kaloakulua's nest site photo by Hob Osterlund

Kaloakulua Prints: Follow-up

posted in: Birds | 0

I fell in love with Kaloakulua the Laysan Albatross. After she fledged I made a little piece of artwork celebrating her time at the nest. I sold prints of that artwork (and one original, Albatross Pair II). Today I gave the Cornell Lab of Ornithology all the profits from those sale: a donation of $940. This is amazing to me.

I’m not surprised that other people love KK too. She is the most loveable bird I’ve ever seen, and I never even met her in person. What is amazing to me is that so many people were excited about the artwork that I had to reorder prints from the printer three times (so far). I had no idea what kind of response I’d get when I made the prints available and I have been blown away. I love what the Cornell Bird Cam program does and it’s hugely exciting that other people connected with both the birds and my artwork and gave me this chance to support the cams.

If you love watching the bird cams and are able to donate, please do. It’s very expensive to stream HD video 24/7 and the program relies heavily on donations to keep the cams running.

Thank you to everyone who purchased a KK print and to everyone who wrote to share their delight in KK and her family. It’s been pure joy to share this adventure!


(Above: at the empty nest site with my husband, photo by Hob Osterlund.)

  • The Na Pali coast
  • An endangered monk seal resting at Poipu beach
  • A gecko outside the NTBG Research Center
  • Strutting rooster at the Kalalau Lookout
  • Near the Mahaulepu Trail

A Week on Kauaʻi

posted in: Photography | 0

I’m back from a week on beautiful Kauaʻi. While I was there I made it almost all the way around the island, visited the National Tropical Botanical Gardens near Poipu (including a fabulous art exhibit) and met members of the Kauaʻi Albatross Network (among many other things). Two thousand photos later I’m having a hard time deciding what to focus on. It was an incredible trip and I can hardly wait to go back!

Thank you to everyone who reached out and made this visit particularly special! Jane Goldsmith gave my husband and I an excellent tour of the gardens and Hob Osterlund and the other members of KAN gave us the chance to visit Kaloakulua’s actual nest site (in addition to giving us a peaceful afternoon experimenting with drool-worthy cheesecake, stand-up paddle-boards and a yard full of chickens).

I hope you’re ready for a wave of Hawaii-themed art!

artistic genus artwork at the flying apron bakery and cafe photo by elizabeth smith of rowntreestudio.com

Artistic Genus at the Flying Apron in Fremont

posted in: Exhibits | 0

I and other members of Artistic Genus will have artwork on display at the Flying Apron Bakery and Cafe in Fremont from September 1 through October 15, 2014.

The Flying Apron is a certified gluten-free facility with a big wall for artwork. I’m excited to be there! Although the bakery isn’t officially on the Fremont Art Walk list, it’s open until 8pm on Friday night. (The Fremont Art Walk is a regular first Friday event.)

The Flying Apron Bakery and Cafe
3510 Fremont Ave N
Seattle, WA  98103

Open 7am to 7 or 8pm.

  • scratchboard rooster by rowntreestudio.com

Scratchboard Rooster

posted in: Birds, WIP | 0

I’m having fun with inks and clayboard! Yesterday’s project was this rooster with a serious expression and an amazing hairdo.

This piece and others will be available for sale soon, possibly first becoming available at the upcoming Woodinville Craft Fair.

Scratchboard Demo: Northern Saw-whet Owl

posted in: Birds, WIP | 0

After all the work I’ve been doing on the albatross and wheat artwork I felt a need to do something loose and relatively carefree. I turned to clayboard and a few colorful inks.

Above is a video of some of the work I’ve done on this little saw-whet project. I’m working on a 4″ x 4″ piece of Ampersand brand Claybord and working with Ampersand Scratchbord Inks. They dry quickly and really stick to the board’s clay surface. I’m working back and forth between inking and scratching, adding ink, scratching back, adding more ink, and so on. It’s a fun way to work, and it isn’t limited to inks for color. People use this same approach with colored pencils and watercolors (and probably whatever else they can come up with).

scratchboard, ink, saw-whet owl, rowntreestudio.com

The tool I’m using for scratching is a number 16 X-acto knife blade. The edge of the blade can be used for shallow, wide scratches while the tip works for fine lines. By rotating your grip on the knife you adjust the scratch shape. The brush I’m using here is a small, inexpensive synthetic round brush. I’ve got water in a container too for washing the brush and for diluting the ink. My palette is just a plastic lid. The inks dry quickly so I don’t put more on the palette than I need for more than a couple minutes of work.

The other tool I’m using here is my camera. I haven’t done much with the video capabilities before so I’m experimenting with both that and Photoshop CS6 video editing tools. What do you think? Are you interested in seeing more work in progress?


Albatross Art

posted in: Birds, WIP | 0

Update 7/15:

I underestimated the demand for KK prints. The first run ran out in just two days! Don’t worry if you haven’t gotten one yet. I’ve ordered more from the printer and hope to have the listing up on Etsy again later today. This is not a limited edition print, so everyone who wants to purchase a copy will get one eventually, even if I have to go back to the printer over and over again. I’m delighted that there’s so much interest and it’s certainly great for the Cornell Lab!

Update 7/11:

Prints of Kaloakulua and her parent are now available through my Etsy shop. This link will take you there: KK on Etsy.


webs up by Elizabeth Smith
Very rough draft

As mentioned in a previous post, I couldn’t get enough of Kaloakulua and the other birds of Cornell’s 2014 Laysan Albatross Birdcam, and I’m celebrating the end of the breeding season with art. One piece is finished and I have a few more in mind. I’ll post updates here as additional pieces and prints become available.

Welcome and thank you to everyone who watched KK along with me!

(Pictured above is a very, very rough draft!)


Many thanks to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Kauai Albatross Network.

Albies by Elizabeth Smith of rowntreestudio.com

The Laysan Albatross Birdcam

posted in: Birds | 0

This has been an amazing year so far with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s live streaming birdcams. I was sucked into these cams two years ago when Cornell started streaming HD video of red-tailed hawks, great blue herons, ospreys and other birds, and two years later I’m just as hooked. I could go on and on about the birds and the cam program but I’m going to spare you that. Watch them and there’s a good chance you’ll be sucked in too!

This year Cornell teamed up with the Kaua’i Albatross Network and installed a cam on private property on the north shore of Kaua’i, streaming the amazing lives of a family of Laysan albatross. This year we watched Kaloakulua grow up, raised by her parents Kuluahine (Mom) and Kuluakane (Dad). She was born in late January and fledged on June 24th. Over those months we saw her explore her nest under trees and bushes on the edge of a lawn, then gradually increase her range until we sometimes needed people on the ground to go figure out where she was hiding out of cam view.

It was my great privilege to volunteer as a camera operator. I came into it late, but I joined an amazing group of people just as obsessed with the albatross as I am. I hope that next year we have another wonderful chick to follow!

The cam is off now for the season but should be back up in the winter.  If you’d like to see many, many screenshots and videos from KK’s months as a chick, check out my Twitter feed and the cam’s official Twitter feed. You can also check up on another chick (Mango) still in the area and find out about albatross news through the cam’s website.

I’m celebrating the Laysan Albatross Cam’s first season with artwork. So far I have one completed piece and I hope there will be more. The piece pictured above shows a very young KK with one of her parents. It’s meant to capture the sweet bond these birds share. The piece is small, only five by seven inches, and done in watercolor and colored pencil on paper. I’ll be making prints of this piece available for purchase with all profits going to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Cam program. Stay tuned – I’ll let you know when the prints are ready to go.

Work In Progress: Wheat Two

posted in: Plants, WIP | 0
wheat painting in progress by elizabeth r smith of rowntreestudio.com
Wheat painting in progress

I continue to work on the wheat watercolor painting. You can see that I’ve gotten more work done to the bottom of the painting than the top. That’s probably because it’s about 30 inches high and I keep going back to the part that’s easier to reach! I’m gradually working my way up and deepening the color.

Thanks for looking!

AG at Isenhower by Elizabeth Smith of rowntreestudio.com

June and July Exhibits and Events

posted in: Events, Exhibits | 0

June is almost here and with it comes three new exhibits! Artistic Genus is showing framed at Cafe Louvre in Edmonds and the Isenhower Cellars tasting room in Woodinville and I’m showing the original Golden Grapes painting at the Best of Gage show. I’m personally unable to attend the Best of Gage reception this year, but I highly recommend going if you can. It’s an amazing event. Here are all the show and event details:

Coffee and Art with Artistic Genus

Artwork on display through June 2014.
Reception Thursday, June 19th, 5-7 pm
Cafe Louvre
210 5th Ave S Suite 101
Edmonds, WA 98020
Framed art, prints, and cards available for purchase.

Wine and Art with Artistic Genus

Artwork on display June-July 2014
Saturday June 21st, 2-4 pm and Saturday July 12th, 2-4 pm
Isenhower Cellars
15007 Woodinville-Redmond Road
Woodinville, WA 98072
Three free tastings and 15% off all wine purchases during the receptions!
Framed art, prints and cards available for purchase.

The 2014 Best of Gage

June 13 through July 25th 2014
Reception June 13th, 6-10 pm
Gage Academy of Art
1501 10th Ave. East, #101
Seattle, WA 98102