Hello and welcome to my new blog! I would like to start with an introduction. In short, I am an artist and biologist, by training and by nature.
I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, first living in a house in the country, and then moving into a small town after my second brother was born. Those first years of my childhood, when we were out in the country, probably had the biggest impact on me.
I was a biologist early on. Every rock, log, or wooden board had to be overturned so I could see, and capture, what was under it. I caught earthworms, sowbugs, and slugs. After several instances of finding earthworms in the laundry water, my mother learned to check my pockets before putting my clothes in the machine.
As I got older, I became more sophisticated; I started using jars and buckets instead of my pockets. I stalked more advanced quarry...salamanders, toads, and frogs! Snakes! Birds!
Birds were my favorite animals. There was a big field behind my house, where killdeer, a kind of shorebird, nested. Sometimes I would hide in the grass and watch the adults go to their nests. I got good at finding killdeer nests. Despite my extreme curiosity concerning everything avian, I left the eggs alone.
Barn swallows caught my eye. They had bluish plumage, swallow tails, and flew really fast! I found them hugely appealing, so I stalked them. I wanted to touch one. I carefully devised a plan, and carried it out. I'm not going to go into too many details, other than that my scheme involved a butterfly net, but, in the end, I succeeded in catching an adult barn swallow. Don't worry, he was released unharmed.
I have many fond memories of the happy hours exploring the fields and woods behind my house.
I also have many happy memories of sketching and drawing. I had pencils and big boxes of crayons. Birds were my favorite thing to follow outside, but in my sketchbooks, I drew horses, cats, dogs, and dinosaurs. My family encouraged me, my art teachers, encouraged me, and regularly winning school art contests encouraged me.
Both of my interests, in nature, and in art, have been part of my entire life.
By the time I headed off to college, I decided that I was going to illustrate comic books. Not the most practical plan, now that I think of it. I enrolled in art classes with the goal of achieving a degree in Fine Art.
The college years are a time of growing and changing. After a while I found myself taking more and more environmental sciences and biology classes. I took photography classes and started to love making photos. The dream of being a comic book artist faded. As graduation loomed, I knew I had to find a job. I applied for biology jobs, and I was offered my first field job working as a nest searcher in West Virginia.
Biology work is what I've been doing ever since.
I have not given up on my artistic side. What could be better than combining two of the things I love most, nature and art? So that is what I am doing.
Flores Crow Studio is the name for my art studio. It's named after a bird, of course. The Flores Crow is a crow found on the island of Flores, in Indonesia. I feel great admiration for crows and ravens, they are so smart.
With my blog, I want to share my art, and share my stories about what inspired me to paint my subjects.
I invite you to sit back and enjoy.
Hello, I'm PJ. I'm a wildlife biologist and artist. I enjoy drawing and photographing the plants and animals I see when I'm in the field. I have lived in several states in the US, including CA, TX, and MI. I'm originally from Pennsylvania.