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Posts tagged: Plant Sciences Institute

An Unusual Job with USDA

Painting by Taina Litwak of a new species of tiny parasitic wasp in the genus Perischus.  Done in 2011 for Dr. Matt Buffington.  The painting starts with a pencil drawing done through the microscope of a dead pinned specimen.  Details for this painting were included which only are visible in scanning electron microphotographs, as the species is so very small.  The painting itself is done digitally in Adobe Photoshop.  The species was first collected in South America in 2010 and is involved with parasitizing a species complex of flies which lay eggs in cucurbit plants (melon, cucumber and squash family).

Painting by Taina Litwak of a new species of tiny parasitic wasp in the genus Perischus. Done in 2011 for Dr. Matt Buffington. The painting starts with a pencil drawing done through the microscope of a dead pinned specimen. Details for this painting were included which only are visible in scanning electron microphotographs, as the species is so very small. The painting itself is done digitally in Adobe Photoshop. The species was first collected in South America in 2010 and is involved with parasitizing a species complex of flies which lay eggs in cucurbit plants (melon, cucumber and squash family).

I am a scientific illustrator on staff with the Systematic Entomology Lab, in the Plant Sciences Institute, ARS, located in the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History. Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Secretary Vilsack, who was interested in several of my paintings of newly described species of insects that I entered in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2012 Employee Art Exhibit.  As I answered his questions, it occurred to me that people may not associate USDA with artistry or illustration and that my job as “Scientific Illustrator” may in fact seem unusual to many. Read more »