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My cousin Lauren recently got married in Baltimore, home to her husband Chris' beloved Orioles. For their wedding gift, I decided to paint a pair of real Baltimore orioles.

(Fun fact: Did you know that Baltimore orioles get their name from the Baltimore family in England, whose crest features a similar color scheme?)

I started with sketches on tracing paper, working out the layout and deciding what kind of plant to have in the painting with them. I finally settled on flowering dogwood (the state flower of Virginia, where Lauren and Chris are from). Once that was done, it was time to transfer the drawing and start painting.


Squash bees—finished! 

Finally finished this painting of some little squash bees hiding in a pumpkin blossom. This illustration is one of a series of insect and host plants; to see the other paintings in the series so far, visit

I also plan to work on paintings of milkweed beetles, elderberry beetles and other insect-plant pairings. If you have suggestions, please send them along!


Squash bees in color

In between other projects, I've been working on this little painting of some squash bees inside a pumpkin blossom. The last time I posted on this page, I had a final sketch ready to transfer to watercolor paper. Once the drawing was transferred, I began adding color—first the background, then the bees. At this point the background is pretty well done, and I've started blocking in color for the bees. Check out my progress below!


Squash bees! 

For a while now, I've been working on a series of paintings focusing on insects and their host plants. Since I've got a pumpkin growing in my vegetable patch out back, I figured now would be the time to work on a painting of squash bees hanging out in a pumpkin flower.

Squash bees are darling little creatures in the genera Peponapis and Xenoglossa. Native to the Americas, they specialize in pollinating pumpkins, gourds, cucumbers and other members of the Cucurbita family, making them valuable agricultural assets. They are mostly solitary but it's not uncommon to see multiple bees in one blossom—often snoozing away in the midday heat.

I began with a drawing of this lovely flower, from a volunteer pumpkin in my backyard:

A pencil sketch on tracing paper followed.

Since these bees are so cute, though, I decided to zoom in on the flower so the bees could be seen more easily.

Now, to add some bees!

The next step for this will be to transfer the drawing to watercolor paper and add some background color... hopefully very soon!

If you are interested in learning more about squash bees, please visit


Cover art for The Plateau: Finished! 

With the larger animals painted, I began working on the remaining background elements for this illustration. The clouds were too saturated for my liking, so I toned them down with some pale creams and lavenders. I then added detail to the rocks in the background, and those in the foreground by the wolf, ferret and toad. Once those were in place, I began working on the desert yellowhead, the plant that appears in the front of the painting. Last but not least, I painted several honeybees in the foreground.


...and we're finally DONE!