During the week of July 15 to 22, I was in Washington DC for the 2018 Conference of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators. It happened to be the 50th anniversary of the founding of the GNSI, and a record number of attendees made it extra special. This was my fourth time attending a GNSI conference, and as always it was an educational, inspirational, adventure-filled week, with new connections and reconnections made. I have two works in the juried exhibit, which is on view until October 15 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

During such a busy week, I’m not always great at remembering to take photos of significant events, but here are some:

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At the GNSI business lunch, this slide summarized the mission of the organization: “GNSI connects professionals who promote, educate, and celebrate the visual communication of science.”


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Kim Moss discusses science art, including one of her recent projects.


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Callan Bentley talks about visualization in the geosciences.


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My friend Carrie Carlson (left) and I pose at the entrance to the GNSI 2018 Exhibit venue, the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


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My artwork (left), in the gallery at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


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A day at the Museum: GNSI Conference attendees line up to enter the SNMNH before it is open to the public, so we can get a group photo in the rotunda.


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Kirk Johnson, Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, gives a plenary lecture to our group.


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We were able to tour the invertebrate collections at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.


Aside from the wonderful presentations and plenaries, most of which I forgot to photograph, I attended in a superb day-long workshop by Justine Lee Hirten on making digital illustrations look more like traditional media. I had also signed up for two field trips.

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I was one of a lucky few GNSI members to be part of a VIP tour of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, where we got an up-close view of how bills are printed, and what sorts of security measures are included in the designs of the bills (though nothing too specific of course!).


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Souvenirs from the Bureau of Printing and Engraving: ¬†Vendor samples, meant to promote their paper and printing techniques, along with security features. Aren’t they beautiful? I wish the artists were credited.


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One adventure was a field trip to Scientists Cliffs, MD to explore the Chesapeake Bay beach and look for fossils. Here I am, wearing a garbage bag and carrying a battered umbrella, trying to stay somewhat dry in the pouring rain while grabbing handfuls of sand from the shore to sift through in the hopes of spotting a shark tooth or other fossil. It certainly would have been easier without the rain and driving surf, but I had fun. Photo by Carrie Carlson.

On my own, brief visits to the National Portrait Gallery and to the botanical art exhibit at the US Botanical Gardens rounded out the very busy week.

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Dusk on the lovely campus of American University, our host for this conference.

I’m grateful for the Guelph Arts Council‘s Jane Graham Memorial Award¬†that helped fund my participation in this conference.



I really enjoyed reconnecting with you, Karen. It’s too bad we couldn’t go beach combing together; we’ll have to make it a point to do that someday!

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