Saturday, August 9, 2014


I find all the little details appealing. I like making every line. I don't mind it when the ink has a mind of it's own. I love it when the paint just does whatever it wants to, when it pools up and makes odd splotches and when it runs into other colors and they bleed into each other. It is just so wonderful to sit at my desk, with the dog using my foot as his pillow, listening to music, and just let the pictures happen. I just feel so happy, and I think that the happy goes into the pictures, and that makes me happy, too. I have been posting lots of in-progress pics on instagram, that has been pretty fun, too! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Mr. and Mrs. Weasel have pulled over to consult their map. There are oldies playing on the radio. Really old oldies, older than the 80's, even! 

Are the stars out tonight?
 I don't know if it's cloudy or bright 
I only have eyes for you...

Who knew that flamingos could sing?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Just Hatched!

I am thrilled to share that I will soon begin illustrating an adorable picture book entitled Chicken Lily! It will be published by Henry Holt in Spring of 2016. I am over the moon, of course! Many thanks to my brilliant agent, Teresa Kietlinski, and to all my friends and family for all of their support. Time to draw some chickens!  xoxo Nina

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


painting things and sketching things, remembering things and forgetting things, trying to keep up with end-of-the-school-year things, pulling weedy things and watching blooming things, going to things and cheering for things, wishing for things and hoping for things

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bird Watching

My husband and I recently attended a book event at the Bell Museum for The Sibley Guide of Birds, Second Edition. David Allen Sibley is a very humble and unassuming speaker. 
I ended up taking notes in my handy sketchbook because this lecture was super informative. David Sibley's father was an ornithologist, so he grew up birding. What impressed me the most is that David is a self-taught artist, he has worked hard over the years to perfect his skills. He spoke about how sketching guides your study, it is a great way to remember and learn as much as you can. The challenge in sketching is finding the few marks on paper that represent the bird in it's simplest form.  "Think of each sketch as practice." Through trial and error you figure out what is important and what is not. "You absolutely can't draw something that you don't understand." In the field, he sketches. In the studio he works from his sketches and photo references. Once his outline of the bird is correct, he layers on his paint and adds in the details (he uses gouache, btw!). His paintings show the impression of the bird that you would get in the field whilst looking through binoculars. The value of illustration is in simplicity, shape, and proportion; while a photograph is a record of time and everything in that experience. David Sibley has branched out (pun intended) into tree guides! Visit his website for all sorts of bird and tree goodness and be sure to pick up a copy of his new field guide!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring Break

We checked out a garter snake at our local library on Monday.
Had a fun time playing with cousins on Tuesday and went to the Minnesota Zoo on Wednesday. What a fabulous bullfrog. Don't you just love him! The herps on the Minnesota Trail are my faves. I also luv that there are three different otter species at the MN Zoo. All of the critters were out and about, which was super lucky. Except for the armadillo, which is asleep every single time I've ever been to the zoo.... O_o
On Thursday, we went to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to visit our friends Shawn McCann and Henri Matisse.  Shawn painted a fun Matisse photo booth and murals. He is amazing!
(This is Shawn)
We found an fabulous million dollar car,  
 located my favorite painting,
and ran into the one and only Kate diCamillo in the Matisse exhibit! 
She was super nice and chatted with my kids about dogs.

Friday brought a foot of fresh snow and more play time with cousins. I participated in Sketch Dailies for the first time and had fun sketching Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes. 
It was a very nice vacation and we are really looking forward to 
warmer temps next week! Aloha!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Doesn't it feel like Spring is right around the corner? I think so, too!