Trilobite Boy Mail!

Back in June a number of Flying Trilobite readers really helped me out with donations to keep my portfolio site at going. For a minimum $10 donation, I made each of them an original drawing. All of those drawings should be arriving in everyone's snail-mailboxes over the next several days.  

Here's science-artist Katy Ann Chalmers with her Trilobite Boy Chibi

My grateful thanks to each person who donated or tweeted to get the word out.  It's been a tough time freelancing for me, and it really helped keep my presence alive online. I had fun with each image, and did things a little differently than the norm. I made a nice scan of each one, and will put them all up in a future post together.

As an artist, it can be really tough to earn a living wage from your work without years of royalties and a large committed fanbase.  It takes time. I'm lucky to be doing well for a guy who paints trilobites with wings. But we're also living in a time when the divide between how images are prized and what people will pay for them faces a huge divide.

Artists forge ahead and use the talents to delight and inspire, and the growing movement of science-artists have a doubly important mission, turning people on to the natural world through their skills and dedication.

There's another science-artist who needs financial help right now, and is willing to put their skills to the task:  Katy Ann Chalmers, pictured above, is offering an amazing deal on original artwork if people can chip in and help her afford to go back to school this year: check it out!  Cephalopods and space art for a great cause!
- - - - - - - -

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

Print Shop

New!  Follow me on Symbiartic, the new art+science blog on Scientific American! 

Scumble #14 - Return of the Scumblies

"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.

This will be the first Scumble since February, a few months back. Now with a new logo! - what do you think?

As a new dad and freelancer in lean times I gave them a break. I won't expect to catch up on everything since then, and really the Scumble posts are just a loosely-passed brush highlighting a few areas. Hence the clever name.

So, brew yourself a cup of joe, put your feet up and enjoy the science-art!

Click here for earlier Scumbles.
- - 
AI: What a Beautiful Work of Art! Here, Let Me Ruin It For You - Brian G., MadArtLab.  Discussing copyrights, mash-ups and making money.

What's up, Stretch? - McHugh Studios - more thoughts on fan art and copyrights. Also, The Messy World of Fan Art and Copyright - Plagiarism Today.

My palette - Jeffrey Hayes: Contemporary Still Life Paintings. For anyone who thinks art is all fluff, here's a great post on chemistry and colour theory in oil painting by a modern master.

Waking up Inside an Object - Adam, Biomedicine on Display.

Espresso Brain - prints by Michele Banks/@artologica. Also, Behold! My Coffee Brain! - review by Scicurious, Neurotic Physiology.

Hadrosaur Gallery - Art Evolved. The lovable duckbills featured by many of the Art Evolved contributors.

Adrian Bobb Portfolio - came across this Canadian concept artist and scientific ilustrator a couple of weeks back. Stunning portfolio, and you can leave comments on the art.

BFA Thesis Exhibition - Omegafauna.  Congratulations Sharon!  Love love those prehistoric prints.

New Print Giveaway: Galapagos Finches - The Tiny Aviary. Enter!

Giveaway! Botanical Art Note Cards & Matching Seals - Carol Creech Illustration. Enter!

Instead of Words: An Artistic Journey Into the Spirit - interview with Carolina Avalos by Ruthanna Gordon, Mobius ASI.  Interesting interview - a mix of philosophy, spirituality, and the muddiness many artists subscribe to between actual material oneness and causality. Artwork is excellent.

Art Talk with Arthur Huang - interview by Paulette Beete, Art Works. Interesting that there's only one image accompanying the interview and no links to his site.  You can find his work here.

Trevor Jackson Skulls - Jennifer von Glahn, Street Anatomy.

Trilobite Boy - I've started a new webcomic on my character.

Art and religion for science policy?  - bioephemera. More excellent comments from Jessica Palmer.  Jessica, if you read this, please stop peppering your posts with questions if you are going to keep comments disabled. It hurts my brain. And puppies.

Sasquatch illustration featured on Royal Canadian Mint coin - News from the Studio by Emily S. Damstra.

Photos from the exhibit - SONSI - Southern Ontario Nature & Science Illustrators. Show is on now at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington Ontario.  Two of my pieces are hanging there.

Birds-of-paradise: encountered on the street, in passing - Tetrapod Zoology.

Flame Nebula - Lucyjain's Blog.

Pick of the Scumble:  Muddy Colors' tribute to the passing of sf and fantasy (and so much more check out the anatomy paintings) artist-illustrator Jeffrey Catherine Jones.

- - - - - - - - 

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Under the microscope - interview at Mobius ASI

Over on Mobius Art and Science Initiative, I answer some questions about two of my more difficult-to-blog art tactile pieces for Ruthanna Gordon. We discussed the use of my art to make puzzles, describe economics, Sean Craven's genre term "evopunk", and more.

- - - - - - - - 

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

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?

- -

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.

- - - - - - - - 

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Art Monday: Tardigrade

©  Glendon Mellow 2010

It's always about the legs. You either recognize a tardigrade or people see a purple brain in this painting.

It's funny, but this painting kind of cemented my art-life trajectory. I had an art show back in university. One of my co-workers from the coffee shop was a zoology major. After seeing this painting, she came over and said something like, "ok, this may mean nothing to you, so if it doesn't, forget it: is that a tardigrade?" I replied it was. She said she could tell because of the hooked feet, and was really happy about it. I've always loved science, but I think it was that experience that showed me there's a huge audience in scientifically-literate people who respond to representational art for them.  
Sometimes on this blog, I mention science enabling artists to expand the visual vocabulary in representational art. This is kind of what I mean.

- -
For my information about tardigrades (water-bears, moss piglets) head over to Catalogue of Organisms.
You can see the full painting here.
This image is available as a print or as one month in my new 2011 calendar

- - - - - - - -

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


Print Shop

Scientific accuracy and art

When you type the word "trilobite" into Google's Blog Search, The Flying Trilobite is currently the first to come up.

But I stick wings on them.
Like this:

And this:

all these.

Sometimes, other things happen.

Don't I have any sense of responsibility?  At this moment, I have the first blog to come up about trilobites, and what am I doing?  Cackling away while putting wings on aquatic arthropods in my oil paintings.  Irresponsible.  Think about the children! 

So what's it for?  

What does my tagline, "Art in Awe of Science" even mean if I am going to subvert the science?  The science of paleontology reveals through careful examination what life was like long ago, and how its remains have been preserved. Then I hop in, and start painting wings that didn't evolve for almost another 500 million years on the beasties. 

Should I take more care, and somehow display "Art in Awe of Science" with more reverence to the truth?  Is the communication of scientific ideals by artists and illustrators the pinnacle of what sci-art is all about?  

What is science-art for?  Scientific illustration, its fraternal twin has clear goals, and laudable ones.  Scientific illustrations communicate with rigor and accuracy ideas which will aid the scientist.  Sure, the scientific illustrator eliminates some of the oozy guckiness of the human body when revealed in diagrams, but this is to enhance and clarify the relevant internal landscape of the human body for the surgeon.  Laudable. 

Science-art is for something else.  Is it the communication of information?  

Roger Malina informs us that next year, NSF Informal Education Division is sponsoring an art-science workshop, entitled, "Art as a Way of Knowing", to be held at the San Francisco Exploratorium.  Is science-based art a "Way of Knowing"?  

What do you know when you look at say, a winged trilobite?  

You know, I could just say screw it:  everything is just representation, removed from reality, held at arm's length by our senses, and artwork is even further removed.   The scientific illustrator who carefully 3D renders a pristine skeleton is creating just as much an obfuscation of reality as it really really is as I am with my art-hack little flying trilobites. So there. 

Except for the scientific illustrator, teaching and clarity are goals. 

What are my goals? (art-hack)

According to the title of the NSF-sponsored workshop, apparently what I do may be a Way of Knowing.  But I feel that's putting the goal a little too strongly. You might say it's Making the Goal.  

Way of Knowing.  That's a tall order. 

I think a "Way of Knowing" is putting the (painterly, Impressionistic) cart before the (fully-3D-rendered, proper lighting and gamma) horse.  

I think the purpose, the path, the roadway of science-art is as a Way of Exploring.  

It's a way for the science-artist to explore forms:  to marry and synthesize separate ideas in to a new idea, because we're human, we're awesome and we can do that.

It's a way for the viewers of science-art to explore what they see, how they reconcile their knowledge and become intrigued and curious and oh my! who would have thought. They can explore how the dabs of mineral and plant oil reflect light and shapes and plug into the visual centers to show them something that isn't dabs of minerals and plant oil.

As a Way of Exploring, science-art is for scientists a way of facing a mirror of absurdities that realigns thinking on research, its a way of marrying the disparate to ponder how it would be possible. 

©  Glendon Mellow.  Oil painting of an ammonite-form on California Gold slate. 

- - - - - - - -

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


Print Shop

New! Art Evolved aggregate feed

New objects gallery on

I've begun adding a new gallery to my main site, Glendon Mellow: Art in Awe of Science.

It focuses on the art objects I've made this year, from multiple views.

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

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