’t setting deadlines for this project. You will just have to keep an eye out. I have mailed the sketchbook back so, look for an update from her on what comes next!

Peek-a-boo

I have been drawing. My friends at Fanartica got me to commit to drawing a piece for Dungeons & Dragons. I was thinking I would draw a monster from the game and I did but, it wasn’t what I had expected to be inspired to do. This came to me by asking my husband for suggestions since, he is a bit more familiar with D&D than I am. He suggested I draw a Beholder. He explained it was a giant eyeball wrapped in skin covered with lots of eyeballs on tentacles. It’s extremely powerful and magical and kills you with its gaze.

I sat with that and then of course decided it should be playing peek-a-boo with a baby because, why not? I knew to do this it had to look as sweet as possible. As if it could easily be in a baby book. Given that is my way of drawing it all seemed to come together perfectly.

Behold, the Babysitter Beholder and baby.

Babysitter Beholder-Peekaboo-Girard

Doesn’t it kind of look like a grandma with curlers in her hair?

Us Fanarticans did this group of fan art for a show at fan*alley in LA.

The opening will be Saturday, June 13, 18:00-22:00. Hope you can make it!

Holiday Season 2013

Oh man the holidays are always so busy. No matter how early I get started once December hits I feel like I’m scrambling. People laugh at me or look at me like I’m crazy that I start my shopping in October. However, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be able get through the rest of my plans for December, making gifts and holiday sales.

Updates! All my items in my Etsy shop are 25% if you use the offer code HOORAY2013

Now in my Etsy shop is a made to order Personalized Name Print

nameprint-CaseyGirard

This weekend, on Sunday, I am participating in the Peninsula School Craft Fair.
flyer_SF_OL more small

Come visit, support the school, and get great hand crafter gifts for the Holidays.

Happy Holidays!

Be on the look out for photos of this year’s ornament for my cousins. I will probably post them to my instagram.

Bellano Coffee shop Show

Welcome to Bellano! This is the local coffee shop that my family and I frequent. We love their coffee, all the people who work there, and the friendly atmosphere. They were kind enough to host my art work this month. If you are in the area I highly recommend you stop by and get a yummy coffee.

We plan to host the opening reception next Wednesday at 3pm. Come down for chocolate milk and cookies or coffee for the grown ups.
Bellano Coffee
3985 Stevens Creek Blvd
Santa Clara, CA

AnimalsInAlphabet-CaseyG

ezld-CaseyGirardAnimalsinalphabet

Geko-CaseyGirard

L-DCaseyGirard-AnimalsinAlphabet

SaxDino-CaseyGirard

underthetree-CaseyGirard