Monday, 28 July 2008

Artwork Mondays: White Trilobite

*sigh*
Not every painting is close enough to perfect for the artist to feel happy about it. Sometimes I hesitate to post sketches, fretting I'm not putting my best foot forward. This oil painting is a sketch too, of sorts, although at the time I intended it to become a final illustration.

A few years ago, I had an idea for a story book, about a trilobite on a quest. It would have been a bit dream-like as far as narrative, mostly a thin thread tying together a series of images I had in mind. This was to be the first illustration, a trilobite illuminated by a powerful shaft of light from an angler fish or other bioluminescent denizen of the deep.

The image is missing an entry point for the viewer, either a fish or person watching the scene alongside our view, or a nearby plant. There is nothing floating in the murk in the distance, or any refuge points for the viewer to grasp on to. The composition needs a lot of work. And our hero needs eyes and maybe even some corrected anatomy.

It is possible I've grown enough as an artist I could paint the rest to my satisfaction, and even a few simple circular white flecks done hastily in Photoshop have piqued my interest again. I like the idea of a trilobite able to change its colour to match its environment like a squid or chameleaon, and it would have throughout the story.

So many ideas, so little time.
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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.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

new Flying Trilobite Fossil tattoo pic

Here's a new picture my wife took of my flying trilobite fossil tattoo, all healed up.

Please ignore that I'm being hurled backwards and wearing sunglasses indoors.

...That was a good day.

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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.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Artwork Mondays: Sketchy Sketches

A couple of pages from my sketchbook for this Artwork Monday.

I'll leave my commentary to a minimum this week, but please go nuts critiquing the rough work if you want. Just no one tell Carl Buell about the megatherium skull below. I'm worried he'll point and chuckle in a manly way.
The megatherium is a cast that was included in the Darwin: The Evolution Revolution show at the Royal Ontario Museum, finishing up August 4th. The contours of this skull were pretty unusual. I think the sketch has a decent sense of 3-dimensionality, but the anatomy may be a little off. Also pictured are chimp and quetzalcoatlus skulls. The R.O.M. has mounted a quetzalcoatlus skeleton that is awesome and terrifying. Makes me want to curl up with The World Beneath by James Gurney.

This is a sketch for a painting I may begin soon. I've got some nifty water-soluble pencil crayons that might suit this piece.

This seems like the perfect idea to doodle with while I'm away at the cottage in August.

I should have some news the first week of August as well. I'm busting with it. I'll also begin posting a little more regularly again this week beyond the Artwork Mondays.
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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.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Artwork Mondays: D.N.A.-Candle Vanitas III


I've blogged about my DNA-Candle Vanitas paintings before, but perhaps I should explain again.

Here is what I said in my first post about this series of images:
Vanitas painting is an old tradition, especially popular in the Northern Renaissance. Usually, it is a still life, depicting perhaps a skull, a broken watch, a candle just snuffed out with the smoke trailing in the air, a book half-read, a tipped over water glass....Pieter Claesz, trained by Franz Hals, is one of my favourite masters of this art style.

The image is one of mortality, with a kind of knock-you-over-the-head symbolism. The message intended is a kind of carpe diem, or "seize the day".

After reading about how telomeres may play a part in the aging process, and that their ends snip off when they replicate, I started coming up with the DNA Candle image. I remember reading something in the 90's that suggested if one could extend telomeres, one may be able to stave off death. The candle melting and the telomere shortening just seemed a natural image. I used DNA as a wick since it is more readily recognisable by most people.

So the ultimate message of the DNA Candle Vanitas is one of seize the day, life is beautiful but finite. The candles are lit and glowing, a loving image and the wax has melted together in union.
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This dramatically purple Vanitas was created for Nevin Douglas and Anya Vena for their wedding, two very artistically talented people, and very good friends of mine.

I've known Nevin for years, and he is an amazingly talented guitarist and songwriter. Nevin used to play in the band Debaser, and can now be heard playing around Toronto as part of the experimental rock outfit, Thee 9am Social. Check out their tracks on their MySpace page!

Anya has a powerful voice, and is the vocalist in the popular Toronto indie band, Personal Circus. Don't miss their shows, Anya's showmanship on stage is compelling and entertaining.

Both these bands have the speed and licks that make it easier for me to paint. If you are in the Toronto area, make sure to check their pages for future shows. I painted the Vanitas with a deep purple that to me, feels like it resonates with the power of Anya's voice, and the painting contains the dark speed of Nevin's guitar.
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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.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Artwork Mondays: Trilobite Souls Ascending

In keeping with last week's Symbolist-inspired Artwork Monday, (and due to an exciting and pressing illustration for someone I admire), here is another drawing from many moons ago, slightly post-university.

Trilobite Souls Ascending

Again like last week, a confused muddle.

The trilobites each have one glowing human eye and eyelid floating above their wee heads. The eye is rolled upward, half-under the eyelid in Symbolist-era shorthand for "gazing inward". Being in a half-awake, half-alive state was big for Symbolists, though I'm sure the opium and absinthe had nothing to do with it, it was simply dismay at industrialisation and a sense of macabre romance.
Sadly, these are not very scientifically accurate. Please Marek, don't throw any pointy odontopleurida at me. They prickle. I was young and naive when I drew this. Everyone please feel free to have a look at some other trilobites I've worked on by clicking on this handy link rrrrright---> here.

Next week: something a little more current. (Oh...oh...current! Like the water in this drawing? Like trilobites are old? KnowwhutImean? 'Ey? )

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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.
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