Smudgy Clouds and Art Conventions

Sometimes real life looks kind of fake. Or it would if you tried to paint it. Lurid pink, purple and orange sunsets. Up close detail of tree bark. 


Or this morning's low hanging clouds over Toronto. They look like poor use of the Photoshop smudge tool. 

When painting, we sometimes stick to conventions based on viewer expectation instead of what nature actually looks like. It's rooted in the same impulse that children use when always picking blue for colouring skies even though in they may just as often be grey. 

Bora Zivkovic to Visit Toronto

Bora Zivkovic

The Blogfather himself, Bora Zivkovic of Scientific American, ScienceOnline, OpenLab and circadian-rhythm-awesomeness is coming to Toronto next week!

Bora will be giving a talk at my alma mater York University, about Science and the New Media Ecosystem from 2:00-3:30. 

Here's the deets:

Science and the New Media Ecosystem

Bora Zivkovic, Blog Editor at Scientific American
Monday, May 6, 2013, 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Paul Delaney Gallery, Room 320, Bethune College
York University, Toronto
Map
Abstract: The whole media landscape is shifting and changing – newspapers on the decline with blogs, Twitter and YouTube on the rise.
Science is no different. Come listen to one of the pioneers of online science communication talk about how this new media landscape is shaping how science is done, evaluated and communicated in an increasingly connected world.

John Dupuis, the Science Librarian with Bora Zivkovic from ScienceOnline2012.

There's also going to be a tweet-up Monday night! Check out the Facebook page, and here's the info: Monday May 6th, 7pm Duke of York Tavern. Map. Thanks so much to John Dupuis for organizing these events, (and Romeo Vitelli for starting the FB page!)

Both events are open to the public. I'll be at the tweet-up for sure, so say hi to the guy with the winged trilobite tattoo on his arm!



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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite © to Glendon Mellow
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Reminder: SONSI Science-Art Talks in Toronto this weekend!



I'll be one of the presenters at this weekend's Southern Ontario Nature and Science Illustrator's series of professional talks.  These should be a great help to illustrators of all stripes, and I'm psyched about the day.
Here's a link to the official blurb, and I've re-posted it below.

Invitation to all illustrators in Southern Ontario:

SONSI's 2011 Presentation Day
October 16, 2011 
12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Toronto's Harbourfront Community Centre
Assembly Room A
627 Queen’s Quay West, Toronto

Please join us for an afternoon of illustration-related presentations by members of the Southern Ontario Nature and Science Illustrators and a representative of Access Copyright. Light refreshments (coffee, cookies) will be provided.
For non-members, a $15 donation to SONSI is requested (or $10 for full-time students). This will help us cover the cost of facility rental and refreshments.

Space is limited so please register to attend by sending an e-mail to: sonsigroup@gmail.com


Agenda:
Arrive at noon, presentations begin promptly at 12:20.
12:20 pm to 1:30 pm "A Quick Look at Adobe Photoshop"
1:35 pm to 2:15 pm "What Access Copyright can do for Illustrators"
2:15-2:30 break
2:30 pm to 4 pm "Illustration Blogging; why it's essential"
4:10 pm to 4:50 pm "The Content of Contracts"

PROGRAM:
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"A Quick Look at Adobe Photoshop" by SONSI member Jeremy Loranger

Adobe Photoshop is one of the most powerful programs in an illustrator’s arsenal today. However useful it may be, Photoshop can also be quite a daunting program for newcomers. This presentation will serve as a brief introduction to the program as well as provide some very useful tips and tricks that are commonly overlooked in many tutorials. Proper file formatting for print and web, as well as web security for your work will also be discussed. Bring your questions!  


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"What Access Copyright can do for Illustrators" by Margaret McGuffin of Access Copyright
Every day across the country individuals in schools, businesses and government copy excerpts from published works to obtain the valuable content they need to get their jobs done. But are you - the owners of that content - being compensated? If one of your copyrighted illustrations is published in a book, newspaper, magazine, or journal, then you need to find about becoming an Access Copyright Affiliate. Don't miss out on Payback! Also, Margaret will explain what grants The Access Copyright Foundation offers to creators of copyrighted material, including Research and Professional Development Grants. 


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"Illustration Blogging: why it's essential" by SONSI member Glendon Mellow
How to dive into the online world of blogging and social media to find work, fulfilment and community. Worried about image theft and your copyright? Don't understand Twitter or G+? Want to see how easy it is to set up a blog?  Blogging your artwork can be essential in today's market - people expect to be able to provide feedback in numerous ways to images they find on the internet. We'll discuss the basics to the latest in social media for illustrators and how to be effectively busy online without losing control of your images and brand.

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"The Content of Contracts" by SONSI member Emily S. Damstra
Wondering if it's really worthwhile to have your clients sign an agreement? Worried that your contract is missing something? Frustrated that the contract your client provided isn't quite what you had in mind? Hear from someone who has signed a lot of contracts in her career; learn from her mistakes as well as her successes.


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The Southern Ontario Nature and Science Illustrators is a regional organization of illustrators whose works focus on science and nature.
Our goals are to:
  • Further our own professional development by learning from each other
  • Encourage each other toward higher standards of competence and ethics
  • Network and socialize with others having similar interests and work experiences
  • Support the intellectual property rights of visual artists
  • Promote our discipline to the general public and to potential clients
  • Educate the public about science and nature through our work
We meet every month or two throughout the year, primarily in locations between Kitchener and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Anyone with a genuine interest in nature and science illustration is welcome to join.
For more information about SONSI please visit our website: www.sonsi.ca
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Bios of presenters:


Jeremy Loranger has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Technical and Scientific Illustration from Sheridan College and has been working freelance for 2 years. His work covers a broad spectrum including fine art, biomedical textbook illustration, exploded isometric assembly diagrams, video game production art, and 3D modelling. http://www.jloranger.com/

Margaret McGuffin is Director of Licensing and Distribution Services at Access Copyright. Prior to joining Access Copyright, Margaret worked as a consultant providing business planning and research services to organizations including the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, Canadian Heritage and The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Margaret has been involved in the formation and development of a large number of music industry collective management organizations including the Canadian Private Copyright Collective and the Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada. Margaret currently sits on the Advisory Committee of MusiCounts which is a not-for-profit providing grants to schools across Canada for the purchase of musical instruments. She also spends a large amount of her free time in hockey arenas with her two children as a team manager and trainer. For more information about Access Copyright visit their website: http://www.accesscopyright.ca/

Glendon Mellow is a fine artist + illustrator whose projects have ranged from fine art commissions to tattoo design to museum display; appearing in magazines such as Earth and Secular Nation, in books such as Geology in Art and The Open Laboratory and sites such as io9.comHe has spoken at the Centre for Inquiry Ontario and at ScienceOnline.  Glendon is a co-blogger on the new Scientific American science-art blog Symbiartic and shares his art process at his blog The Flying Trilobite, and tweets at  @flyingtrilobite. His portfolio can be found at glendonmellow.com.

Emily S. Damstra has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Michigan and has been a full-time freelance illustrator for eleven years. Her clients have included the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, The City of Kitchener, The University of Michigan Press, Natural History Magazine, The Royal Canadian Mint, The Calgary Zoo, and many more. Visit her website: www.emilydamstra.com

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

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--> Find me on Symbiartic, the art+science blog on the new Scientific American Blog Network!

Religion in Science Education

© Glendon Mellow - glendonmellow.com. Under CCL.


Available as a card, print, framed print or poster in my online store.

Originally done for a PZ Myers - CFI event here in Toronto a few years back.

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

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Butter Tarts - Trilobite Boy #6



New Trilobite Boy webcomic!

This was done in about 45 minutes using ArtRage Studio Pro.
You can follow the adventures of Trilobite Boy on his Tumblr.
And you can see in-process Trilobite Boy art by clickety-clicking here.
Trilobite Boy prints, shirts and stickers available in my shop. 

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

Slutwalk and Koran Burning



[Preamble: I'm a white atheist straight male living in Toronto Canada. So, except for the atheist thing, I'm speaking on these political, gender and religious issues from a position of privilege. This blog post represents my understanding at the moment.]


SlutWalk
Today, here in my beloved city of Toronto a huge crowd rallied and marched and demonstrated in the first possibly annual Slutwalk. It was in response to an idiotic, insensitive hurtful, perpetuating-antiquated-stereotypes comment by a Toronto Police officer who said, "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized".

The SlutWalk encourages women to dress how they want to dress, and joined by their families if they wish, to march from Queen's Park (our Province of Ontario house of legislature for you non-Canucks) to Police Headquarters. The basic message is simple: it doesn't matter how a woman dresses, she is not asking to be assaulted or raped.

The SlutWalk Toronto site is here.
BlogTO.com has a great interview about it.
Our Lady of Perpetual Win comments about it on Almost Diamonds.
Some footage from the rally by Torontopia.

* * *
Koran Burning
To shift gears, let's look at the actions of the Pastor in the USA who burned a Koran after threatening months ago to do so.  At first largely unnoticed by mainstream media, it was announced in Afghanistan by Hamid Karzai. After last Friday's prayers, a mob, possibly filled with Taliban infiltrators left a mosque, rioted and attacked a UN building, beheading two, and killing in total 15 people, revised upwards to 21 the next day.

New York Times.
Sam Harris's take on his new blog, with which I largely agree.
Josh Rosenau's response on Thoughts from Kansas, with which I largely disagree.
Notes and Comment.
Why Evolution is True.


Josh and I had a brief discussion on Twitter about it. If I may say, in the end I concluded, "Well it seems you and I agree the pastor is wrong to some degree, but murder is worse than book-burning to some degree."The rest of the conversation was a disagreement over the degree of blame lies at the Pastor's feet.

Basically, I find a lot of attention and blame in the media and some bloggers online are blaming the idiotic Pastor who burned the Koran for the deaths of the UN officials and other civilians in Afghanistan. 

What he did was provocative and idiotic, but hardly worth murder, beheadings and attacking an all-girls school (wtf, but yes really).

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Responsibility for Violence
I can see a parallel - and very very significant differences- between the Pastor's Koran Burning and Slutwalk. Saying the Pastor should expect and therefore be be blamed for fanatical Islamic violence is similar in some ways to saying a "woman is asking for it". 

The Pastor is an ass - I personally don't like book burnings. I once worked at a school library where I was asked to burn some beautiful old Andrew Lang Colour Fairy books in the incinerator, because they were unpopular. I took 'em home. Josh pointed me to this post by PalMD pointing out that book-burning can be an act of violence and not just expression. But book-burning by a denounced nutbar should not be conflated to responsibility for beheading and murdering. 

Women should absolutely dress however they want. I agree with Ontario not having a double-standard when it comes to toplessness (though the social stigma is mainly still there, the legal barrier was and should have been removed.) Standards of what constitutes "proper" dress are fluid with the times and with individual tastes. One person's conservative is another person's offensive. And no clothing choice should be conflated to responsibility for being raped. 

In both situations, the blame for violence falls with the perpetrator of the violence, not with anyone who may or may not have provoked them.


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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Coffee with a travelling Beagler



Last weekend I had a great time having an Americano with wandering Beagle Project scientist/Twitterforceofnature Karen James here in my hometown.

That's us, by the giant thimble and buttons in Toronto's Fashion District. Note Karen is sporting the NASA hoodie, rockin the Galapagos tan and necklace and wearing open toes in November, here in Canada's south.  In November. I'm wearing the fashionable ex-goth-not-hipster ensemble.  With hair by Bike Helmet.

So good to see you Karen! Next time: the R.O.M.


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


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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.

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