Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Final Project update #4

[Updates 1, 2 and 3]

Okay. I've worked through the Ugly Phase. Thanks to bloggers
Melliferax, Tracey, Stephanie, Betül, Geoff and Traumador for support and encouragement, mainly via Facebook. (Are you a Flying Trilobite fan on Facebook? Clickity click here.) Many others have given me valuable feedback at other stages too. Thanks everyone! And thanks to my wife Michelle for watching me freak out over the construction more than a couple of times.

This is the last project of my undergrad, and I think here at the 11th hour, I've solved the
construction issues. I'll blog the final project after I take it to class and get sleep.

Here's what the centerpiece of the project looked like after completion:
The colour is correct above. It's easier to take a good picture of oils on an angle.

Here's what it looked like after I hit it with a hammer:

Long way to go yet.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.



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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The Ugly Phase of my final project

Tomorrow it shall be glorious.
I'm pretty far into my final project, which you can see portions of here and here.  

I've blogged before about how most of my paintings go through an Ugly Phase before they're done (and every frickin' time I'm surprised).  Right now, this one is so ugly I'm going to walk away for a bit. 

I'm calmer now.  Earlier, I kinda freaked out via Twitter

Here it is in its ugliness: 



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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Art Monday: Pupating

A couple of weeks ago, I announced I was ending Art Mondays here on The Flying Trilobite after close to two years. Ending Art Mondays reduced some of my self-made pressure. But I really liked Art Monday.

So:
Welcome to the beginning of the remixed Art Mondays! (Now with more cowbell).

Instead of artist's notes, ample sketches and attempting to generate something brand-spanking new every week, I'd like to re-launch Art Mondays with a focus on just the art, mainly from my back-catalogue. The Flying Trilobite recently
celebrated 3 years of blogging, and in the last year my audience has expanded considerably. By reaching into my portfolio for pieces that have already been showcased, I may be bringing back old favourites and reviled disasters for new commentary and critique. On my part, I'll try to just present the art and links where it might've been seen before, allowing for fresh commentary.

I'll continue posting my process, sketches and thoughts in other posts.

Today's Art Monday selection:




Pupating
Oil on canvas paper, 1996 or so.
Appeared on The Flying Trilobite here.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.


Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Last project underway

My last project for my undergraduate degree is underway.  Here's a snapshot to give you a glimpse at what I'm doing with all these slate pieces.
Danger! Wet oily trilobite!


Carrying wet oil paintings home on public transit (bus-->subway-->streetcar) from York U is always delightful, *cough* but someone stopped me to ask why I was carrying a trilobite fossil around.  That brightened my day.


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Fine Art Open House at York U

Last week, we had the Visual Art Open House at York U.  I had a couple of pieces there. 

I took some pictures of other fascinating paintings and sculptures, but didn't know who (or sometimes where) the actual artists were to put them on here with their permissions; everyone was having a good time socializing and showing guests around.  Michelle and our nephew came with me.  Here's a few pics

My Invasive Species project. 

Friday, 26 March 2010

Are you a science-artist on Twitter?

Are you a science-based artist, illustrator or visual creator on Twitter?  Let me know!  I'm compiling a science-artist Twitter list. 

You can find it here: @flyingtrilobite/science-artists

Either comment below or let me know via direct message on Twitter! 

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Blog tweaking

I've been invited to play with Blogger's new Blogs in Draft template features, so expect that I'll be messing around a bit for the next couple of days.

As you were, Private.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.


Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Featured on CultureLab

CultureLab: Where books, arts and science collide, one of the blogs by New Scientist magazine has a feature about some guy who paint trilobites incorrectly - get this - with wings.

After my panel talk at the Centre for Inquiry a few weeks ago, science writer Dan Falk and I found a hallway and I answered some questions.

The article is titled: Trilobites: Glendon Mellow's Muse.

Thanks Dan!



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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.


Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

In honour of Ada Lovelace and the importance of women in science, here are two scientist portrait-sketches I posted last autumn. Eugenie Scott


Jane Goodall

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!



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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery
*** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

New canvas

Recently I picked up some slate for the last art project of my undergrad.


This is called "California Gold". I have coated it with clear acrylic gesso. After putting it in a cloth bag and dropping it on the sidewalk and chipping at it with a hammer.

I love art-making.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Being an atheist insomniac

Next week on Facebook, the "A" Week begins, asking atheists and freethinkers to display the scarlet "A" on their profiles. There are a lot of people who don't believe in the supernatural out there, and still many who feel somewhat alone in their community.

There are a lot of positives on abandoning superstition and religion in life - how you regard each day as a treasure can be one - but there are also downsides. I want to discus
s one aspect of being an atheist that has caused me sleepless nights and how that turned around. With the help of Star Wars.

Recognizing that there is no evidence for an afterlife (and that mainstream religions' claims are flimsy appeals to a sense of comfort) is not comforting.
Recognizing, as Richard Dawkins eloquently wrote,
"After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn't it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked -- as I am surprisingly often -- why I bother to get up in the mornings. To put it the other way round, isn't it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be a part of it?"
This is wonderful, and most days I do feel it. However, many nights I can't escape an existential angst so primal I cannot sleep. I feel silly; I feel like I'm failing; yet I cannot shake the feeling I am one day going to die, and sometimes later no one will ever remember me - there may be no one to remember me. I know I have an ego that drives me to be remembered.

I'm an artist, I seek to create things which will be exalted or at least pique interest beyond my numbered days. The street-artist Banksy once said, "
The holy grail is to spend less time making the picture than it takes people to look at it." I don't delude myself into thinking people when spend 20+ hours pouring over trilobites with fanciful wings, but I hope more hours will aggregate looking over those paintings over many years than it took to create them.

Simply: many nights I cannot sleep. I feel anxiety over dying. Over things not finished. Over beauty in the world I've heard of and never seen. Of leaving my wife and family behind. I lay awake, freaked out that one day I won't be here. Sometimes I have to get out of bed and pace a little, or play video games to distract myself.

Having moderate persistent asthma doesn't help. Wheezing, tight-chested, thinking about mortality. It's where this painting comes from
.

Asthma Incubus:

Once, I was informed by a (well-meaning, I'm sure) atheist Buddhist transhumanist that my fear of dying was not a very mature response that I would have to come to terms with. It surprised me people could come to terms with it: how to do it so you aren't just ignoring it?

A couple of years ago, when the sleep-loss was becoming a particularly acute pro
blem, I read my way through book after book, hoping for some sort of atheism-based mental anaesthetic to help me sleep. Didn't find it.

Until I re-read one of my favourite Star Wars series. Star Wars came out when I was 3 years old. My lifelong artistic fascination with creating living things that don't exist is hugely influenced by Star Wars and the artists like Ralph McQuarrie (and so many more!) who breathed life into ideas.

I was re-reading the X-Wing series by Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston (cover art by the awesome Paul Youll.) The series doesn't focus too much on Jedi and the Force, instead it focuses on the pilots that won the war, and are continuing to fight while dealing with attrition in their unit.

I got to Aaron Allston's first book in the series, Wraith Squadron, one sleepless night. I came to a part where the unit's commander, Wedge Antilles was in the uncomfortable position of writing a letter to a deceased pilot's family about her death.

I read this (p 242):
"I no longer believe that the momentum of a life headed in a worthwhile direction ends when that life does...(the pilot) shot down five enemies, all of whom served evil men. Had she not done so, their actions would have led to further evil, but her actions take their place instead, broadening like a firebreak into the future theirs would have occupied...I will never know how much good surrounding me is a legacy of Jesmin's life. Her future will be invisible to me. But invisible is not the same as nonexistent. I will know that her deeds and accomplishments still move among us, phantoms..."

I feel asleep, pondering this immortality.

I still turn to this passage on occasion when the silly, primitive part of my mind looks at the dark of night and sleep and feels fear. I know some of the comfort comes from it being part of a childhood fable I remember fondly.

But that idea, that whatever actions I take may ripple outward into the future, hopefully for the better gives me comfort enough to sleep. As Dawkins pointed out, I have existed, and I'm lucky to rise from the bed, to do good work and enjoy the universe. Allston's writing points out to me that my existence can never be removed the history of the universe.

*zzzz-zzzzz*


- - - - - - - -
Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery
*** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Star Wars: X-Wing: Wraith Squadron, by Aaron Allston is published by
Bantam Books and may be purchased here.
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins is published by Bantam books
and may be purchased here.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Southern Ontario Nature and Science Illustrators

It's been a happily busy month!

I attended the second meeting of the Southern Ontario Nature and Science Illustrators (SONSI), held at the
Wings of Paradise Butterfly Conservatory in Cambridge, Ontario earlier this month. I'm not linking to the SONSI website yet, because we haven't made one. I'm helping artist Jennifer Osborn create it.

After being greeted at the door by scientific illustrator-and-later-voted-SONSI-president Emily Damstra, my wife Michelle, our nephew and I had free rein to roam through the conservatory - before it was open to the public.

Michelle visiting a resident.

Our nephew and I sketching.

Later, while Michelle and the neph took amazing photos of birds, turtles, plants and more, I settled into a presentation by entomologists Dave Cheung and Morgan Jackson. They showed us various ways to take excellent photos of insects, techniques to aid in getting bett
er depth of field and lighting. Very useful for painting, and Dave's digital paintings were pretty awesome. You can see his work at DKB Digital Designs. Morgan's photos and blog are here, if you love insects, you can't miss this. Dave is also our VP.

Afterward, the SONSI group got together, we voted on a slight name change, voted for members, and discussed our goals. I'll be sure to post a link here to the website once it gets going.


And let me say - what a treat! Getting to meet so many talented and passionate people in such a venue was terrific. Thanks to Emily for setting up what promises to be a great group.


And hey, if you live in the Kitchener-to-Toronto corridor of southern Ontario and wish to join, just send an email!


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.
Except these photos were mostly not by me, but by my family.


Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Art & Science at the Centre for Inquiry

Recently, Pam Walls of the Centre for Inquiry Ontario invited me to join in a group art show with the theme of art & science. I put three pieces in the show, and attempted to sell three others. Admittedly. turnout was slim, and most of the other artists were not there. This could have been because the gallery show was part of a larger conference with a big attending fee, and it wasn't clear anyone could attend the free gallery show - I couldn't figure it out from the website, and asked someone the day-of. Not to grumble overmuch - the people in attendance were interesting and we had a nice evening.

Michelle joined me, and we had a great time, met some interesting people including artist Karyn Wong and her boyfriend Jacob. Karyn's work is pretty fantastic stuff (digital fairies!) so make sure to check it out.

I was also invited to take part in a panel discussion on art and science. This was a packed room, and the participants asked excellent questions of the presenters. Each of us on the panel had about 20 minutes, and I briefly touched on questions like;
How does art give back to science?

Has art been the stimulus of research?
How can anthropomorphizing areas of research help - as in thinking about organelles or particles?

Mostly a few questions from the ScienceOnline09 and ScienceOnline2010, while using a few of my paintings as a springboard to get the audience involved. I managed to generate a few laughs, so I think it went well.

The other two presenters on our panel were pretty amazing. I wish it could have gone longer. Here's the blurb from the CFI site:

11:00 am - 12:30 pm - Panel 2: Science and Art
Can art be turned into a science? Can science be turned into an art? How do science and art influence each other? Plus, we'll explore the intersection of art and design with science and technology.
* Paula Gardner, The Portage Project: Material meets Digital in Mobile Experience
* Roshelle Filart, Selling Science to the Public
* CFI Conference Art Exhibitors, featuring Glendon Mellow, "Art in Awe of Science"


Thanks to Pam Walls and Justin Trottier for a great day!


- - - - - - - -
Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Monday, 15 March 2010

Flying Trilobite Business Model

I'm looking for advice.

Since beginning The Flying Trilobite 3 years ago, it has been many things to me. A way to reach other people, primarily bloggers, with similar interests. A continuous art studio critique of my work (thanks for over 1700 comments everyone!). A place for my opinions to find safe haven. Until I launched glendonmellow.com last December, it was also my primary place to promote my artwork, in conjunction with my deviantArt gallery and my reproduction shop by RedBubble.

Current business model
If I have had a business model so far as an artist, it has been comprised of two streams:
1) make art --> blog art --> comments --> take new commissions.
2) make art
--> blog art --> put in reproduction shop --> sell.

As a business model, it's not unlike what bands like Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead have done: put some stuff out there for free, and hope payment comes in through other means.

I've had the immense pleasure of taking commissions, collaborations which have resulted in some of my best work. A number of my images have been published in dead-tree format, 7 times last year, and I only sought out one of those, the rest found me. Ditto with the reproduction of Darwin in the museum.

Now the end of school approaches, I've been discussing with my wife Michelle and some friends about how to do even more freelance work. Since beginning Flying Trilobite, I've enjoyed the art process more than I ever have in my life. Art needs an audience - no, correction, scratch that, the artist needs an audience. And you guys rock.

New business model

I still intend to continue these two streams:
1) make art --> blog art --> comments --> take new commissions.
2) make art
--> blog art --> put in reproduction shop --> sell.
And add these:
3)
make art --> blog art --> open eBay or Etsy shop --> sell originals.
4) send portfolio --> magazine & comic publishers --> make art.
5) send portfolio --> museums & institutions --> make art.
6)
send portfolio --> book publishers --> {edit: skip cycle of rejection & doubt} --> make art.

(Add to this that I have discussed the intersection of Art & Science at 4 different venues - could I be one of those speakers with a microphone protruding from my tie?)

This is where I ask the blogosphere, family and friends and strangers for advice. I allow for anonymous comments, so feel free to be frank and honest if you have an opinion and want to be like Batman. Or be your bold self like Iron Man.

Could I make my weird paintings (I'm not weird, you are) into a bigger success financially?
Are there other streams full-time artists employ to make a living?


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.


Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***
For those of you who don't want to be Batman or Iron Man, I'm afraid you're
stuck being Zan & Jayna, the Wonder Twins. "Form of...a puddle!"

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Another peek : Invasive Species paintings

Part of the assignment is to Photoshop the large paintings into a background. Admittedly, I didn't give that a lot of thought the first time around. In critique class last week, it was suggested I try the tree upside down for a more otherworld look, and have the paintings hanging from ropes. I used a different photo of Trinity-Bellwoods park for this version.


I'm happy with how a low-opacity paint bucket layer using a colour lifted from the sky unified the atmosphere.
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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Monday, 8 March 2010

Triloblogiversary Cubed!

Three years ago today, The Flying Trilobite launched. Happy Triloblogiversary Cubed!


Thanks to everyone who comments, supports and encourages my every whim. Next year though, I expect fealty and a percentage of your harvest. By then the Mythical Flying Trilobite Fossil will have grown to Mothra-like proportions.


Thanks for sharing in my awe of science through art. That was an awkward sentence.
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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***
Apparently the spellchecker has a problem with "triloblogiversary".
And "spellchecker".

Art Monday: the end of Art Monday?

Since April 2008, I have been posting artwork every Monday. Sometimes a behind-the-scenes look at my process, often brand new paintings and drawings, and the odd re-post. It`s almost two years! The impetus to do this was borne out of wanting some regularity on The Flying Trilobite, and a schedule that challenged me. Certainly my traffic tends to spike on Mondays, sometimes even when I`m late in posting I can see people are checking in to see if I`ve screwed up thee anatomy of another arthropod.

It`s time for Art Mondays to end.

Lately I find I am rushing artwork to make the deadline, or posting pieces in haste and not getting back to them. I have a list of incomplete work that`s growing all the time. It`s not as fun as it was, and I`m trying to free my life of self-imposed constraints.

Being back in school this year has me reassessing a lot of things about my career and artistic life. I feel bolder and braver with my art materials and ideas. I will graduate with my Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours in a few weeks, and have begun exploring options to professionally move to more freelance. Most of the commissions and publications I have been in the last few years have come to me, so I have started knocking on some doors to seek commissions out.

I hesitated to write this final Art Monday, -I enjoy the structure - I actually planned to post this last week! I will continue to post art, and hopefully by this summer, I`ll be posting it more often than once a week anyway.

Time to let the flying trilobite out of its stony chrysalis and let it glide free of a weekly rhythm.

- - - - - - - -
Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.


Flying Trilobite Gallery
*** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Friday, 5 March 2010

Art in Awe of Science at the Centre for Inquiry

Tomorrow, Saturday 6 March, I'll be taking part in a panel discussion at the Centre for Inquiry Ontario at the annual meeting. The theme is the intersection of art and science, and I'll be on the panel with Paula Gardner of the Ontario College of Art & Design and Roshelle Filart of the Ontario Science Centre.

Should be great fun. In the next couple of days, I'll report on the discussion and the CFI gallery show, where I met artist Karyn Wong.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.


Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Quick peek at Invasive Species

Some pics of what I've been working on the last few weeks, click to enlarge. Crit-class is this afternoon.

Invasive Species
:

...

...
These paintings are 48"x12" and 36"x48. Bigger than I've done in a while, and it was really freeing. Since I began blogging almost 3 years ago, a lot of my work tends to fit on my scanner.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Original paintings for sale at Centre for Inquiry

Delighted! I have been invited by the Centre for Inquiry Ontario to participate in a panel discussion about art & science, and display and sell some of my work.

I'm still deciding which 3 paintings to display, choosing from Religion in Science Education, Darwin Took Steps, Haldane's Precambrian Puzzle and Science-Chess Accommodating Religion will be on display, though not for sale. The gallery show begins Thursday night, mainly from 6pm to 9pm. The panel discussion will be on Saturday from 11 am to 12pm.

Here are the oil paintings I will have for sale.


...
...


Selling original work is a rare thing for me to do, though it's part of my plan to branch out this year. Should be a fun and interesting day.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Monday, 1 March 2010

Art Monday: rough dinosaur

The Art Evolved Therizinosaur gallery will be launching in the next 24 hours, and well, I'm not ready to submit. It's been a busy February. I've been taking a few steps to try and balance things better in my life. The work/blog/freelance/school/family time needs to be integrated better, and not in that order of importance.

At any rate, here's what I was working on. Maybe I'll come back to it some time.

After sketching in pencil in my Moleskine, I worked on this sketch in ArtRage.Click to enlarge if you wanna.

The idea was to have a small group of explorers climb down a rope and see this huge feathered therizinosaur sitting in a brass filigree cage - with many damaged bars. Actually, considering how close the therizinosar looks to a Jabberwocky, that may as well be Alice standing there (Yeah, I'm excited to see Tim Buton's latest.)

I based the therizinosaur's pose on my parrot I used to have, Sam. He was a blue-front Amazon, and would often display his wings one at a time, his tail feathers and feathers on his neck.

Here's me and Sam back in the day.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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