Monday 31 August 2009

Art Monday: sketch for Art Evolved Gallery

Just a quick Art Monday while I try to give myself a crash course in ArtRage.

Over at Art Evolved, the next group paleo gallery (tomorrow! yipes!) is about Anomalocaris.
For a long while now I've had an idea to do a series of Precambrian-inspired clothing.
Anomalocaris is supposed to be (in my mind) similar to the whole preying mantis/black widow/femme fatale aesthetic.

This was the original, unfinished painting fro
m a couple of years ago: And here's my new sketch: I had a model pose for the shoulders. Apparently, that is quite an uncomfortable combination of hip and neck tilts. Instead of being underwater as in the original, I decided to make her emerging from it.

Off to try ArtRage!

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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 ***

Foundation Beyond Belief

Foundation Beyond Belief is a new secular humanist charitable organization in progress, largely founded by Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers author Dale McGowan. Dale also blogs at The Meming of Life which has an astoundingly good banner...oops, off-topic.)

Parenting Beyond Belief
is an astoundingly useful freethought book, not just for breeders or breeders-to-be, but for any atheist or humanist who looks for a few sign posts on how to live in an (almost) overwhelmingly religious world.

(From their Facebook Causes page) The Foundation Beyond Belief is meant:
1. To focus, encourage, and demonstrate humanist generosity
2. To support the next phase in humanist parent education

To quote Dale, "We’re making no little plans here, and there’s the potential to do something pretty earthshaking. But this is a community thing, or it’s nothing. We’ll need your help."

The fledgling Foundation is in its last few hours of an initial and modest pledge drive: do what I did. Donate what you can. Join the Facebook Causes group, or sign up for email updates.

Atheists, humanists and freethinkers have charity in us too. You know you wanna!

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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 ***

Meeting Bloggers: Blue Future

The list of bloggers I'd love to meet is long, but the list of them who I feel like I've already met is pretty short.

Leading the pack in so many ways is Mike Haubrich of Tangled Up In Blue Guy.

Mike has continually written insightful posts on such a wide range of topics, he's easy to get to know. His intellectual understanding of the angst and weariness atheists often feel does not stop him from standing firm against the tide of religion-state trends harrowing the U.S. Just read the gentlemanly (and I say as a compliment, typical) atheistic way Mike dealt with Ramadan and DQ Frozen Cake. He doesn't scream and froth, he elucidates.

Mike has also habitually been a big booster of my artwork, not only on his blog and mine, but others as well. If it wasn't for Mike, Dan and I might have remained in broken-email-limbo instead of making the Migrations banner, which I like to think turned out fantastically well. I've taken inspiration from his support and friendship on more than one occasion. And if I think back, Mike is one of the people who first got me thinking about the wild and wonderful Beagle Project. Over Facebook, Mike has introduced me to interesting people such as Stephanie Svan. When I was at Science Online '09, it almost felt like he was there.

When I think about blogging, I think about Tangled Up In Blue Guy. Happy Birthday, Mike! One day, let's stand on the deck of the Beagle together and have a cup of joe.

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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 30 August 2009

Airing out

Let me begin by saying that I have always known that by publicly stating I am an atheist, a secular humanist, (I've described myself as a Bright in the past as well) I may lock myself out of some art & illustration jobs. There's an excellent xkcd cartoon about this, my very favourite. I know some people may not feel comfortable hiring an atheist who loves evolution to paint for them. Like many artists, I have my areas of interest and my specific abilities, and it's not going to suit everyone.

However, in some recent posts about a popular contest here on The Flying Trilobite, a young person spouted a series of lies about me. I responded, they backed down and deleted their long comment. I re-posted it for a couple of days, not appreciating the hit-and-run.

I then rationalized, perhaps I will remove the comments, and try to engage this person in dialogue via email. (Which I may no longer do. I will think about it.)

I've changed my mind again. You see, I don't like to think of myself as an aggressive and insulting atheist, though I believe for things to change, some ridicule of some beliefs is likely to help some of the time, just as conciliatory and across-the-table discussions will help some of the time.

I am going to re-post the exchange, to air things out on this blog. My contest was very very popular, I am happy to note, and now I am concerned that the higher-than-normal readership may have the wrong impression due to a single commenter's lying remarks. I've had a couple of responses from professional correspondents now who think I have called religious people "idiots" or "insane". I believe it is likely that in reading this person's comments, people have the wrong impression of me.

I always knew I may miss some art jobs and experiences based on my beliefs but I don't want to miss some based on lies about my beliefs and statements.

Comments are in chronological order below. I am only re-posting things that were originally publicly available on this blog, and not private exchanges. I am removing the commenter's name since to me they appear conflicted about science religion, and though they go off on these rants on a number of blogs, I believe they truly do love paleontology. I'll refer to the commenter as "MC" for "misguided commenter". Edited only for the amount of spaces between paragraphs, and the person's name.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
-The original post showing a painting and it's explanation is here.

-Keep in mind I don't specifically mention "religious people" and instead present the painting as an homage to atheist bloggers I admire, and mention how painting themes of an atheistic nature is difficult for me since I don't want to be overly mocking.

-MC comment #1:

I agree with you that religion is dangerous and Most "Christians" take it TOO far, though I have to speak from an Darwinist Christian much like Paleontologist Robert T. Bakker. I do NOT agree that it should be taken out completely, though, let me set this straight. I may be a Christian, but I am NOT religious!! I do NOT do the whole Zippity-doo-da and become an @$$ to others!! I live the Zen and by Reason and Science! We ARE having that problem in U.S. and we may have to do that, though technically we can't because of our First Amendment in our Bill of Rights. Basically, any, and all attempts to do so are Unconstitutional. We COULD Amend it, though I think that it NOT everybody, even, Democrats would agree that it would be the best option. Doing so may start another Civil War, sadly.

Anywho, I'm afraid that cutting out religion just isn't fair, as it's NOT everybody who does this. I feel the same way you do, but calling their belief in a God and Jesus insane, not only insults them, but me as well.

I think I am hurt by your suggestion that you sterotype people like me and Dr. Robert T. Bakker like that.

Don't get me wrong, I KNOW and AGREE of the dangers of religion, but simply persecuting and insulting their beliefs is the same thing they do.

There, simply, must be another way.

I'm sorry to say, Glendon, I respect and agree with Richard Dawkins from a scientific standpoint, but his insults about MOST Christian people that ARE good and Open-Minded, just hurts me that someone like him stereotypes religious groups because he is Aetheist. I may NOT always agree with him, but I still respect his opinions and yours.

Please, forgive my rant. :P

-My response:
Hi (MC),

I must admit I think if anyone should feel insulted it might be me after the accusations you have thrown my way. However, I'll give you some benefit of doubt, and make myself clear.

(Please feel free to correct me if I am misrepresenting my views from an earlier post.)

Bakker's book The Dinosaur Heresies is one of my all-time faves. Exploding dogmatic ideas and amazing art. That doesn't mean I need to agree with him on everything though, or with you on everything.

What exactly do you think I am saying your country's constitution should be changed to? I don't recall making any such assertions. I'm Canadian by the way.

I also haven't advocated persecuting anyone for their beliefs.

I don't specifically recall tweeting, blogging, IM-ing the moment where I said "belief in God or Jesus is insane" as you are saying I did.

I do think I have the right to call a belief of any kind an insulting name, or give it a compliment as I wish. One of my favourite things about Canada and the 'States is freedom of speech. I like to think I am measured in my responses, though I can't please everyone.

As for your opinion of Dawkins, my best response to read some of his work.

*sigh* If putting up a painting with chess pieces to describe my feelings about science and religion is going to lead to this many misunderstandings in a single comment of yours, please feel free not to come back to my blog (MC). You and I have now cluttered up enough contest entry space with this. Done.

-MC's response:
You're right, Glendon. ;( I'm sorry! It's just a sensitive topic for me and I will delete my response promptly. :( Dude, please forgive me.
(response deleted by commenter)

-My next response:
I don't appreciate the hit-and-run. I received your two apologies, but I am copy-&-pasting your original comment that you deleted.

Accusing me of saying things I never said doesn't get you off the hook just because of a simple "sorry" and deletion. Disagreeing with me is fine, though I will debate and argue back. If you really want to apologize, do it with your actions and stop throwing wrongful accusations around in the future.

Your words from the deleted comment above, minus some of the large spaces between paragraphs:
(I then re-posted MC's original comment from above.)

-After a couple of days, I deleted all the comments from this exchange.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I'm not sure where to go with this next. I'm upset that my professional reputation could possibly be injured by a drive-by set of ridiculous comments about things I never said. What is likely, is that I will erase the comments from MC in the future as soon as they come. I'm not about to institute moderation for everyone for one person.

I hope the words above will clear the air somewhat, and that the painting can be seen as hardly provocative of the comments this person threw at 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 ***

Friday 28 August 2009

Contest winner!

Winner of my first contest:


Bora, you will receive a signed print of Science-Chess Accomodating Religion some time in the next few weeks.

Holy Monkey that was close.

I had to call in a second judge to weigh in accuracy factors and the timing of entries. I've also already, (appropriately, I think) tweeted the winning announcement.

Here are my original ideas, and a breakdown of how Coturnix won the print:
Pieces in the back, left to right:
-Darwin's tree of life drawing
-Wave-particle duality
-Kekule's dream of an ourobouros representing the benzene ring
-Mendel's peas
-Copernican heliocentrism
-Red bishop as religion, transparent, cracked, alone and with a halo, the halo being a symbol that most religions incorporate into their visual iconography
Toppled in the foreground, left to right:
-Stem cells
-Needle representing vaccines

But dude, this was close.

Basically, by mine and my second judge's tally, Scicurious actually had all of the correct answers - but the last after contest closing at noon today. Sorry Sci! I had to draw a line.

The piece representing wave-particle duality was the toughie - some of the answers had me scurrying to look up science concepts or history I was unaware of! Anonymous-Trish had it almost bang-on, but if I am looking at the difference between Coturnix's "radioactivity" answer and Anon-Trish & James' "
Curie's theory of radioactive decay and using it for carbon dating", I chose the earlier answer.

Thanks to everyone who played along - this was fun. And I like Bora's suggestion to see this on a t-shirt. And I think I need to send Greg Laden a Mr. Bill made out of plasticine.

Thanks everyone!
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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 22 August 2009

"Science-Chess Accommodating Religion"...contest!

"I'm thinking scientific accommodation of religion is akin to letting someone take your King's Rook off the board because you're winning."

This painting was originally created due to the above Twitter tweet I made, inspired by the writing of Jerry Coyne, Ophelia Benson, PZ Myers, Mike Haubrich, Stephanie Zvan, Greg Laden, Jason Thibeault, Russell Blackford and Richard Dawkins. This painting is an homage to your writing, and the other atheists out there unafraid to speak up (I am sure I have left many out). Mike liked it enough to add it to his rotating quotes, and that got me thinking about how I would visualize it.

Since I began blogging my art, I have struggled with themes of secularism and atheism without being cartoonish or overly mocking. Science and my surreal riffs are fun and fascinating for me, but atheist painting concepts have been a challenge.

The contest
: identify all the pieces. I will give the first person to figure them all out a signed print from my reproduction store. Blog comments here at this Flying Trilobite post only to qualify (not Twitter or Facebook at this time, please, it will be hard to see who was first). A higher quality view of the image can be seen in my
Reproduction Shop.

Let's order of left to right, with the two toppled pieces in the foreground following the red piece in sequence?
I will be away for my usual Art Monday, so let's leave this contest in its stead.
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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 August 2009

Fanboy Monday: Capturing Man-Thing!

Lately I've been filling my sketchbook with some of my favourite characters from various pop culture franchises in a very fanboy-ish manner. So for the month of August, expect each Art Monday to feature something fun and different from usual Flying Trilobite fare.

Created for Marvel by Stan Lee, Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas and artist Gray Morrow (who has an awesome name), Man-Thing is a swamp creature that is arguably representative 1970's comic world's fascination with monsters. A living mass of swamp matter who burns evildoers with an acidic touch, Man-Thing was scientist Ted Sallis who has lost his humanity and mind. Steve Gerber is generally credited with doing the seminal Man-Thing storyline, though I was a big fan of the art and writing in the 1997 series by J.M. DeMatteis and artist Liam Sharp.

Despite the science-y beginnings, Man-Thing is often used as a more or less supernatural guardian of realities, and changes form in his travels out of the swamp. He meets tons of mainstream Marvel characters, from Spider-Man to the Thing to Howard the Duck.

I know there are a lot of comparisons with DC's Swamp Thing, but I love this character's look. The weird facial tendrils give him both the look of a being of vines and an elephant. In this drawing, I thought I would have Man-Thing being captured by some sort of quartz, and being frozen to the ground. I also gave him a big belly, and little "eyelashes" similar to the sweet-scented drops on a carnivorous sundew plant.

Colour? I'm not sure...

Next week: ??

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.
Man-Thing is copyright and trademark to Marvel Comics.
This is a fan homage, not a licensed illustration.
Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Friday 14 August 2009

Creative Spaces - Closet Creativity

Artist-writer-oaf Sean Craven of Renaissance Oaf and I have talked about how fascinating it is to peek inside another creative person's studio space. To quote Sean, "I'm always fascinated by the workspaces of creative types. The factories of the culture industry, the monastic hives of the culturally isolated, closets and couches as well as studios or arts centers."

Sean has started things off with Ascending the Lavender Staircase his Workstation and Decor by Default. So let's whisk into the wall of my living room.

My baseball-playing, special education teaching, gorgeous wife Michelle and I live in an ancient 3 story apartment just west of downtown where Littles Italy, Portugual and Brazil meet. It's a two-bedroom, and because our nephew stays over once a week, a few years ago we gave him the second bedroom as his own. Michelle's office moved to the living room. I offered to take one of our two huge living room closets. I didn't want the little guy messing with my painty chemicals.

So let's pull one book out on the shelf and whisk into the wall of my living room. My studio is a closet, painted to look like part of the wall. I don't have a lot of photos of the outside of the studio. Here's one from a couple of year's back. It's behind my holiday smile. Weird colours in that photo. The walls are actually more neutral blue-green.

This is just inside. You can see I have pieces of the Of Two Minds and Meming of Life banners tacked to the door. I also sometimes pour stand oil, a thick-as-honey heated linseed oil on top of my finished paintings, like the diatom fairy painting in the foreground. Gives it a mottled, glossy surface.

The view above my card table/drawing surface. Some pieces from the Migrations banner, and a large drawing about my asthma and lungs in general I did years ago.
Almost every surface of the studio is crammed with my images. I find it helps me to recall brushtrokes or colours I may presently be having trouble with. One of my only non-mybigego images is an article entitled "Evolution, and nothing more" by Jerry Coyne, published in Canada's National Post on Friday 2nd of December, 2005. It was a one page rebuttal to the previous day's insipid "intelligent design" article. It was the first time I had ever read Jerry Coyne, and it electrified me. I was drawing and talking about it like crazy. So now it's plaque-mounted and been in my studio space ever since.
Paintings, collapsible easel, buncha portfolios. Naked humans with mitochondria and trilobites.
They say the trick to taking pictures of oil paints is to use 2 bright bulbs at 45 degree angles or less and very distant from the painting. I paint in a closet. Meh.
My original painting-drawing for the current blog banner actually just moves awkwardly around the studio (below on my paint-box). The drawing is lined up on a piece of bristol that I carelessly got squidges of paint on. I really need to get that framed properly. Haldane's Precambrian Puzzle is under glass in a hinged 12x12 scrapbooking frame.

The wooden flying trilobite necklace Tanja Sova made and gave me is hanging below.
Our home has books in almost every room. Like Bond, I like to have some inspiration and reference close at hand. The bright blue book below the awesome Art S. Buck mannequins and Precambrian toys is my mother's original nursing anatomy book. Books on concept art, atheism, science and art techniques all sit hand in hand on there. And Twisted Toyfare Theatre tends to creep in sometimes.
Paint! I use such thin layers when I paint, many of those tubes are from when I originally worked on my undergrad 12 years ago. I think I have only replaced the lamp black, titanium white and naples yellow. More storage portfolios, one with another diatom fairy from the period when all my people had green skin.
If studio spaces are like a room into the mind of the artist, mine is fit to burst. Or collapse inward and make a crushing singularity.
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This trip into Creative Spaces wouldn't be half as fun if it wasn't continued by others. Some Creative Spaces I'd love to see: Almost Diamonds, eTrilobite, The Day After, Heather Ward Wildlife Art, Claudia Massie and State of the Art. If you participate, feel free to use Sean's excellent logo above! We plan on collecting all the links in a post on Art Evolved.
- - - -
Other Creative Spaces so far:
*Renaissance Oaf, Parts one, two, three.
*Bond's Blog

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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 13 August 2009

Bring Bing Back!

We gotta bring Bing home.

Bing left home and has sent amazing photos back from across the Pacific. Some with little robots. I know that piqued your interest. Little robots! The photography is all that and a bag of squid-ink chips. (Except for that one where he has a giant Buddha stuck to his head. That's just weird.)

The Son of a Blue Guy is in Japan, and needs to get back to Minnesota. His new friends in Japan want to keep him there. In fact, they have threatened to hold him for ransom unless his North American friends and family do two things:

1. Answer questions about Japan/Nippon culture and cuisine.
2. Donate money to help his mother pay the plane fare for his trip.

It's tempting for a young man to stay in Japan, because so far he has found the food to be awesome and the shopping (even in vending machines) to be, let's say, "unique." In fact, the Japanese students think that if he stays long enough he could use his ninja powers to be Emperor someday. I don't think that this would be a good thing for world peace, as Bing has not worked out his "Megalomania" issues and bad things could happen.
So I've heard. The robots are in the photo for a reason after all.

The question The Flying Trilobite has been assigned to help Bing is:
The name “Japan” is an exonym. Exonyms are place-names not used in the native language nor by the native people. The endonyms for Japan are “Nippon” (formal) or “Nihon” (informal.) The origin of the word “Japan” is traced back to Portuguese sailors who adapted it from the language of:

a. Vietnam
b. Korea
c. Malaysia
d. Hawai'i

Click! Donate some cha-ching to bring Bing back! (A part of me wants him to bring giant conquering Gundams with nunchuk skills.)

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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 August 2009

Fanboy Monday: Cloak & Dagger sketches

Lately I've been filling my sketchbook with some of my favourite characters from various pop culture franchises in a very fanboy-ish manner. So for the month of August, expect each Art Monday to feature something fun and different from usual Flying Trilobite fare.

Cloak & Dagger are two of my favourite Marvel Comics characters, created by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan. The duo are teen runaways who were forced to take a fictional, experimental synthetic heroin, which unleashed their powers. They have fought alongside superhero staples such as Spider-Man, the Punisher and Dr. Strange in their efforts to stop the drug trade, lead normal lives and rescue the innocent. I drew these two in my trusty Moleskine Folio book.

Cloak's real name is Tyrone Johnson. He's a nice guy, a stutterer and he suffers from low self-esteem. When he is Cloak, he can travel through darkness, sweep the guilty into his cloak and the demons within will feed on their guilt. Or their "light". Or their minds. It's a bit vague, which helps with both science-y and magical plots. Unlike his alter-ego Tyrone, Cloak is haughty, brooding and does not stutter. Both as Cloak and Tyrone, he worries he's not good enough for Dagger, on whom he depends to feed him with light to keep the demons inside his cloak.

Tandy Bowen is a rich kid who ran away, and met Tyrone at the bus station. She was an excellent dancer, at one point became blind (with some well-researched stories about what that's like by writer Terry Austin). She can throw light 'daggers' at criminals and infuse them with a sort of pure goodness, painful to their evil bodies. The blindness got better.

Costume-wise, these two represent for me comic characters at their most iconic. Cloak's deep blue and black costume with only his human face -invariably with glowing eyes, and sometimes deep lines- is mysterious and spirit-like. I wanted to show here that his cloak is not always a solid article of clothing, but more unreal, like a piece of fabric you could be lost in.

Dagger on the other hand has one of the only excuses for a superhero to be wearing tights. She's a dancer, and in battle usually gracefully leaps toward the villain hurtling light-daggers at the foe. The deep cutout dagger shape on the skin-tight costume gives her an almost scandalous look, which really doesn't come out in her personality. And I love that weird circle around her right eye.

These days, usually both male and female comic characters have unrealistic bodies, but Cloak's swirling costume, and Dagger's skinny physique are different from that.

Hmm. I will see what I can do about oil painting these two and using Gimp to assemble the final piece.

- - -
Next week: more Marvel!
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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 ***
Cloak & Dagger
are copyright and trademark to Marvel Comics.
This is a fan homage, not a licensed illustration.

Thursday 6 August 2009

Subway trilobite with Brushes app

Still practicing with the Brushes app on my iPod Touch. Did this while on the streetcar and subway yesterday. I kind of like the sketchy pencil lines. Trying to keep my practice pieces simple. Limited colour palette, subject I'm familiar with and a dark background. I think that's always best when exploring a new medium.

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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 August 2009

Fanboy Monday: Fanboy Month Begins at the Ent

Lately I've been filling my sketchbook with some of my favourite characters from various pop culture franchises in a very fanboy-ish manner. So for the month of August, expect each Art Monday to feature something fun and different from usual Flying Trilobite fare. There are still a number of paintings not under the fanboy umbrella that I aim to crank out this month. Y'see I'm practicing not-sleeping for when I return to school in September.

Today, let's begin at the Ent.

Pencil in my super-awesome giant Moleskine Folio. I created this piece for Henry Gee and the magazine Mallorn. (I'm hoping it sees publication! Naked desire! There!) Henry was looking for something different than the work of Peter Jackson's films, or D&D derived imagery. I knew almost right away I wanted to do an Ent walking surrealistically on tiny roots and eyes blinking out of knots.

I think it's going to eat the wizard-dude though.
- - -
Next week: let's bust out some Marvel Comics, shall we?
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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 2 August 2009


Computer Transitions
Immediately after logging out of Blogger on last week's Art Monday, our Compaq Presario R3000 with the busted screen froze and restarted with an error we may not be able to fix. Thanks to a couple of helpful bloggers, (Thanks ScottE and Lousy Canuck!) I may be able to rescue the family photos we were still in the process of backing up. My artwork is relatively safe on an external hard drive and USB key and my iPod Touch. Back-up your files, kids!

At the moment, I'm working from a loaner pc my wife's mom lent us: Thanks bunches, S! I was hoping to budget a new inexpensive pc for my return to my undergrad this September. Innumerable people have suggested I invest in a Mac, but I'm not sure that's in the budgetary cards right now. At any rate, even an inexpensive Acer or equivalent will seem like
a dream after what I've been using since starting The Flying Trilobite.

Our laptop had a number of problems. We bought it lovingly used from a friend and it was great. After one cold night walk outside to a friend's place, the top right of the screen lost half of its pixels. You could kind of bend it and they'd snap back on for a few seconds. A few months ago, our old Photoshop CS stopped working, due to the software licence number not being registered - I was sure the copy we purchased with the laptop was legit, but at any rate, the operator's recommendation was to sink $700 into Photoshop CS4. I'd love to. For the moment though, I downloaded GIMP free software, and I have been eyeing Artrage for the new computer when we get it. My Wacom Intuos 3 came with some nifty software I'll load onto it as well.

And that's something important that needs to be said to all the aspiring artists who m
ight read this, or colleagues who fall on hard times. Your tools only carry you so far. If you think the art I produce has any degree of technical ability at all, keep in mind I've been using a 5+ year old laptop with a busted screen that takes 15 minutes to log onto DSL connected internet. I'll say it again: your tools only carry you so far. The rest is practice practice practice. Do what you are good at. Expand your skill set by experimenting a bit at a time, pace yourself at integrating new lessons.

School Transitions
I'm a student again. This is a weird feeling, but in a few weeks I'll be headed back to York University to complete an undergrad I left incomplete about 12 years ago. My wife and I met shortly after I left school, so she doesn't know what I'm lik
e as a single-minded obsessed art student. Oh dear.

It seems like a fool's hope that I will go beyond the undergrad, what with working, food near a table, roof in the vicinity of heads etc., but I admit I've begun to think about it. What I'd really love to do is illustrate full-time. I think my personal life is gonna be busy this year.

Blog+Art Transitions
I think this blog is slowly expanding into some new areas beyond the art. I'm commenting more on the nature of being an atheist today, and being
a tad more personal.

Art-wise, expect to see some new themes as well. It'll always be Art in Awe of Science, I'm simply adding more things to the mix. I aim to do some pop-nerd culture drawings for the August Art Mondays. 'Cuz why not?

I have loads of artwork I'd like to wrap up in this month before school starts, and I've bought my supplies (except that pesky new computer). Always willing to let a contract interrupt though! I promised myself I'd stop announcing artwork I haven't completed but here's a list of things on my slate to be checked off when I can. (There, that's nice and vague.)

-New Diatom Fairy piece. Sketch here and at right. Diatom Fairies are basically my wife Michelle who doesn't like looking at herself in paintings. Which is weird because she's gorgeous.
-My submission to the Coyne/Benson/Myers/Haubrich/etc accommodationist-Vs-atheist in science debate. Almost done. Involves science-chess pieces.
-Three new t-shirt ideas. Camouflage flying trilobite insignia, albino squirrel doing tai-chi, and a butterfly-winged trilobite. These'll probably have to wait until I'm settled into a new computer.
-A mysterious planned image for The Beagle Project. Got the wood panel ready, and prelim drawings done.
-A number of Lord of the Rings drawings, Marvel comic characters and a new image of my Trilobot Transformer to complete for the next few art Mondays.

You know when you have that feeling? Like, where will I be in one year's time? Everything feels in flux right now, and in a good way. Even with the toasted-'puter.

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

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