what's kate up to?

 


April


🌞🌵 A Trip to Tucson 🌴🏜

Last month Seán and I spent a week exploring Tucson, Arizona & surrounding areas. We lucked out with great weather, delicious food and lots of exciting BIRDS (48 total species, 31 new-to-me)!

It was a lovely trip, and I was determined to try to chronicle it in an art travelogue from the beginning. It took longer than I expected (14+ days) but it was a fun project all in all, and really good practice for future trips!

See more spreads from the travelogue on the original Patreon post!  

 


March


Hey, Little Bird in the Bush..!

Happy March! It's my bird-day today. Here's a small song I wrote while on a walk in a park. It's about my wonderings about birds peeping, pecking and preening. If you like to read or sing along, here are the lyrics:

Listen to the rough-draft of this song on the original Patreon post!  

 


February


Doodle Dump Time!

I'm in the midst of taming the last year's-worth of various floor-piles: sketchbooks, loose papers, notepads full of ideas and other misc items that I thought were important enough to keep out just in case I felt like doing something with them (don't try this at home, it apparently doesn't work!).

While leafing through the masses, I thought to scan some of the random stream-of-consciousness doodles and share them with you, just for fun :)

I also found it interesting to re-visit my past doodle-dump posts: 2022 and 2020. Maybe you will too!

See more doodles on the original Patreon post.


⚘ 2023 ⚘

December


Return of the Humbug

This month I updated the Hummerneezer Xmas card from last year by making a full-colour digital version. Here's a peek at the printed detail:

I donated a bundle of the cards to Rocky Point Bird Observatory's holiday craft sale, and it's also up in my shop for those who want a jump on next year!

Onward, to 2024! Stay cozy and be good to yourselves!

See the full Humbug card spread on the original Patreon post.  

 


November


Star-struck in Japan

Seán and I had an action-packed, adventurous two weeks of exploring central Japan by train this month! It was very wholesome, filled with breathtaking visual scenes; sweet new friendships; great language & communication practice; cultural immersion; lovely music & soundscapes and delicious, healthy food.

There are too many stories to attempt to summarize here, but one highlight was witnessing a busy nectar-sipping bunch of my favourite insect that I wasn't sure I'd ever have the luck to see in person:

My fan art from 2020, and a photo I took of the real thing this month in Zushi, Kanagawa, Japan!

Three years ago I had digitally illustrated a comparison of the hummingbird hawk-moth, known in Japan as the ホウジャク (pronounced hōjaku) and our own rufous hummingbird, who share hovering abilities and both consume nectar from flowers. Needless to say I was star-struck when I happened upon half a dozen of these cuties feasting on some colourful lantanas! 🤩

Read the full story and see more pictures on the original Patreon post!


October


New Single: Robin's Sing-Along!

Hi folks! Last weekend I celebrated Migratory Bird Day by sharing this collaboration I did with a “turdus migratorius”, AKA American robin. I hope you’ll sink in and enjoy the sonic birdscape and piano tune:

Though there is emphasis on the American robin's song/calls, the song also features American crows, dark-eyed juncos and steller's jays. The birds were compensated with fresh bath water, peanuts and plenty of leaf litter to scrounge around in for insects and worms :)

Feel free to share the bandcamp link with anyone who you think may enjoy it. I've also added a merch item for the first time on bandcamp— a discounted giclée print of my fluffed robin painting, which comes with a free download of the robin song!

Yay birds, Kate

Read more on the original Patreon post!


September


New Mini-Album: Mixed Seeds!

I’ve finally released a small handful of original piano-and-voice songs! This EP is a small step towards getting some of the dozen-or-more new songs I’ve written over the last few years out to the public ear. Give a listen at your leisure, and if you feel so inclined, get yourself a digital copy!

If you’d like to read more about it, you can find my liner notes & credits below the track list on the Bandcamp page :)

Here's the fun cover art I cobbled together from a photo I took in the spring, with a few of my wee bird sculptures searching for seeds atop my toy piano:

Many thanks also to those who have already shared and/or purchased the EP❣️

All the best,

~Kate 𓅫

Read more on the original Patreon post!

   


August


Certificate Dance, Painted Pants, Music Prance

Hiya folks!

Before I forget to mention it: I was selected as the winner of the bird-friendly window art contest! I'm honoured and excited to see what the design looks like blown up to window-size :)
In other news, here are some recent projects I worked on this month:

The Certificate:

August started with an art commission right off the bat, with a quick turn-around of a few days; a local farm was having an event and wanted to present a hard-working friend with a certificate of appreciation. They wanted something classic and professional, but with a folky touch and a memorable illustrated scene showing the recipient tilling the land, followed by the planting and growing of vegetables. Here's a peek at the result:

cert

The Pants:

This project was just a personal whim, fuelled by needing summer pants but only owning a pair of drab light-grey pants from MEC that don't match with anything. I thought that they could use a paint job to at least make them more interesting. Then I got a bit carried away and what started as a simple idea grew into a more complex reality...

pants

The Music:

I'm excited to announce that I'll be releasing a handful of my piano & voice songs on Bandcamp very soon! I'm aiming for this upcoming Bandcamp Friday, September 1st. They're all songs you've heard before here on my Patreon, but they've been edited, boosted & balanced this month, making them sound ✨shiny and new!✨

Update: ✨Here's the EP!!✨

Read more and see process pics on the original Patreon post!


July


Bird-Friendly Window Art Challenge

Hey folks! Hope you're keeping well & hydrated this summer ~ ☀️🍦🍉

I spent a few days this month working on a fun art contest project prompted by Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary. They put a call out for any creative bird-loving people to submit art to be put on the outside of their window to prevent bird collisions. One person will be chosen next month and receive a “bird-friendly nature kit”—of course I had to apply!

My art submission (with transparent background)

One challenge in designing this specific type of window art is that, in order to be effective, there can't be any spaces more than 2 inches apart—birds are able to fly through some amazingly small spots!

Here's a tiled version I made to cover more area, with a dark background so you can see all of the space-filler doodles & dots:

You'll see that I recycled almost all of the creatures from last month's art into this piece to save time, and added some mushrooms and a red-flowering currant to fill out the remaining panels. I also played around some more with my new-favourite mirroring tool to make the symmetrical frames and blue doodlies. It was fun!

Read more and see the initial sketches on the original Patreon post!


June


Homage to an Ecovert

Hi folks, hope you're fairing well!

For Seán's birthday last month I wanted to make some sentimental thing to acknowledge the countless hours of hard work, observation and research he puts into caring for the plants, animals, birds, gastropods, insects, reptiles and others on the Hill where we live.

Since the flora and fauna benefit from his care, I figured they would extend their thanks in words if they could. Instead they thank us by sharing their presence, producing or feeding on nectar, dazzling us with their colours, textures and scents, delighting us with their bird-bath antics, and allowing us to get awe-inspiring glimpses into their unique lives.

So, here's the homage I came up with!

Featured creatures: Anna's and rufous hummingbirds, bumble bee, swallowtail butterfly, woodland skippers, American robin, dark eyed junco, pacific banana slug, garter snake, worm, house spider, ants and a ladybug.

Featured flora/fungi: woolly sunflowers, harebells, Nootka rose, red-flowering currant, orange honeysuckle, garry oak leaves and unidentified mushrooms.

Read about the whole process and see initial sketches on the original Patreon post!


May


Kate’s Art Shop: Now Open!

Hello friends! Exciting news: I've launched an Art Shop !

It was created in collaboration with my ever-patient partner Seán, who did all of the thoughtful & artful coding, gave the whole site a beautiful aesthetic, taught me how to create PayPal buttons, and filled the role of art-director & researcher to help me make better decisions with my products, packaging, pricing, etcetera. I couldn't have done it without him!

In the shop, you’ll find a variety of prints, cards, sculptures and stickers for sale. Take a look around and feel free to share the site with anyone who you think might enjoy a gander at some ecological-themed art 🌱

Big thanks to my patrons on Patreon who helped me cover start-up costs with their support!

As this is version 1.0 of the shop, there may be some glitches that we haven’t caught— if you notice anything iffy with the way the site functions or have any questions, please let me know!

Read about the whole process and see origin sketches on the original Patreon post!


April


⚠️ Slugs Crossing..! ~ ~ ~

Hi folks! Hope you've been well & able to enjoy some of the lovely things springtime has to offer:

froglet n flowers Pacific tree frog with baby liquorice fern; spring wildflower blooms (shootingstar, spring gold, sea blush)

Today's highlight is about another creature who has also been making more appearances here recently: the Pacific Banana Slug!

slug crossing sign

It's been on my list to design a Slugs Crossing sign to bring more awareness to myself and others when walking through slug-zones. I finally got around to it the other day, shortly after we had adopted a long (8 inches?) hefty banana slug from a development site and named it Sluglet.

Read more, see process sketches and a picture of Sluglet on the original Patreon post!


March


🎵 MeadowMakers' Anthem 🌱

Hi friends, happy spring!! 🌱 🌼 🍀 🌦

Last year I took part in a really great native plant growing workshop series program called MeadowMakers, hosted by Satinflower Nurseries and Pollinator Partnership Canada. For this year's welcome event they invited any alumni to present something about their experience in some creative way to the current participants. I had been mulling it over here and there but had so much going on last month that I didn't have much time to spend on it... However, during a power outage one day I got a jolt of inspiration and managed to scrape together a little song, kind of anthem-like, which you can hear below:

I wasn't able to attend the event in person, so I recorded the song for them to play, and scanned & layered my hand-scrawled lyrics over a drawing that I did during one of the MeadowMakers webinars so that people in attendance could read along while they listened:

I was touched to hear that folks really enjoyed & appreciated the song, and even heard that some got a bit teary-eyed while listening. :) It warms my heart to know that a wee little song written & composed in 30 minutes can bring such good feels!

Hooray for turning lawns into meadows!

All the best,

Kate

Read more on the original Patreon post!


February


Hi folks! February was a very busy month working on a couple of creative commissioned projects for the “United for Old-Growth” rally in Victoria. The first project:

🐻 Bear & Owl 🦉 Masks 🎭

I designed a couple of animal masks, created templates for them, and lead two 3-hour workshops to make a total of 42 masks with a group of local volunteers. I usually volunteer with this group doing ecological restoration work in Metchosin, so it was fun to get our hands dirty in the crafting realm together. Here's a pic of the first two masks I made:

Grizzly Bear & Northern Spotted Owl mask designs

See pictures of the templates, process, and a goofy group photo on the original Patreon post!

And the second project:

Banner for the 🌲 United for Old-Growth Rally ✊

Seán and I were commissioned to design, paint and construct an 8 x 3 foot banner to show Metchosin's support in the United for Old-Growth rally (now apparently known as 'the rally where Neil Young made a surprise appearance and played a couple of songs, and also hugged David Suzuki”).

The banner was to be black & white, preferably in a lino-cut-esque style. The main challenge was designing something striking that included the desired elements-–a cedar tree, creek, animals that depend on old-growth, and mushrooms for good measure––into the odd dimension-constraints of “long & narrow” without it getting too busy and making sure it still looks good and readable from a distance. A definite challenge! Here's the result (before we put the side-poles in):

Spot all of the elements: Tree / Creek / Salmon / Spotted owl / Salamander / Marbled Murrelet / Mushrooms / Bear tracks & Caribou tracks.

Apparently the banner and the masks were a hit at the rally!

Read about the process, see sketches and watch a time-lapse video of the painting on the original Patreon post!

Enter your email to subscribe to updates.