Two-Headed Mutant Ammonite

© Glendon Mellow


I mentioned on Twitter I was drawing a two-headed mutant ammonite. 
Here's the discussion. 

















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

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

Nautilus Tattoo - hardcore ink

After posting Thomas Trae's Flying Trilobite tattoo here on the blog recently, I ended up in conversation on Twitter with Alchemystress of Tales of a Mad Scientist on the LabSpaces network.

Alchemystress was unfamiliar with my work to date, and after some enthusiastic emails, decided to get a tattoo based on this image, from one of my university studio projects!



Her tattoo artist did an incredible job of mimicking the pencil and giving it an old-drawing feel, as well as deftly expanding on the flowers I had included.


Check out the amazing ink below, after the jump:

















I can only imagine the delightful feeling of a tattoo right on the elbow. But Alchemystress is hardcore: check out these tattoos she already has! And there may be another - we're discussing a new custom tattoo. Thanks for admiring the artwork, Alchemystress!  Make sure to check out here blog, Tales of a Mad Scientist.

Okay so. Scicurious, Thomas Trae and now Alchemystress: We need leather biker jackets and matching Vespas and we will be a gang and we will be feared for we will bring the science.  



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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.
Above photos © Alchemystress

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Am I in the wrong business?  Should I start practicing on pumpkins?

Science-Artists Feed: the list

The other day I announced a Science-Artists feed anyone can subscribe to, allowing them the follow the blogs of over 50 artists inspired by or working on visualizing science. Here's the list so far of who is in the Science-Artists feed I created and has been picked up by Scienceblogging.org.  I'll be adding more as I go, please feel free to suggest more blogs if you know of them!

The List, in no particular order:




Who am I missing?

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

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New: Science-Artists feed




In addition to last week's 
Art Evolved Aggregate feed, I've made a Science-Artists feed collecting scientific illustration, science-inspired art and science cartooning on blogs.  After a discussion with Bora Zivkovic via Twitter, we both agreed something larger than paleo-art (though that's included) would be great to have.  And it's included on Scienceblogging.org!   Visual art and illustration are essential to effective science communication (and can be fun and inspiring), and I love that Bora, Anton and Dave recognize this.  Thanks!

I've likely missed some - there are a lot of talented people out there, so please suggest others!  Likewise, if you know of a blog that touches on sci-art from time to time and uses a helpful tag or label on those posts, let me know and I'll add that tag to the feed.

For the moment, I've mostly left out comic strips and photography and I'm focusing on scientific illustration, digital and traditional painting and drawing, and cartooning.

A tip of the hat to Richard Carter, FCD for suggesting the use of FriendFeed when I was creating both feeds.

If you'd like to see the list of blogs who've been added so far, go here.

If you'd like to add the sidebar widget to your own blog,let me know and I'll send you the html to look like this:








Suggestions welcome!

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

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Green paint.

Based on a recollection. Names changed, paraphrasing abounds. This ain't how it really went.

Me: Art Supply Shop, how can I help you?

Customer [Let's call them "Green-Required-Event-Eventually-Needs".]: I'm looking for some green paint, like eco-friendly paint.

Me: Like a particular brand?

Green: I don't know a specific brand. Whichever brand is the most green.

Me: Okay, let's see...what are you using it for?

Green: It's for the eco-home show, at the convention centre. We want to have a kids' station, for them to do crafts, so we need whatever's the most green paint you have. Isn't there enviro-friendly paint?

Me: Well, I don't think any of the paint brands we have market themselves that way. Lots of the sketch papers do; hydro-powered or wind-powered production plants --

Green: --Yes. Like that. The wind-powered paint.

Me: Okay. As I say, I can't think of a paint manufacturer who markets themselv--

Green: --Just whichever one is the most GREEN.

Me: Alright. Well, let's start with this. Since it's for children, the most common type of paint would be tempera, sometimes called gouache. It rinses off with water, and it's made from gum arabic, some binder agents, maybe resin, and pigment.

Green: So it's the most eco-friendly?

Me: Well. Yes and no. Okay, just to be a bit on the technical side: All paints are made of a vehicle, and pigments. The pigments used in any kind of paint, or brand of paint are the same pigments. They're what give it the colour. The vehicle is what the paint is carried in. Oils are carried in usually linseed oil from flax, acrylic are in an acrylic polymer and water-colours are in gum arabic, which is water-soluble. The tempera I mentioned is a lot like watercolour, only the colours used are more opaque, and their may be other chemical binding agents in it. I think they used to use egg sometim--

Green: --I don't want other chemical agents or whatever. I want the best enviro-friendly, natural paint. This is for children!

Me: Okay, yeah, I understand that. Here's the thing. The chemicals themselves in that paint are non-toxic, that's one reason it's popular for kids. Okay, so all paints have a vehicle, and pigments. Vehicle-wise, if you want the most "natural" that would actually be oil paints.

Green: But oils are toxic.

Me: Not necessarily. The pigments are usually mixed in linseed oil, which is just oil from flax. Hmm, probably the most natural of the paints, really. If you use solvents to clean up it would be toxic, but there's non-toxic solvents out now. But it's hard to get out of clothes, so for kids maybe not so good, but if "natural" matters, it might be the best bet.

Green: I heard there's fumes from oils, I can't use that.

Me: The fumes are mostly from solvents people use to clean it up. Using oil paint is like leaving any vegetable oil open in the kitchen. Like having a dish of olive oil on the dinner table. I don't really recommend oils for little kids anyway without direct supervision. It's an interesting idea: "green" paint.

Green: Are you sure there isn't anything? I really need to get something.

Me: Well to be technical again, I guess there's a lot to consider. Let's start with the vehicles. Oils are probably the most natural, acrylics probably the most un-enviro-friendly, since I think the acrylic is probably a petroleum derivative. To think about the pigments, some are more natural than others --

Green: Okay. Give me those, in all the primary colours, and a bunch of other colours.

Me: Well, natural and non-toxic aren't the same thing. Flake white has lead in it. Lead is more natural than say, quinacradone which is used in a lot of reds, but quinacradone is non-toxic in typical use. And I can't gather up a whole rainbow of colours. Some are more arguable more earth-friendly, like the browns. They're usually made from clay silica, like from different regions, which is why they're called raw sienna and burnt umber and such. Arguable they're more eco-friendly.

Green: Only the browns?

Me: Probably not only, but now that I think about it, it could be they're worse than the manufactured pigments: how do they get the clay? Do they clear-cut a forest to get at the clay? Gently by the riverbed? I don't know. Clay's non-toxic, unless the dry pigments are breathed in, then it can damage your lungs, which doesn't normally happen when you're painting. Other colours like the madders are from plants, I think the roots. I assume they're greenhouse grown, that'd be efficient, but I don't actually know. And the non-toxic, manufactured pigments may have other waste chemicals from production that aren't good wherever they're disposed of.

Green: Okay. Umm..

Me, barreling onward: I remember speaking with a customer who was vegan who did murals, and loved our in-house student brand. She was worried the carbon black might use charred animal-bone soot. Carbon black always used to. So I called the manufacturer, and asked. They put me on with the chemist, and he explained these days they make it from acetylene, since it they can have more control. The vegan was happy.

Green: ...

Me: And I guess whatever you end up using, you'll have to consider disposal. Most people just rinse brushes in the sink. But you could have the kids rinse them in a basin, let the basin water evaporate, and you'd just have a bunch of pigments at the bottom. Don't breathe that in. You can see, there's different issues to consider for not only the type of paint, but also the individual colours.

Green: Okay. Well.

Me: The best bet, I recommend, is to just use kids' tempera paint, and maybe have them paint in recycled items, like egg cartons or something. I wouldn't advertise the paint as being eco-friendly, though.

Green. Okay. I'll have to check with someone. She said there'd be environmentally-friendly paint, I should just call the store. We just wanted to use whatever's the most green.

Me: Well if your friend knows of a specific brand, I'd love to know about it: call me back! As I say, a lot to consider. Go with something non-toxic and washable for kids, and that would be the best choice in my opinion.

Green. Okay. Thanks, bye.

Me: Let me know how it goes! Thanks.

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Me afterward, thinking: Damn, I read too many science blogs.

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How I'm categorized on Twitter

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

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



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

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

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

You can follow me on Twitter @flyingtrilobite.

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

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

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

In honour of Ada Lovelace and the importance of women in science, here are two scientist portrait-sketches I posted last autumn. Eugenie Scott


Jane Goodall

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!



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

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

Art in Awe of Science at the Centre for Inquiry

Tomorrow, Saturday 6 March, I'll be taking part in a panel discussion at the Centre for Inquiry Ontario at the annual meeting. The theme is the intersection of art and science, and I'll be on the panel with Paula Gardner of the Ontario College of Art & Design and Roshelle Filart of the Ontario Science Centre.

Should be great fun. In the next couple of days, I'll report on the discussion and the CFI gallery show, where I met artist Karyn Wong.

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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 ***