Monday, 12 May 2008

Artwork Mondays: Untimely Rabbit

For this Artwork Monday, I thought I would start off in a different direction on an idea I've had on the back burner for a while. (Back burner? Who says that? Perhaps a more modern saying should be coined. Like, "I've had this marinating for a while," or, "I've had this painting waiting to be rolled in seaweed for a while." Ahem.)

I like to paint some of my Mythical Flying Trilobite Fossils on pieces of shale, as seen in my Page 3.14 SEED interview last year (shameless self-aggrandizement!). This painting will be a little different, and I hope lots of fun for the viewer, especially those who see it in person. (Sorry bloggy folks!)

When I was reading the excellent, brilliant, those-who-find-flaws-or-use-the-word-militant-obviously-didn't-read-it, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, for the first time, I was struck by a quote of the late biologist John Burdon Sanderson Haldane. When confronted by a creationist, asking what it would take to falsify Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, Haldane replied, "Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian".

Okay, this photo might be a little hard to make out, but here's a sketch of a hare's skeleton on nine pieces of paper. I may put in an "imprint" to suggest long ears on the final paper. You see, I have these 9 beautiful shale drink coasters from Pier 1 Imports that will make a terrific shale puzzle.

"What!?" you may gasp, "has that Glendon-trilo-mellow-yellow guy lost his rigorous, scientific outlook?" Or you may say, "who? oh the Darwin-staircase guy, yeah what?"

No, silly. The creationist-configuration will prove to be false.

It's a puzzle. And if I piece it together this way...
...you can see there are numerous green trilobites sketched in. The shale pieces will have two configurations, the "false-rabbit" and the 'true-trilobite". I may emphasize the point by putting in some simple math that only works correctly the one way. Or I could paint the rabbit bright pink, but that may upset some people, since it is a blessed colour.

This piece I will likely dive right in and begin painting. I've used a clear, acrylic-based gesso to prime the shale pieces, and I'll start with the rascally rabbit.

While you're waiting for me to pointen my brushes, check out Heather Ward's birdies, drop by the Daily Mammal, or see Bond's scintillating Tsintaosaurus.
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All original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow. The contents of this blog are under a Creative Commons Licence. See sidebar for details.
Book in the background of top photo is an excellent reference, Skeletons by Barbara Taylor, Firefly Books. The book in the bottom photo is the indispensable Fossils by C. Walker & D. Ward, Dorling Kindersly Books.

7 comments:

Traumador said...

I love puzzles!... Though with my small brain i can never solve them...

Rabits and Trilobites eh sounds like a weird video game ;p

The Flying Trilobite said...

Perhaps I`ll have to figure out how to animate the puzzle when it`s done, Traumador, just for you.

;-)

Rabbits & trilobites does sound like a weird videogame.

Heather M. Ward said...

Very unique idea, I like it. So, when you display it, will it be in the "correct" arrangement, or jumbled up?

The Flying Trilobite said...

Thanks, Heather!

My wife likes to rearrange the furniture in our place all the time. I suspect I'll probably flip the puzzle around a lot, and leave it different ways.

I'm not sure if I should find some sort of a tray or not to display it in. Hmm.

Peter Mc said...

Haldane seems to have good as one-lines. He did the beetles gag, too. Maybe we should be reading more. Have you read 'Wonderful Life' by Gould? He recounts one of the researchers poring over the Burgess Shale collections, opening a draw and thinking 'Oh fuck, another phylum!'

I hope I never get so bored with life that there mere discovery of a phylum (I found three last Thursday) makes me pottymouthed with ennui.

Peter Mc said...

Errata" ..seems to have been good at one liners...

The Flying Trilobite said...

That's a great story, Peter. I kind of wonder if the cussing-guy had a big grin on his face while he said it. Heh.

I've actually not made the time to read Gould. (Please stop throwing things). Another book-y adventure awaits, I guess.

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