Personal Projects

Southern Ground Hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri)

Digital art, colored pencil tool, Krita

based on original photo by Vivek Sunder

"Possibly influenced by the southern ground hornbill ability to spot and hunt small creatures within tall grass, it has been associated with the ability to alter human perceptions. Though traditional rituals, the bird can be called on to improve or change a human's ability to alter reality, create illusions, and expand awareness. [...] Furthermore, it's believed by some that the southern ground hornbill can be used to alter the perceptions of oneself. Thus, it has lent itself to be used in rituals to provide authority for leaders in certain cultures. Other cultural uses or beliefs include ridding one of bad or evil spirits, taking revenge on others or instigating fights, empowering a person, and causing dreams to become reality.

-- Wikipedia

I have loved these big weird birds since I was at least eight years old, and still have the book I bought at the San Diego Zoo with glossy images of all the exotic animals. This friend was one.

Glance Up, Interrupted Meal

Digital art, colored pencil and ink tools, Krita

"“If we make eye contact, or engage in conversation, then we have to admit they exist and that we might have a basic human need to care. But it’s so much easier to simply close our eyes and shield our hearts to their existence.”

To see someone struggling is difficult — it makes us uncomfortable so we want to look away. Unless you’ve experienced homelessness, you can’t totally comprehend the fear and anxiety someone who lives on the street or in a shelter has experienced. The thought of even sympathizing with their situation can be intimidating.

But to look into the eyes of someone who may not know where their next meal is coming from, shows a level of compassion and empathy — and might be the most meaningful thing you can give a person who has almost no worldly possessions."

I was driving on the Southbound 110 Freeway from Los Angeles when I made eye contact with a man eating a candy bar on the side of the road. When our eyes met, it was electrical. I couldn't look away. Then the traffic broke, and the moment was lost -- but I saw him in my mind's eye until I got home and made this.

Color, texture, & blending study: Leather pants, sunset

Digital art, colored pencil and ink tools, Krita

Our observed activation patterns in the brain suggest that female body configuration represents a salient stimulus to men and that optimal female body configurations activate areas of men's brains that are associated with reward processing and appetitive behaviors. This activation may represent the proximate neural mechanism of attraction to females that express curvaceous body types and also further account for cross-cultural findings showing that optimal WHR (∼.7) as being consistently rated as attractive. [...] Interestingly, our findings did not demonstrate that BMI had a large effect on brain activation except in areas associated with simple visual evaluations of shape and size. This does not downplay the importance of BMI in evaluations of female attractiveness, but may suggest that BMI's role in these evaluations is less the product of evolved psychological mechanisms and more the part of culturally driven, or societal based norms and perceptions.

-- "Optimal Waist-to-Hip Ratios in Women Activate Neural Reward Centers in Men", PLOS ONE

I wanted to practice photorealistic color blending, so I drew a butt, and now everyone thinks it's a photo.

Tribute to "Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth, 1948

Colored pencil on 8.5“x11“ paper, ~35 minutes

Wyeth’s neighbor Anna Christina Olson inspired the composition, which is one of four paint­ings by Wyeth in which she appears. As a young girl, Olson developed a degenerative muscle condition—possibly polio—that left her unable to walk. She refused to use a wheelchair, preferring to crawl, as depicted here, using her arms to drag her lower body along. “The challenge to me,” Wyeth explained, “was to do justice to her extraordinary conquest of a life which most people would consider hopeless.”

-- Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 

I love this painting. Despite feeling hopeless, I persist.

Tribute to Malcom Browne's photo of Thích Quảng Đức's self-immolation, 11 June 1963

Colored pencil on 8.5“x11“ paper, ~40 minutes

Thích Quảng Đức was a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who died by suicide by self-immolation at a busy Saigon road intersection on 11 June 1963. Quảng Đức was protesting against the persecution of Buddhists by the US-backed South Vietnamese government of Ngô Đình Diệm, a staunch Roman Catholic. Photographs of his self-immolation circulated around the world, drawing attention to the policies of the Diệm government. John F. Kennedy said of one photograph, "No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one." Malcolm Browne won the World Press Photo of the Year for his photograph of the monk's death.


I have been obsessed with this image since age six or seven. The tranquility and resolve haunt me.

Tribute to "The Scream" 

by Edvard Munch, 1893

Colored pencil on 8.5"x11" paper, ~35 minutes

"At an oil painting Phil Resch halted, gazed intently. The painting showed a hairless, oppressed creature with a head like an inverted pear, its hands clapped in horror to its ears, its mouth open in a vast, soundless scream. Twisted ripples of the creature's torment, echoes of its cry, flooded out into the air surrounding it; the man or woman, whichever it was, had become contained by its own howl. It had covered its ears against its own sound. The creature stood on a bridge and no one else was present; the creature screamed in isolation. Cut off by — or despite — its outcry."

― "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", 

by Philip K. Dick

Feeling horrified at being treated so poorly, I exoressed my shock and outrage and fear by inserting myself into the painting that most closely matched the emotional palette I was experiencing.

Digital pencil (Fighter), Digital colored pencil (Rogue), Digital ink (Dragon)

“Man is defined as a human being and woman as a female – whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.”

For Beauvoir, women are always cast into the role of the Other. Who they are matters less than who they’re not: men. This is an enormous problem for the existentialist, for whom the purpose of life is to freely choose who they want to be.  

Everyone has to create themselves."

Although these started out as three separate pieces, in my head canon, she is summoned to rescue him from a botched theft, which turns out to be a dragon, who turns out to be the ghostwriter of her favorite volume of 300-year-old poetry about women's rights. They leave him to worry while they have tea.

The Fighter, The Rogue, and The Dragon

One Last Spell

Meditations on Transcendence

Weeping Buddha


I was feeling defeated

Not By Choice

Facing some real problems

You Do Not Have To Let Your Current Circumstance Define Your Worth

"It's just where you are today. And, that humanness is often a gateway to connection and helping others feel less ashamed of their own human pieces. And, there will be other messy, imperfect humans who see the fullness of who you are, and are willing to wade in the mud with you anyway - because there are flowers growing there. Because maybe they don't mind getting muddied to experience and witness that beauty and magic.

You aren't defined by how much you struggle, but by how you show up, in spite of it. By the fact that you keep showing up, even if it means clawing and crawling and crying your way through the day.

The fact that you continue to show up and try means something. The fact that you never stop trying to learn and grow and build new skills, even when it would be easy to withdraw and quit, means something. The fact that you're here, despite it all, means something. And that is worth honoring and holding close. I hope you don't forget."


Don't Be Afraid to Take Up Space, Stand Firm, & Refuse To Back Down From Your Principles

“You are allowed to take up space. 

Own who you are and what you want for yourself.

 Stop downplaying the things you care about, the hopes you have. 

Own your passions, your thoughts, your perceptions. 

Own your fire. 

Stop putting your worth in the hands of others; 

stop letting them decide your value. 

Own saying no, saying yes. 

Own your mood, your feelings. 

Own your plans, your path, your success.”

— Bianca Sparacino

IG: @rainbowsalt

Gamorrean Guard

White pencil on textured black paper

Luke: Nevertheless, I'm taking Captain Solo and his friends with me. You can either profit by this or be destroyed. It's your choice, but I warn you not to underestimate my powers.

Jabba the Hutt: [in Huttese] There will be no bargain, my young Jedi. I shall enjoy watching you die.

― Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi

Jabba's palace guard took me 45 minutes, using a 2"x3" photo from a 1983 book about the movie, all the way back im 1998, anticipating Episode 1.

FFVI: Terra

Pencil on paper, Digital coloring

    "It's not the net result of one's life that's important. It's the day to day concerns, the personal victories, and the celebration of life... and love! It's enough if people are able to experience the joy that each day can bring! 

― Terra, Final Fantasy VI

From one of the most impactful video games on my own personal history, one of my very first hybrid digital/traditional pieces from 2001.

Black Lace

 Chalk pastels on paper, 18"x24"

    "The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years."

Audrey Hepburn

Though there was a reference image that inspired the composition, this slowly became a self-referential portrait. Little did I know, many years later, that would make a whole lot more sense.

Interrupted Lunch

Colored pencils on black paper

    "People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can’t rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right."

The Crow (1994)

I think this was one of my first signature pieces using a primarily black and white palette with minimal color, inspired by The Crow and Schindler's List. This drawing would later become the basis for my first (and currently only)  tattoo.


Digital ink and paint, Krita

    "Wark... Kweh!"


Need to put a quote here .....after I get the next load of Gysahl Greens fed to my bird.

Barn Owl, Night Flight

Scratchboard and watercolor

    "The modern West generally associates owls with wisdom and vigilance. This link goes back at least as far as Ancient Greece, where Athens, noted for art and scholarship, and Athena, Athens' patron goddess and the goddess of wisdom, had the owl as a symbol. Marija Gimbutas traces veneration of the owl as a goddess, among other birds, to the culture of Old Europe, long pre-dating Indo-European cultures."


When I was fifteen, I was out hiking by moonlight until I found a tower in a field, and I climbed it. I lit candles, and began to read by the light of the full moon and candles. This bird circled me at arm's length -- three times -- then retreated to the trees to watch me for hours.

Slow down. 

Healing, growth, and transformation 

all take time.

See the time lapse of this drawing here.