Karen Talbot counts a microscope among the tools of her art.
In a town renowned for plein air painting, this Laguna Beach resident comes from a rarer breed of specialist who works outdoors.
Talbot is a scientific illustrator. For her work, she will roam the local hills — and even snorkel underwater off Laguna — in search of her artistic subjects: birds, wild flowers, fish and other species of fresh or saltwater marine life.
Talbot is one of the many artists exhibiting at the Sawdust Art Festival the summertime show underway at 935 Laguna Canyon Road. Stop by her booth, No. 338, and her illustrations of fish, birds and plants may remind the viewer of painted and drawn images of flora and fauna depicted in back issues of National Geographic magazine, biology class textbooks or with display cases in a natural history museum.
"It's sort meditative for me," Talbot, 40, said of her art, which can demand painstaking attention to detail.