Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Calvin Mellow


Dear Everyone-We-Know,

The evolutionary legacy of an upright posture,
a clever mind
opposable thumbs,
acute visual sense,
a talent for pattern-finding
and a love of metaphor
Has been passed down through
an exploded star,
a planet,
life,
to chordates,
to mammals,
to apes,
to humans,
to Michelle and Glendon,
and finally, on December 28th 2010 at 1:06am to Calvin George Follett Mellow.

Calvin Mellow has entered the universe's history at 7lb 11oz , to the
delight of his family and has all the potential in the world to be a
tool-user, a thinker, a metaphor-maker, an artist, a scientist, a poet, and most likely a source of surprise.

Thanks to everyone online and off, for their words of support and enthusiasm.

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

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Friday, 24 December 2010

Science-Art Scumble #8: Super Holiday Special!

Scumble:
"A painting technique in which semi-opaque or thin opaque colors are loosely brushed over an underpainted area so that patches of the color beneath show through." 
From The Artist's Handbook, by Ray Smith.  


A weekly digest to highlight some of the posts I found most interesting, most provocative, or otherwise caught my eye from the Science Artists Feed, and other sources. Sit back, have a cinnamon-laced eggnog and enjoy.


There are enough Holiday pieces of science-based art out there, I hadda put them into one post!  Please enjoy this special edition of the Science-Art Scumble.

Click here for earlier scumbles.



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Holiday Card Candidate, Clever Girl.  Double does of holiday fun!  Jennifer Hall's Christmas card plus check out her blog banner. Does the Abominable Snowman proud, that does.

Tomorrow Night: "The Vast Santanic Conspiracy: Is St. Nick the Tool of a Plot too Monstrous To Mention?" With Cult-Author Mark Dery at Observatory, Morbid Anatomy.

Holiday Wish List 2010, Art Works.

Krismas Sketch, The Flying Trilobite.

Imagining Flower Fairies, Gurney Journey.  (My wife and I cover our Christmas tree in fairies, so this counts as holiday art in my book!)

Kroper's Guide to Holiday Shopping, Ataraxia Theatre.

Christmas Paleo-Art, Salaric.

Happy Holidays from Morbid Anatomy and Friends, Morbid Anatomy.

Happy Holidays, The Disillusioned Taxonomist.

Wintry Wishes from Witton, Love in the Time of the Chasmosaurs.

Forgotten Christmas Specials Part 1 and Part 2, Tricia's Obligatory Art Blog!  (Not necessarily science-y, but great clips!)

All the best of the holidays, everyone!  Merry Krismas!
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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

500th Flying Trilobite Post

Haldane's Precambrian Puzzle © Glendon Mellow 2010


This marks the 500th post here on the Flying Trilobite since I began blogging about my artwork back in March 2007.  Thank you so much to everyone for their support and comments and commissions over the past almost-4 years! I had no idea what I was getting into when I started blogging, but it has literally changed my life. 

I thought I'd mark this post by including some links to a few posts I consider noteworthy. 





Flying & Asthma - May 2008

Inspiration & Drugs - August 2008

part of Sowing Seeds and Fossils. © Glendon Mellow 2010




detail from Fossil Boy, Diatom Girl. © Glendon Mellow 2010

Sowing Seeds & Fossils - October 2009

Fossil Boy, Diatom Girl - December 2009




And again thank you to everyone who reads this blog, and to my wife Michelle for believing in my art since the first time she saw it.


Mythical Flying Trilobite Fossil I. © Glendon Mellow 2010

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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Science-Art Scumble #7

Scumble:
"A painting technique in which semi-opaque or thin opaque colors are loosely brushed over an underpainted area so that patches of the color beneath show through." 
From The Artist's Handbook, by Ray Smith.  

A weekly digest to highlight some of the posts I found most interesting, most provocative, or otherwise caught my eye from the Science Artists Feed, and other sources. Sit back, have an espresso and enjoy.

This week, there are not only entries from deviantArt, but I've also added some photography and comics.

Note: the Scumble may stumble some time over the next couple of weeks - my wife and I are expecting our first child, and I may take a break so I can dress the newborn up like a reindeer.

Click here for earlier scumbles.

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The Mighty V-Rex, The Art of a Carbon-Based Lifeform.

Jungle Hunt, Scenes From A Multiverse.

Lunar Eclipse of the Blog, Biodiversity in Focus.  Morgan D. Jackson goes from photographing very small, up close insects to photographing something very big and far away! Stellar.

Stuff I like: Centrifuge Tubes, A Curious Bestiary.

Confetti Death, Street Anatomy.

Scientific Accuracy in Art, Scientific American Guest Blog, by yours truly. Comments on this post encouraged!

The Golden Ratio or Fibonacci Spiral, Darkstorm Creative: the works of Russell Dickerson.  An entertaining look at how Fibonacci sequences crop up in Dickerson's art.

Aquaephemera: slo-mo water sculpture, Bioephemera.

Galileo's Controversial Moon Drawings, Maggie Koerth-Baker, Boing Boing.

Swill is here!  Swill is here! , Renaissance Oaf.

Scientists tackle graphic design, O'Reilly Science Art.

Tree Books for Kids, ArtPlantae Today.

Uncle Beazley, Love in the Time of the Chasmosaurs.

Elephant Live-Blogging Event, Art Evolved.  Two of Art Evolved's admins live blog making artwork about prehistoric elephants. Craig Dylke renders in 3D (start here) and Peter Bond starts off with traditional drawing (start here).

Member News: Hall Train featured in local radio "Dinosaur Phone-In", SONSI.


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

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Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Scientific American Guest Blog


Today on the Scientific American Guest Blog I have a post entitled, Scientific Accuracy in Art. 


In it, I touch on fossils, math, a crucifix and microscopic paint. It attempts to answer: what is science-art for?

Would love if Flying Trilobite readers could head there to comment - disagree, support or ask questions!

The burgeoning field of science-art is one I love to explore.  Recently, I was also on a podcast on Atheists Talk with science-artist Lynn Fellman and host Mike Haubrich, and I have been discussing science-art some more on my own blog as I gear up for ScienceOnline11 in North Carolina in January.


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

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Monday, 20 December 2010

Art Monday: Fossil Forms

Fossil Form 1 © Glendon Mellow 2010

Fossil Form 2 © Glendon Mellow 2010


These two original oil paintings on slate are for sale in my new Etsy store - not prints, the originals. [Crisp autumn leaves not included.]
They also appear in my Calendar Collection #3, new for 2011. Available in my print shop.

This type of painting is meditative and relaxing for me: just playing with forms, uncovering what I find. Well; as meditative and relaxing as listening to Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim can be, anyway. 

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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Sunday, 19 December 2010

WIP: Anomalocarid Girl

A work-in-progress.  Anomalocarid Girl is a character and foil for Trilobite Boy.  Painting this one in ArtRage, similar to Trilobite Boy and gargoyles.


Screen capture of my process in ArtRage.
The sketch below has changed a bit since.  Not a lot of people know what an anomalocaris is, so I've added two leaping out of the water, one on either side of the character. One leaping so the dorsal side is visible, the other so its ventral side is showing. Hopefully that will help to identify the similarity of her dress and gloves to this extinct animal.

I also think I'll be basing the face off of a real person and at 300 dpi, I'll be able to get in there and work on some nice detail.
 


Sketch loosely based on Bottecelli's Birth of Venus


Below is the first colour-pass, a kind of under-layer so future layers of transparent colour (or missed spots) will have a foundation.


Happy with the clouds on the right, I think.

I've got a rough story outline for Trilobite Boy which I hope to debut in the new year. 


There have been other failed attempts at painting this character in the past, but I'm really excited about how the story and this image are coming along.  Criticisms and questions welcome though!

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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Friday, 17 December 2010

Cory Doctorow's Internet Problem - some questions

Cory Doctorow has an excellent new column today at the Guardian, The Internet Problem: when an abundance of choice becomes a problem.  


I've been a fan of Cory Doctorow's writing for a few years, (love the occasional Toronto settings!) and most people have at least skimmed his writing on Boing Boing. He's a creative writer who has a passion for copyright reform (short version: open access is the future).  As an artist-illustrator passionate about communicating my own sometimes surreal riffs on science, I avidly read and ponder what Cory (may I call him Cory?) has to say about copyright law, and how it relates to business.  



I agree with much of his model.  The past few (almost 4!) years of art blogging, I essentially give away my artwork for free under Creative Commons (some restrictions) while I promote, share, and have a good time with others who have similar interests. I do it partly in the hopes of others looking at my artwork and saying "That's good.  I want that for me."  And that happens on occasion (here and here). 



I have some questions about today's column. In it, Cory writes, 


"I decided that I'd give the ebooks away (as I've done with my other books); sell a variety of paperbacks with different covers (the net made it easy to tap artist friends for cover designs and work with them over long distances); and do 250 super-limited, hand-sewn hardcovers with all sorts of premium stuff – an SD card set into the cover with the audiobook and full text and unique endpapers made of original sentimental paper ephemera donated by dozens of writer friends from all over the world. The audiobook was read by voice-actor pals in three countries...", 


Do those artist-friends and voice-actor pals get renumeration for their work?  Or is "pals" a euphemism for people who will give Cory work for free? Other than being friends and wanting to help Cory's work (which is so brilliant and current, I love it)  is there a measurable monetary gain for them?  For example, would one of the artists who provided a special cover for the print version actually gain enough notoriety they would make money elsewhere - prints, new contracts etc. -for realz?



I've been freelancing the last few months, and right now I have no shortage of opportunities and venues to make art - Cory is right.  There is an abundance of choice.  I'm grateful my artwork has resonance with such a variety of brilliant dynamic people, people I would never reach without the internet.  Most of these venues are unlikely to help me pay my rent however. I really want to do some of them -for fun, for establishing the contacts, for friends, for my portfolio- but I'm still limited by choosing ones with a potential to make money or lead to an art-print where mmmaaaaybe I'll make a bit of money. 



I haven't found the right formula for me yet. 


"There's so much that you can do to elaborate on a project of this nature: limited edition covers, pricing experimentation, novel forms of audio distribution … While this sort of thing was once constrained by the inherent capital costs of trying them, no such costs obtain today: all of these things can be done for "free", costing only the time spent in trying them out."


My second set of questions:  where are these opportunities?  Are there really places that allow you to assemble hand-sewn bindings on books for free?  SD cards inlaid in the cover?  I realize I'm small-time: it's understandable why Little Brother, a book about teenaged programmers fighting the government (flash mobs!) has more of an audience than some anatomically-incorrect trilobites.  Cory Doctorow naturally has more connections to these cool-tools online.





In the New Year, I plan to start publishing my Trilobite Boy story online, and would love to make a print version available.  I know this is a successful model for many comic artists, and it's become a real passion for me as the Trilobite Boy story coalesces in my brain and on the page.

I'd also love to have that collaborative book I've mentioned -consisting of my already-done paintings with 1 page short stories written by a variety of writers with little oversight from me- published, or at least shopped around. In the end, I want the writers to receive compensation as well as myself. Is there a way to do that fairly?

Cory Doctorow's column is terrific - as usual, I find his writing about the internet + copyright + creativity provide a signpost in the path to the future.  This time though, I feel like he's pointed to an abundant rainforest but I don't know where to look for fruit. Or should it be tubers? 


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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Thursday, 16 December 2010

Krismas sketch

A quick Krismas sketch. 


Click to enlarge. Maybe I'll need to do a Candy Cane Crinoid Forest. Hm.





I love this post by Dale McGowan about "Krismas" as an explanation for how many celebrate the solstice season.  

Some other fun holiday artwork can be found at Rouble Rust, Clever Girl and Eric Orchard

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Science-Art Scumble #6

Scumble:
"A painting technique in which semi-opaque or thin opaque colors are loosely brushed over an underpainted area so that patches of the color beneath show through." 
From The Artist's Handbook, by Ray Smith.  

A weekly digest to highlight some of the posts I found most interesting, most provocative, or otherwise caught my eye from the Science Artists Feed, and other sources. Sit back, have an espresso and enjoy.

Note: the Scumble may stumble some time over the next couple of weeks - my wife and I are expecting our first child, and I may take a break so I can stare at the baby.

Click here for earlier scumbles.

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What is Science-Art? , The Flying Trilobite.

Live not by visualization alone - Gene Expression

Historians discover letters and numbers in Mona Lisa's eyes, Yahoo7.  (Hat-tip to Sarah Kavassalis.)

Transparent Specimens, Deep Sea News.

Unpopular Science - NY Times, An Eye for Science.

Louis XIV - The science king - CultureLab.

Paracyclophus, Love in the Time of the Chasmosaurs.  Comic-hero dinosaurs!

Bubble and squeak 2010, A Distant Ugly Mountain.

Protesting global warming - one melting figure at a time, Hybrids of Art and Science.

Winners of the Evolution & Art Contest! , Charlie's Playhouse Blog

Creativity is Serious Business, Art Works: National Endowment for the Arts.

Growing up with art, Gurney Journey.

WIP Jaguar - Starting the Detail Work, Heather Ward Wildlife Art.

Science-Artist Feed grows to 100, The Flying Trilobite.

Parasitic Trilobites, The Episiarch.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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Monday, 13 December 2010

What is Science-Art?



With my weekly Scumble posts, the Science-Artists Feed and upcoming session at ScienceOnline11 with John Hawks and David Orr, I've been talking a lot about Science Art ( aka: sciart, science-based art, etc).

What is Science Art?

It's always tough when you're in the middle of a burgeoning artistic movement to label it, and even the various art manifestos that pepper art history are unsatisfying to later palates.

That said, I find there's often confusion when talking about art between the large umbrella term "ART" and the more specific world of what we mean when we refer to Fine Art.  Scientific Illustration is not Fine Art; they're both different branches under the Art phylogenetic tree, if you'll permit the metaphor.

There can be some horizontal genetic transfers; images that make the leap between different types of art. Most commonly this happens with time, such as the scientific illustrations of Audobon appearing in fine art history texts as a bit of a nod to the influence scientific illustration can have in fine art.

Here's my attempt to label what Science-Art is. Most of this is cribbed from my need for definitions that I used for ScienceOnline09.


My bias is showing: many examples are biology related.  I've tried to limit each category here to a few examples.  You can see I've also largely left out photography and cartoons and comics, though arguably (and I'm prepared to argue!) many examples of those may deserve to be included here.

5 types of Science Art:

1. Scientific Illustration - Examples: Carl BuellAlbrecht Durer, many artists’ work at the Guild of Natural Scientific Illustrators.

2. Science Fine Art & Design - Examples: Felice FrankelMarc Quinn, Paul WaldeWim Delvoye.


3. Art using scientific subjects as a springboard - Examples: Dali’s Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus),  Archimboldo, Lynn Fellman, myself.

4. Art inspired and made by scientific technique - Examples: op art & trompe l’oeilMan RayDIY Biohackers Klari Reis.

5. Speculative science art & science fiction - Examples: Nemo RamjetSpeculative Dinosaur Projectsome Dougal Dixon booksWayne Barlowe.

Are there more categories?  Where would you place some of your favourite science-artists?
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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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Art Monday: White Trilobite




An older painting I had once intended to be an illustration for a book about a trilobite travelling to our time, and eventually to Mars. Also available as a print in my shop.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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Friday, 10 December 2010

Science-Artists Feed grows to 100

A few months ago, I started the Science-Artists Feed after a conversation with Bora Zivkovic.  It's also carried on scienceblogging.com. Visual art, illustration and imagery can have a profound impact on our understanding of science: both the scientific concepts themselves, and how scientific knowledge impacts our lives.

It's now swelled to 100 different artists' and site feeds!  Each week I'm summing up some links of things I found interesting in my Scumble series of posts. If anyone wondered whether or not this is an art movement unto itself -as I discussed with Mike Haubrich and sciartist Lynn Fellman in a recent podcast- the size and variety of this list should demonstrate it is.

Recently, I included a handful of the artists I love from deviantArt as well, including Nobu Tamura, Jacqueline Dillard, Jon Lomberg and the Bioscience group.

Here's the list in its entirety below the jump:

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Trilobite Boy makes a Top Ten


Trilobite Boy and Gargoyles made it into the Top 10 in a recent SF Group contest on RedBubble, where my art prints & calendar are made. I actually appear to have initially been part of a 3-way tie in the competition. 

©  Glendon Mellow 2010



The competition is still relatively new, from what I can see - there were very few votes for each piece.  I'll have to pay more attention to these in the future. Thanks to those RedBubblers who voted!

You can see a whole buncha "making of" posts about the image here.  It's also in my latest calendar on sale now.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

How not to deal with uncited images.

So as I enter gracefully into blogging-middle-age (like a swan, I know) one of the pitfalls of discourse for me is how to address an uncited image on another science blog. 


I'm a bit passionate about the issue. (See herehereherehere, and here.) Most science bloggers cite their sources and papers, yet many lift images wholly from Google without a thought.  



Last night, while looking at a relatively new blog, I saw some artwork I recognized as probably being by Nobu Tamura. It was. A quick Google search for the species, and on Wikipedia, the first link, revealed that Mr. Tamura has granted the image of Cynognathus open under Creative Commons, free to be used and posted -and even modified!- provided he is given credit.

Image © Nobu Tamura.  From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cynognathus_BW.jpg">Wikipedia. (See?  That was easy.)

I commented on the blog. I said something like, "The Cynognathus is by Nobu Tamura, and should be credited.  All the cool kids are citing images."  I can't tell you exactly what I said, because my comment has been removed.

The blog in question also has a bit of tweaking to do, apparently:  my comment appeared as black text on a black background, with only links to Tamura and one of my own posts about citing images appearing as orange hyperlinks. So I thought, hey, these guys are on Twitter: I'll say something there.

I said: "Hi, @bloginquestion . Could you plz cite images properly? & my comment appears as black text on black b/g." With a link to the post. 
Then it gets weird.  They sent me 3 direct messages saying it was inappropriate for me to comment on their blog if I had a problem, inappropriate to tweet about it (should have direct messaged) and that it IS cited on the post and they're sorry I didn't see it.

Only...it wasn't cited. The only citation was "Photos from google.ca images". Umm, yeah, that's not even close to credit where credit is due. I have the screen capture to prove it.

Nobu Tamura's artwork is cited now, but none of the maps are.

I couldn't direct message them via Twitter (they are not following me), so I sent a couple of more public messages. Then, I realized they've now blocked me on Twitter!

I sent an email to one of the blog hosts after looking it his address on their Facebook page. It's their prerogative to block me; perhaps I could have somehow handled this with more tact than a blog comment and public tweet.  There's been a bunch of words of support from many science bloggers on Twitter and Facebook about this to me, and thanks.

Being a science-blog killjoy or meter-maid is of little interest to me, roving around handing out tickets. "You parked that image here without a credit. You're fined a minor public shaming".  At the same time, when I see the art of someone I admire being used to enhance a post without a shred of proper credit, I feel I should say something.

Private emails do little to raise consciousness about the issue - the comment is not just there for the blogger and commenter, but for all the subsequent readers.

What should I have done differently?  How do I raise the issue without throwing science bloggers under a bus? Do I remove them from my personal Facebook friends?  It feels weird that they're blocking me on one media (Twitter) yet they can see all my stuff.

Oh, and do make sure you go through Nobu Tamura's deviantArt gallery.  This man is a paleo-illustrating machine


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.  Except that one up there of the cynognathus.
That's © by Nobu Tamura.  See?  Again. Easy.

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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Science-Art Scumble #5




Scumble:
"A painting technique in which semi-opaque or thin opaque colors are loosely brushed over an underpainted area so that patches of the color beneath show through." 
From The Artist's Handbook, by Ray Smith.  

A weekly digest to highlight some of the posts I found most interesting, most provocative, or otherwise caught my eye from the Science Artists Feed. Sit back, have a coffee and enjoy.


Click here for earlier scumbles.  Lots of fish & ocean life this week.
And let me know if you enjoy the Scumbles in the comments below! 
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Fun fish in Black and White, Changewind's Ink.

Mineo's Ray, Ichthyography.

Fleam Find, Curious Art Lab.

On Atheists Talk radio with Lynn Fellman, The Flying Trilobite.  Me, talking about science art on the radio with Lynn Fellman and Mike Haubrich.

Sandra Yagi, Street Anatomy.

Sciart quote of the day, Bioephemera.

Red-Green Color Blindness Test Lines, An Eye for Science.

ABC, Street Anatomy.

Ocean Invasion #9: Lionfish 1, Springbok 0, Laughing Mantis Studios.

Picturing Sounds: How to paint a Led Zeppelin song, CultureLab.

Walcott's Quarry #124: Post-Apocalyptic, eTrilobite.

Derek Nobbs Is My New Favourite Artist, Deep Sea News.

Aeroplasmic Curds, A Distant Ugly Mountain.

Paleoart Competition, Art Evolved.

Biocurious? Interview with Joseph Jackson about DIY Biotech, Ars Biologica.

Elasmosaur Watercolor, Coherent Lighthouse.

Alexis Rockman, lines and colors.  Unreal landscapes filled with prehistoric creatures.

Sea Dragon Shirts! , A Curious Bestiary.  This is by one of my very favourite artists who I wish I could buy a coffee and hang out and sketch with.

Deeper into Dinosaurgami, Love in the Time of the Chasmosaurs.

Piracy in the age of DIYbio, DIYBio.


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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Baby update



Time for a baby update.

announced a few months ago that my wife and I are expecting a baby, our first.  Everything is healthy and fine.  The official due date is December 21st, but we're wondering if it may be earlier: our spectacular obstetrician thinks it's likely. The again, 1st babies are often late they say, so who knows.


I haven't blogged or produced much art last week while I did some temporary part-time work, and made sure things are ready for the baby.  I'm ridiculously excited to meet the little guy. 

Family and friend support has been wonderful and fun - we can clothe him until he's 18 if he likes onesies.  Our Nephew (age 9), is excited, and recently hunted for coupons for baby items in a flyer, of his own volition. We even received a gift from a blogger, the inimitable Scicurious!  Thanks for the keen hand-made blanket, Sci! 


Applying a cherry blossom wall sticker. Michelle told me we were expecting high Park, when the blossoms were in bloom and redwing blackbirds and butterflies were all around. Yeah: she's awesome. 
Southern Ontario Butterfly mobile. 
Mirrored swallows on the wall.
The blanket from Sci is on the crib, and the Jack Skellington was a gift from friend and blogger Chris Zenga


So, in addition to attempting to make an illustration career for myself, I'll be finding a new work/life balance.  Up until October, I was working the full-time management job, and making art and blogging in the wee hours of the mornings and evenings, and it drove my wife nuts;I was incapable of relaxing. We discussed this move to full-time freelancing, knowing we're expecting the little guy; it's been educational in figuring out what I want to do next, and a number of tentative offers have come in.  Next, I'll likely return to some full- or part-time work while balancing family, illustration and blogging and work.

Sleep is for the weak.


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
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