Sunday, 27 February 2011

Scumble #13

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.  

Highlighting recent posts I found interesting, provocative, or otherwise caught my eye from the Science Artists Feed, and other sources. It's getting hard to keep up - there's so much science-based artwork to see!

So, brew yourself a cup of joe, put your feet up and enjoy.


Click here for earlier Scumbles.

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First, a round-up of some posts that came after the science-art session at ScienceOnline in January (many posts took place before!):
ScienceOnline11: Science-Art session now online! - The Flying Trilobite. Watch the session here.

Hear me make word sounds with my mouth and The Science-Art Discussion at ScienceOnline - Love in the Time of the Chasmosaurs.

The Merging of Art and Science As A Communication Tool - The Rogue Neuron

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Now, your regularly scheduled Scumble:


Winehound - Curious Art Lab.

The Year's Best Science and Engineering Visualizations - Science and the Arts.  "To illustrate is to enlighten" - I like that.

Sketchbook - John Hawks Weblog.  A stunning piece by John.  I love it.

Color me beautiful: Wellcome Award Winners - Kat Austen, CultureLab.

Foreleg of a male diving beetle - An Eye for Science

Bloodway Map Infographic - Street Anatomy

Helping Teachers turn Observers into Naturalists - ArtPlantae Today

Drawn series beasts revealed! - A Curious Bestiary.

The Microscopic Landscapes of Bernardo Cesare - Geology in Art.

Video Game Talk - Gurney Journey.

Immaterials: Light painting wi-fi - YZO

Art/Artist + Science/Scientist - drip | david's really interesting pages.

Iris portraits - Suren Manvelyan - Idegensรถvet Blog

Help out Phylopic and Making silhouettes for Phylopic - Craig Dylke, Art Evolved

Trilobabe - Cancer Fund - FrostDrake. Fans of my Trilobite Boy might enjoy this unrelated creation by artist Becky Gould.

Prelude to Infinity: Cchord - The Episiarch.

Waterbears - Banvivirie. This tardigrade painting by illustrator Rachel Caauwe is dramatic and amazing.

A Sad Brain Cell - Immy. Lots of fun neuron art by this artist.

Barnard's Swordswallower - Abiogenisis.  This fictional creature looks alien, plausible and has an excellent description.

If I had to pick a winning image for this Scumble it would be:
STS-133: Discovery's Final Flight - Coherent Lighthouse. Amazing. Damn, I'm gonna miss the shuttle program.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Friday, 25 February 2011

Mother Mars

An older oil painting of mine, embodying the Mother Nature on Mars and the ALH84001 meteorite. (Portions of this post are reposted from May 2008, with new images.) Click to enlarge.



This image appears in my latest calendar. Did you know you can choose which month my calendars start in?
Click here to check calendar collection 3





This painting was inspired by the Martian meteorite, ALH84001 and the inscription is carved into the rock in the bottom left.


The figure represents a mythology that never-was, the personification of Mother Nature on the planet Mars, wasted and haunting.



After struggling with a "mermaid's purse" shark egg to represent the false hope of organisms on Mars, I eventually attended a lecture at the University of Toronto where the topic of discussion was the possible discovery of fossil remnants in a meteor that originated on Mars. I learned about the magnetite chains found in the meteor, and watched a video of the cute little microbes whipping this way and that, following a moving magnet. I replaced the shark egg with an enlarged, ruptured microbe immediately.



Until that lecture, this painting sat unfinished and abandoned for over a year, and I was sure I would paint over it. It's something I seldom do, but I really wasn't fond of it. The addition of the magnetite-bearing microbe made all the difference to me.



The face was a sort of riff on the infamous hill-face on Mars, later proved to be simply a low-res, shadowed coincidence. I felt the debunked image lent a certain poignancy to Mother Mars.



Mars is what we make it. Perhaps a future mission will find signs of life in the Martian arctic? If not, it continues to be a planet of hope, and one we invest more myths, ideas and dreams in than any planet other than our own.



Here is one of Phoenix's photos of the Martian arctic:


© NASA

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Repost: Gaps in the artistic record


Anthropometry - ©  Glendon Mellow 2010
Occasionally any artist or illustrator will question their direction and portfolio.  Here's a post that originally appeared in March 2009 where I had a look at myself. Has anything changed?

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A brief list of art I'm missing to be considered the following type of artist:

Scientific Illustrator
-Cut away view of fish or of the Earth's crust with little labels
-Skeletal outline for clarity
-Heavily airbrushed, smooth view of pink & blue lungs
-Colourful landscape of organisms that would normally be hiding from each other

Pseudo-scientific Illustrator
-pulsating food morsel/medicine/sport drink going down gridded simplified human body to pulsate stronger in stomach
-simple diagram of human body with labels of animal names or words like "virtue" and "3rd eye"
-elegant watercolours of St. John's Wort and echinacea
-illustration with pyramids and lots of glittery silver

Paleo-Fantasy/SF Illustrator
-Leopard-bikini wearing woman riding mutant theropod with horns
-Innocent waif girl with clunky robot friend
-Herbivore & carnivore dinosaurs looking up in shock at UFO
-Blue shadowy background with PVC-wearing woman carrying two ridiculously huge and complicated guns

Fine Artist
-Object made from my own body or my trash
-Mash-up of multiple impermanent materials: painting on a cake left to go moldy and filmed for YouTube
-Painting "referencing" another artist's work, while allegedly subverting it
-Painting something vague that could be better explained in an op-ed column

Where do I fit, categorically? At ScienceOnline09, [and again for ScienceOnline2011], I used 5 categories about science-art that differ from these.

Art in awe of science sums it up enough.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Friday, 18 February 2011

ScienceOnline11 - Science-Art session now online!



The ScienceOnline11 session Science-Art: The Burgeoning Fields of Niche Artwork Aimed at Scientific Disciplines is now online here!  Or you can watch it below.

ScienceOnline encourages an unconference format - no lecture-lecture-lecture-questions here.  Instead, we present some images, some background pose a few questions, and then engage the participants. Comments are appearing on the ScienceOnline site already.  The audio is a bit off the first few seconds and then quickly sounds really clear.

Topics covered include a wide range:
  • How do artists online decide when to charge and when to allow use for free?
  • The changing face of neandertals with society's sense of liberalism.
  • Can art influence research?
  • How important is accuracy?
  • Why do scientists create art?
  • Why do artists engage science?  And more. 


 




Science-Art H264 Widescreen 960x540 from Smartley-Dunn on Vimeo.




I'd like to thank my co-moderators John Hawks and David Orr again for making the session so engaging and insightful, as well as our in-room and online participants.  And especially I'd like to thank the video editors and technicians on hand that day. Bravo Smartley-Dunn.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Valentine Card

©  Glendon Mellow

This is the Valentine's Day card I made for Michelle this year.  The bottom image of the bumblebee is from the envelope. It's my first drawing of Calvin, based on the photos from when he was newborn.

My wife is awesome and now we have an awesome baby.


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
Do not reproduce this image, please. Kinda personal, ya know?

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Peer Review Radio: Why Palaeontology?

Recently I was interviewed by Adrian J. Ebsary for Peer Review Radio, out of Ottawa.  It was part of a series of interviews about palaeontology that includes Gary Vecchiarelli, Brian Switek and paleoartist Ron Maslanka - all in one episode.

You can listen to the podcast at Peer Review Radio #16: Why Palaeontology?

There are also more podcast and video interviews with me speaking about art, science, and fossils on my Media page, found at the top of the blog.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Monday, 14 February 2011

Darwin Day contest winner!

Sorry, I'm a day late picking the winner. Too many good entries!  I changed my mind 3 times. 


©  Glendon Mellow 2008 oil on canvas paper


"Preconceptions dropped away / As he stood atop Bartolome. / For Darwin, a glimpse of nature's plan: / Ascent of stairs, Descent of Man."

Congratulations Elissa!  Contact me by email or FB or Twitter, and send me your mailing address! I'll get that print in the mail for tomorrow. 

For all of you who participated, thank you.  Some of my other favourites were by Adrian, coturnix, soniah, Joseph and Arvind. I loved the imagery by everyone about standing on giant's shoulders (appropriate with the little stairs - never thought of it that way before) and the humour in so many entries. Tommy's Lady Gaga comment was great on Grammy night. 

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Don't forget you can pick up Darwin Took Steps prints, framed prints, stickers, shirts, greeting cards and potcards in my online store.  A portion of the profits goes to support The Beagle Project.  

And don't miss this post by Karen James of The Beagle Project on Scientific American's Guest Blog

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Print Shop

This contest is purely for entertainment purposes and fun.  I won't be held liable for sciencey-artsy fun under any circumstances.
The winner's print will not originate from my online store: I will make it in my studio on museum-grade paper with standard inkjet ink. 

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Darwin Day contest entries!

©  Glendon Mellow
My thanks to everyone who tweeted and shared and especially entered my Darwin Day contest that I posted on Friday.

The contest was to provide a tweet-length (140 characters) commentary about my painting Darwin Took Steps - humour, poetry, insight all acceptable. Winner gets a signed print. It's science-history-surreal-portrait-art, it can be fun.

Here are all the entries.  Brilliant stuff.




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Sorry, I didn't mean to stair. - Richard Carter, FCD.

Upon the heads of giants we will see yet further than we ever could on their shoulders. What new vistas will entice us from there. - Steampunk Professor

Lady GaGa claims “Origin of Species” inspired her latest outfit. “I think he took step classes.” she said, waving ‘The Tree’ at her fans. - Tommy

Oh good, the Pope declared Science as a work of God and that includes Evolution as well! #makingstrides -Thomas Stacey-Holmes

The biologist's stairway to heaven. - Morgan Jackson

Far-thinking fellow
Darwin placed atop the tree
Branch diversity

-nhigh

"I think.." that the tree of life branches out from a common root, climbing past Paley. - Mike Haubrich, FCD

Darwin took steps, many years ago, to unravel nature's ways. Now The Beagle continues to spark young minds to explore the land, the seas. - Eric Heupel

His idea paved the way, but some found themselves unwilling to ascend.his notional staircase. Those who did: awestruck, beyond description. - Adrian J. Ebsary

Preconceptions dropped away / As he stood atop Bartolome. / For Darwin, a glimpse of nature's plan: / Ascent of stairs, Descent of Man. - e_journeys

Although #Darwin Took Steps, Many Further Steps Have Been Made Since in Evolutionary Biology - The Dispersal of Darwin

Biology as a stairway still being built, as the tree of life still keeps growing. - soniahs

Progress is made by standing on the shoulders of giants; some giants provide more than their shoulders, expanding our minds with new ideas! - Morgan Jackson

"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the stairs coming out of the heads of giants." -Arvind

Looking at the variety of head shapes, it seems incredible that all of these Darwins evolved from a common ancestor. - Joseph Hewitt

the stairway to evolution - Kyle Gillespie

Darwin got his idea for "Descent of Man" one day when someone walked down the stairs and slid down his forehead. - coturnix

Crap! Uh, Darwin's cool, had a good head of stairs! On his shoulders! - ScottE

There's a guy who’s sure trilobites really fly
And he's building a stairway to heaven.
When he gets there, he's humble even though he likes scumble
With a word he built it on Darwin's head.
-Creech

"The Theory of Evolution isn't just a step up from Special Creation. It's the whole flight." Lou FCD

"I think... I may have to see a doctor." - Mo Hassan


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See?  Gonna be tough.

Winner announced soon!  


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Friday, 11 February 2011

Darwin Day contest!

Several weeks ago, I began working on a new painting for Darwin Day.  However, with other deadlines looming and and still being awestruck by the existence of my newborn son, the new Darwin painting isn't near finished. 


But let this day not go unmarked at The Flying Trilobite!  Time for a contest. 


©  Glendon Mellow 2008. 

Write something about my Darwin Took Steps image in 140 characters or less (the same size as a Twitter tweet).  It could be a fictional quote, a line of poetry, something to do with The Beagle or evolution by natural selection. Will you focus on the stairs? The beard? The tree of life?  A comical way he got a staircase on his head? A  knock-knock joke? I'll leave it fairly open-ended. Amuse me. 


Contest closes at 12:01 am eastern standard time February 13th 2011 and I'll post the winner on the blog that Sunday. Multiple entries allowed, but they cannot be a series. A whole thought in one 140 character entry.

Entries should be submitted as a comment on this post on my blog, not on my Facebook or Twitter or other rss feed related places.

The winner will receive a signed Darwin Took Steps print in snail mail. Remember, you can also order this print in a variety of ways from my online store, and a portion of the profit goes to The Beagle Project.

Merry Darwin Day!

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite © to Glendon Mellow

Print Shop

This contest is purely for entertainment purposes and fun.  I won't be held liable for sciencey-artsy fun under any circumstances.
The winner's print will not originate from my online store: I will make it in my studio on museum-grade paper with standard inkjet ink. 

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Scumble #12

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 semi-weekly highlight of some of posts I found interesting, most provocative, or otherwise caught my eye from the Science Artists Feed, and other sources. Higher than normal number of posts emanating from here in Toronto this edition. Sit back, have a finely ground coffee and enjoy.


Click here for earlier Scumbles.

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3-D Paintings on Panes of Glass, Visual News.  Hat-tip to Lucy Walsh.

Tripping the light fantastic, Cocktail Party Physics.

Visceral Curator: making art out of living tissue, Amanda Gefter interviews Oron Catts, CultureLab.

The house that math built, Katie Daubs, Toronto Star.

More ROM sketches, Sketchkrieg!

ROM! (Royal Ontario Museum), Jesse Graham Illustration.

Louis Kahn and Travertine, Stories in Stone.  Geometry and architecture.

Wikipedia Color Resources, lines and color.

Engravings of Darwin by Meredith Nugent, The Dispersal of Darwin.

Unnatural Selection: this anti-intellectual flashes back to the first time she fell in love with the rest of the 4-atom world, Hybrids of Art and Science. 
Van Gogh's Color Schemes Served as Pie Charts, Gurney Journey.

Kinetica Art Fair: Zoo of the Future, Sci Art Sci.

WIP - Wolf, Heather Ward Wildlife Art.  There's always something haunting about Ward's works in progress: the hyper-real detail and empty negative space.

Neuroscientists try to unlock origins of creativity, Anne McIlroy, The Globe and Mail.

Colourblind fix for iPhone, An Eye for Science.

Plasma Accelerator Plume, Fresh Photons.

Students Overcome Their Fear of Drawing in the Botany Lab, ArtPlantae Today. 

Boo - Kathrun Chorney's Eurasian Eagle Owl, SONSI.

Why I don't like Tumblr: mystery cephalopod islands, The Flying Trilobite.

Grow Up, drip. Funny cartoon for scientific illustrators.


Finally, if I had to pick a link that wins the Scumble this week, it would be this one:


How many bytes in a trilobite? archy.


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow


Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Why I don't like Tumblr: mystery cephalopod islands

While preparing the latest Scumble round-up of science-art, I wanted to include this amazing image:

© an unidentified artist - who is it?



It was "liked" and shared via Google Reader from someone I follow.  Note, there's no visible signature on the image. It was shared from here, a Tumblr blog, and it looks like it originally was posted here.

My purpose here is not to single out this specific Tumblr blogger. Tumblr makes it easy to reblog an image, even one that has no attribution to its original creator. And this very cool surreal image of an island town built on an octopus has been reblogged and liked 535 times. Without the artist getting any credit at all.

The problem is not the Tumblr software, it's the culture of re-posting without respect to the image creators that has developed on Tumblr. It's so quick, most people posting images don't write anything at all, no title for their post, no comments on why they liked it, nothing.

There is some hope that this disrespect is recognized in the Tumblr community: Reblogged To Give Credit seem sto care. (Check out the url.)  There are others too.

As readers of The Flying Trilobite know, I sometimes advocate for better image attribution on blogs. It's a problem. Images are treated as important and noteworthy, but their creators are often treated as unimportant and worthless.

I realize I am being a hypocrite for re-posting this image yet again - indeed, in the past I've parted ways with my Art Evolved peeps on whether or not it's a good idea to post unattributed images in the hopes of repatriating their ownership.  But I thought I would try to re-post it the same way Art Evolved does on occasion: in the hopes of finding out from my readership if anyone knows who the talented artist is behind it. So far, my Google-fu fails me. I've tried "octopus island", "cephalopod fantasy painting" and about 10 other combinations, and no luck.

One of the Tumblr blogs had an interesting link I hadn't seen before: to a site called TinEye which searches for images and tells you where their being used. I put Darwin Took Steps into it, and TinEye matched the image to me as the most likely source.
Unfortunately, no joy for the Octopus Island.

Anyone recognize the artist behind this?
Any other artists find more trouble with Tumblr than other platforms?

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Monday, 7 February 2011

Art Monday: Dimetrodon Sphinx wip

This work in progress is one I'm using as a warm-up while working on contracts. Click to enlarge the screen-capture. 

©  Glendon Mellow 2011




I'm getting better at painting while holding the baby.  With analog oils, it would be impossible - brush cleaning, mixing, squeezing tubes- but digital works just fine. I really appreciate the weight of my Wacom Intuos 3 tablet right now, it stays put on the desk.

There's something about ArtRage I'm still learning to overcome: it's way too easy to get lost in too much texture, without letting the eye breathe.  In analog ("real") oil painting, some linseed on a fan brush, and I'd just blend it all away.  In ArtRage 2.5, I really haven't found an effective way to do this yet. Perhaps lots of thinner on a pale colour, low opacity? Using the palette knife tool sometimes comes close to what I want.

I wonder if that type of blending is easier in ArtRage 3.0.  Can't wait to get my hands on that program.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

WIP and Family-Life Balance

Some new digital character works-in-progress for the Trilobite Boy story.  These are desktop screenshots of the wips in ArtRage.  Click to enlarge.

Anomalocarid Girl Rising © Glendon Mellow 2011

 
Trilobite Boy meets Anomalocarid Girl © Glendon Mellow 2011


Dimetrodon Sphinx © Glendon Mellow 2011

All of the above are stand-alone shots, maybe issue covers for the Trilobite Boy story I'd like to work on throughout 2011.  So far, the actual story pages remain in thumbnail form in my sketchbook.  With a 5-week old baby in the house, I'm happy to jump from image to image for the moment for Trilobite Boy. The exception of course are the couple of paying contracts I have to do at the moment.

Finding a work and life balance while at home with a newborn is challenging, but doable. So far, it's hard to know which nap is going to turn into a 3 or 4 hour stretch where I can get some artwork done in amongst the usual household stuff, so I'm trying to do what I can in little bits.  The downside is that between a seasonal cold and the erratic hours, I haven't been as focused as I like to be.

My hours are also fascinatingly messed up. Last night, I worked on adapting a couple of images for a magazine publication until 5 a.m. after the little guy work up and feel back asleep between 2 and 3 a.m. MIchelle and I are working out how things run and both trying to relieve each other when exhaustion sets in.  We're tracking his sleep cycle a bit now to see if we can predict what the little guy may do.

I will say this though - he's just over a month old and I wouldn't trade spending that first month home with my wife and son for anything.  Every day, Calvin is awesome. He's healthy, easy-going and fascinated by everything.

Here's a picture of Calvin! 
Calvin learning to discuss the difference between "is" and "ought".


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Copyright © 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Glendon Mellow. All rights reserved. See Creative Commons Licence above in the sidebar for details.