Monday, 31 May 2010

Art Monday: The Forever Painting variations

Original version of The Forever Painting
manipulated sketch


detail of top portion
detail of lower portion
Drawing for The Forever Painting II


Oil painting originally
seen here and more here.
Pencil drawing
seen here.

This thing is physically huge. Hard to take decent pictures of. For the original painted version, my wife stood in front of the canvas, and I traced her shadow in chalk.

Sometimes as an artist, you return to the same theme multiple times and keep exploring and refining it.  I'd love to make a new painting based on the trees, but haven't had a long enough gap in my schedule, so one day worked up the little drawing to make the mental note about it.

You may also notice that in addition to flying trilobites, it has a DNA-Candle, much like the ones I showed last week.

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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 ***

Friday, 28 May 2010

The Big News: Strong and Free(lance)

Tentanda Via - The way must be tried.
-York University motto.


I've made a decision. I've given notice to my good, full-time job and I'm going to go professional. Full-time freelance fine artist & illustrator, occasional speaker on the intersection of art and science.

This year, I completed my Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts that I had left in limbo over a decade ago. Michelle is a full-time primary school teacher now, and is encouraging me to take new steps in my career. I really
want this. The time is now.

Inspired in part by Brian Switek's "
So you want to write a pop-sci book" series on Laelaps and as an offshoot to my Going Pro series on Art Evolved, over the next few months I'll start writing about what it's like freelancing, and what steps I'm taking to aim for success. Of course I won't discuss clients or jobs I'm working on (at least until showing off successfully completed artwork), and other than the occasional post for something new in my reproduction shop, I won't be using this series to jones for jobs.

Since I was 14, I've been working with a steady paycheque. Now, I'll leave the security of my full-time job in late summer or early fall. I want to discuss what I'm doing to be prepared for this big shift. I'll make mistakes, and learn lessons, and I plan to share them in the Strong and (Free)lance series.

With the blessings of my fellow Art Evolved admins, Craig and Peter, I may be posting this series of Going Pro on both blogs.

I have a lot of people to thank for the encouragement and advice while I've been considering this shift. My wife Michelle has been cheering me on, and has incredible confidence in me. I've spoken with image-makers Carl Buell, Jeff Hayes, Eric Orchard, Tanja Sova, Sean Craven, Craig Dylke, Chris Zenga, and Felice Frankel about the decision at various stages, and it's helped a lot. (Jeff, you tipped it over the edge!) A special thanks to Coturnix and Sugarman for the invites to ScienceOnline that made this path clearer. And thanks too, to the many people -bloggers, authors, scientists and art fans - who've commissioned a work or purchased a print from my online store. Each of you have made this a pleasure.

Most of the commissions I've performed over the last 3+ years of blogging here on The Flying Trilobite were unsolicited. I'm proud of how my artwork has resonated with the secular and scientific communities. To turn it into a career, I need to seek opportunities myself, and not wait for them to come to me.

Scared and elated and ready.
Bring it.

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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, 26 May 2010

Photos from the Kortright Centre

Some of my photos from the SONSI (Southern Ontario Nature & Science Illustrators) sketch day at the Kortright Centre for Conservation just north of Toronto, a couple of weeks ago.
The SONSI group at the marsh.

Leopard frog.  Lots of tadpoles around. 

Red-eared slider ignoring us in the sun.


I managed to spot a heron pretty far away. 

Photos are great for future illustration reference. 

Perfect day.  I stood here sketching reeds. 

Swans heading back to their nest on a small island in the marsh. 
If you're an illustrator or fine artist living in Ontario interested in nature and science, check out our new group.

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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 ***

Illustrator interviews at SONSI

This week on SONSI (the Southern Ontario Nature & Science Illustrators) I've kicked off a series of interviews, beginning with the legendary Barry Kent MacKay.  (I only sent out the questions this morning!  Fast!)

I owe the idea and casual format of these interviews in no small part to Coturnix.  No one does internet communication better!

It's a terrific interview for getting into the mind of a lifelong bird illustrator and animal conservationist.

Check it out 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 ***

Monday, 24 May 2010

Tips on web-ready images

One of the Southern Ontario Nature & Science Illustrators' members asked for a few tips on making images web-ready, and putting the little © copyright symbol on things.

Head over to the
SONSI site for some of my quick tips.

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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 ***

Art Monday: DNA-Candle Vanitas series




DNA-Candle Vanitas I, II and III
Each painting, oil on canvas; various years, see individual posts.
© Glendon Mellow



DNA-Candle Vanitas I appeared here. DNA-Candle Vanitas II appeared here. DNA-Candle Vanitas III appeared here.

Some details about this series:


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.

Typically, I have created these as wedding gifts, and the DNA-Candle motif has
appeared in other paintings and drawings of mine.

You can find #III in my
first calendar collection, (June).  DNA-Candle Vanitas IV will soon be available as a print or greeting card in the Print Shop.

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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 ***

Friday, 21 May 2010

Going Pro: thoughts on copyright

[Cross-posted on Art Evolved]

In the past few posts of Going Pro, we've looked a lot at copyright. Again, a lot of people have opinions, but it's important to see what the legal definitions -and what steps you can take to protect your creations- really entail.

Today though, I want to propose a question.

Suppose you post a nifty image of a prehistoric critter online. It's awesome, you're proud, people give you kudos. You put it under a Creative Commons Licence, the most restrictive one that says your image a) must be attributed to you, b) cannot be altered, c) others cannot profit from it, and otherwise, it's okay to post and share.

1. Then someone copies it. Another blogger. Does their own riff. Are you okay with that?

2. What if they're more famous than you, getting lots of illustration gigs, but they notice it, do their own version, and give you a nod for your cool idea. Still excited, feeling the attention?

3. What if your painting happens to hit the zeitgeist and goes all viral all over the interwebs. Everyone is sharing it. There's a day on Facebook where all the users switch to you image. But you haven't made a dime. What do you do?

We're in interesting territory. Personally, I don't believe overly restricting images (insanely huge watermarks, disabling right-clicking) are helpful to make a successful career anymore. But neither is completely open sharing.

Consider this:
It makes a strong case about question number 3, doesn't it? But how do you capitalize on that image going viral? How does it put food on the table?

I suggest it's how you parlay that viral dinosaur image into getting new contracts.

As for questions number 1 and 2, consider the post-modern, remixed, mash-up, variant-cover culture we live in. Think an Indiana Jones video game is fun? What about Indiana Jones Lego! Like Batman? Sharks? Lightsabers? Ta-da! (artist here) Authoring mash-ups and riffing on others' work is an integral part of pop culture.


Painting gets started at about the 4 minute mark in the video above.
[h/t to Boing Boing, again]

In the past, I've sometimes been the dissenting voice here at Art Evolved about all those posts showing past-art about upcoming themed galleries. I dislike them because sometimes attribution to the artwork cannot be easily found - though yes, as Peter and Craig have pointed out to me, sometimes we attribute an "orphan image" after the post goes up when a reader identifies it.

I'm uncomfortable with those posts because in a world of remixes and fun Photoshopped images, attribution and authorship can sometimes be your only coins to bank on. Literally.

Everyone has different comfort zones. Where do you feel comfortable with your images on questions 1-3 above?





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

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

Painting-Erasing a Prophet

I know - I'm a day late.

It's taken some wrestling for me.  I utterly support the freedom of people to draw and say what they like about other people's ideas - and we need to be strong on this - really strong!- in the face of threatened violence.

I can't add a lot in terms of my words here. I completely agree with
Dale McGowan on this.  But I also share a lot of the trepidation that Melliferax has.  After all, I live in one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world.  It's also one of the most peaceful and has low crime between cultures. I don't tend to paint things specifically to offend.  Though sometimes they do anyway.

So this one is not to specifically offend.

Is it a painting?  I've done this piece using digital media only. It is a depiction.   Under those layers, and then erased are an image -now largely removed- of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him if you are so inclined.

And peace be upon the artists depicting him.  Let no violence come from those who object to imagery.  All that does is make it more powerful anyway.

Edit: ****  In light of death threats against the originator, I took the non-image I had made down.  If we don't have freedom of speech and freedom of expression, we have nothing.

So here is a post of nothing.

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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, 20 May 2010

New Going Pro at Art Evolved


I've posted a new Going Pro at Art Evolved.

The world of online copyright has changed a lot, in law and in practice.  Here are some of the questions that rattle around in my brain about how to approach copying, remixing and appropriating other people's art.

We're in interesting territory. Personally, I don't believe overly restricting images (insanely huge watermarks, disabling right-clicking) are helpful to make a successful career anymore. But neither is completely open sharing. 

Head on over to weigh in!


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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, 19 May 2010

From the shop: framed "Life as a Trilobite"

In my reproduction shop, RedBubble makes some excellent-quality frames in a variety of styles.

The being featured in this detail of
Life as a Trilobite will be the feature in a number of paintings I'm producing this year.

My recommended frame/mat combination?  Charcoal frame, black mat, in the small size (U.S. $91.20, they also take AUS, G.B., EUR and CAN funds).  Click here to see the sizes and styles.


Let this guy peer over his shoulder at your guests at your next gaming night.
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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, 18 May 2010

New tattoo design gallery at glendonmellow.com

I've replaced the objects gallery on my site with a Tattoo Design Gallery.  There's just the two in there so far, but I hope to add more!

The items in the objects gallery have found homes in drawing and painting.

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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, 17 May 2010

Art Monday: Retrospectacle Valkyrie drawing

Pencil on bristol, 2007.
Originally created as part of the commissioned Retrospectacle blog banner for Shelley Batts.
Seen
here, making of here, and at the discontinued Scienceblog Retrospectacle here, where it shared banner duty with one by the science illustration master, Carl Buell.

The support I received early on in my blogging days from both Carl and Shelley has been wonderful, and invaluable. A lot of my current decisions still rest on things I learned from them both.  Thanks, guys!

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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, 15 May 2010

How I'm categorized on Twitter

In the interest of artistic narcissism and the urge to examine, I took a look a few minutes ago at what Twitter lists I have been included on.

To date, I'm 60 lists (2 of them mine), and from the titles, here's an interesting breakdown:



Science lists: 35
Artsy lists:
18
Skeptic/Atheist lists:
4

I did count three of the lists as both art and science. At any rate, interestingly enough, on Twitter at the moment, I'm considered more scientific than artsy.

I know why there's such disparity.  We need a Chosen One to bring trilobites to the unwashed artistic masses.  I will be their savior.  I will spread the word of the Trinity-Lobed Ones and the paintings will be glorious.

You can follow me on Twitter @flyingtrilobite.

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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 ***

Philosofossilising: what is palaeo-art?

Over at Art Evolved, admin Craig Dylke has started a new series: Philosofossilising.

The first question he's posed to members of the palaeo-art community is simply: What is palaeo-art?

Artist Rachael Revelle starts off the series with her answer. I'll be weighing in soon too - head over and comment on this series! Are the artists right? Who do you disagree with and why? We have a hugely diverse team of artists on the blog after its first year, so the question may be simple but the answers won't be.

What is palaeo-art?

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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, 10 May 2010

Art Monday: red knot






Pencil on bristol, Oil on canvas, 2009.
Part of the artwork created for Dan Rhoads' Migrations blog banner last year.

Dan's
announcement here.
My posts about the process
are here.

At Migrations, Dan has been posting with great clarity and with passion (no small feat) about the illegal trapping of birds in Cyprus. Migratory birds of hundreds of species pass through this centrally positioned country and trapped. Make sure to read up on Dan's FAQ about Illegal Ambeloupoulia. Conservationists are often treated with disdain.

Taking a trip? I'd bet on the Cyprus Birding Tours to be fascinating (look at the huge list on their inaugural trip report!), and it would help support the positive side of the Cypriot economy.


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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 ***

Computer back, my brain reboots. Huh.

Turned out to be a motherboard problem with the HP Pavilion I bought last August. Thanks to Geek Squad, a warranty and me obstinately figuring out how to reload my backed up files, everything is running again.

I lost the rest of the photos from the zoo - don't wait for your weekly back-up kids! - but all things considered, not so bad.

Thankfully I was smack-dab between two commissions, (and one was traditional oils all the way!) and could check email via my wi-fi and iPod Touch. My mother-in-law let us borrow an older 'puter, and now we have two.

Except for the backing up not-supposed-to-be-in-there files in my D:/ drive, it's all good. Now to get back into the swing of things here, at Art Evolved, and at SONSI.

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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, 3 May 2010

Caffeine tattoo commission for Scicurious

A few months back, blogger Scicurious of Neurotopia asked me about designing a tattoo to celebrate her PhD. Sci was specific on the subject matter: caffeine! She knew she wanted something one-of-a-kind, black-line, and possibly tribal.

Most of the commissions I've ever had have been through people online as opposed to people in my own community. While this is the first pseudonym-anonymous blogger I've worked for, I wasn't concerned. Besides the fact we've met in person, you can tell a lot of things about bloggers from their writing, and the way they're held in the blogging community. I expected this commission to be a lot of fun - and it was.

The designs went through a lot of versions. Here's a look at some of them. Click to enlarge.

These are from the first few sketches. I called the top one 'droplets' and the bottom one 'scanner' : For a design like this one below, I was basically trying out a variety of lines and shapes to see if any struck a chord with Scicurious: I went for something a bit Tim Burton-esque here, and ended up with something with a hint of Celtic knotwork. I really like this type of line. But maybe for a different molecule. The development of the droplets idea. A more jewellery-like design. Playing with the bonds and chemicals. On many of these, I had the chemical diagrams a bit off, but Sci knows her stuff, and made revisions easy. Droplets develops more. Sci asks for the nitrogens to resemble "n's" since there's a hint of an "o" in the oxygens. The nitrogens were tough to pin down! To make sure we weren't missing something from an earlier iteration, I sent Scicurious this batch of nitrogen designs, with some new ones on the right. By this point, we'd pretty much pinned down the rest of the tattoo, and I'd switched from pencil to Photoshop to make the swapping of the nitrogens easier. The doodles on the left are done with my Intuos 3 tablet in Photoshop. I was feeling stuck, and the loose drawings helped me get back into the design. Just throwing things at it, to see what worked. I sent the image to Sci and whaddaya know? She loved one of the doodles! And here's the final! Congratulations on your PhD, Dr. Scicurious! And thanks for a terrific collaboration-commission!

(Links to the final at Scicurious's Neurotopia and Carl Zimmer's Science Tattoo Emporium.)

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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 ***

Interested in your own one-of-a-kind science tattoo?
Send me an email at theflyingtrilobite [at] gmail [dot] com.

Art Monday: Flying Trilobite Tattoo

The design: The tattoo:

Originally posted here, and submitted to Carl Zimmer's Science Tattoo Emporium, where all the kewlest tattoos go. I got it for my birthday in 2008.

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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 ***

Hint: there's another tattoo design being posted later today!
But who was the design for?
Copyright © 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Glendon Mellow. All rights reserved. See Creative Commons Licence above in the sidebar for details.