Art Monday: The Forever Painting variations

Original version of The Forever Painting
manipulated sketch

detail of top portion
detail of lower portion
Drawing for The Forever Painting II

Oil painting originally
seen here and more here.
Pencil drawing
seen here.

This thing is physically huge. Hard to take decent pictures of. For the original painted version, my wife stood in front of the canvas, and I traced her shadow in chalk.

Sometimes as an artist, you return to the same theme multiple times and keep exploring and refining it.  I'd love to make a new painting based on the trees, but haven't had a long enough gap in my schedule, so one day worked up the little drawing to make the mental note about it.

You may also notice that in addition to flying trilobites, it has a DNA-Candle, much like the ones I showed last week.

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

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

Artwork Mondays: Forever Painting II

How do I follow the last few blog posts?

Drugs and inspiration, a cocktail party with other science-oriented artsy-types, coined a word which I fully expect Webster's dictionary to include this year, offered art for sale in support of an important event, and I have a blog banner featured on The Meming of Life. What to do, what to do?

I offer this humble sketch, an early preliminary for The Forever Painting II.

The Forever Painting was my largest oil painting, and involved many of the themes I has worked on for the previous several years. Perhaps the new one will do the same? At the moment I am considering clouds and a bright blue sky in order to make this one a more hopeful counterpoint to the original, below.

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(Today is Tuesday, and this is an Artwork Monday post. Does it mitigate my circumstances to say yesterday involved a VIP turning 7 years old, wearing explorer hats, being paranoid about peach-eating velociraptors and treasure-guarding mummies?)

(How does an atheist-artist perform penance? Shall I paint a religious scene of some sort?)

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All original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow. The contents of this blog are under a Creative Commons Licence. See sidebar for details. Please visit my blog, gallery and reproduction store.

Artwork Mondays: details from The Forever Painting

I'm hard at work on another project, so I thought I'd post a couple of up-close details of The Forever Painting that were too difficult to see in a previous post when they were only a couple of pixels high. You can also see it in my gallery on DeviantArt.
An insect-winged trilobite emerging from the candle smoke.

Fossils visible in the rocky candle surface.

(Now back to work!)

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All original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow. The contents of this blog are under a Creative Commons Licence. See sidebar for details.

A Few Glimpses from The Flying Trilobite 2007

Click on the titles for the entry from this year, or click on the images to see the whole artwork. A few pieces from the past year, no particular order. Life As a Trilobite was my most viewed and favourited in my gallery, and Disease was the least. For my blog entry posts, the two on life drawing from September are the most popular, probably since they are the least niche of my work and the easiest to search for.

In a few days I will post some glimpses of upcoming work for 2008.

The Forever Painting

In my first post, I included a picture of a rough sketch for a piece I call The Forever Painting. Here is an image of the final work itself. The overall dimensions are approximately 32" x 68".
Although I have painted in watercolour in the past, I now paint in oil. I like to work with a dark ground, usually black or burnt umber. I enjoy how the figures seem to step out of the darkness as I paint.
This canvas was originally an acrylic painting I had done for studio class in university. I had rushed it and never liked it. One summer, in a dark mood, I took that acrylic painting, and some ivory black, and just painted over it. I never get rid of artwork, and this act of catharsis felt refreshing and exciting.
I spent the next two and a half years working on The Forever Painting, off and on. This image plays with a bridging of themes for me. It's hard to see in this tiny reproduction, but I painted a few fossils in the stone. During university, I used Rapa Nui (Easter Island) statues as a motif in many of my drawings. Here, they are also topped by candles, and the one on the left is broken. There is a winged trilobite, surrounded by smoke from the right candle. There is also a DNA candle, an image I often use (a candle with a wick made out of a double-helix, as an image of mortality).
The Forever Painting for me is about what lingers. The people of Rapa Nui are gone, the trilobites extinct, DNA telomeres shorten and burn in the candle, beauty can fade; but this painting shows the immortal bits, the fossils, the guardian statues, the double-helix, the echo of beauty.

Why the "Flying Trilobite"?

"The brain is a three-pound mass you can hold in your hand that can conceive of a universe a hundred billion light-years across." -Marian C. Diamond

There is true beauty in how the human brain can comprehend the truly strange. All my life I have been fascinated by fossils and evolution. Trilobites became extinct 275 million years ago, and yet, I can hold a fossil trilobite in the palm of my hand, and understand some things about it. They are gone; but understood, remembered, and interesting.
I also paint in oils and draw (love that.3mm mechanical pencil!) Along with reading books on biology and evolution, I have an urge to create paintings, even to the point where the need is stronger than any pleasure I am deriving from painting. Artists out there know what I mean. You just have to do it, or the muscle memory and welling up of ideas starts to make you mentally itchy. This is another amazing aspect of being alive.

On a piece of mine called The Forever Painting I painted a trilobite, free of the water, hovering on delicate wings. Some trilobites of sub-Order Redlichiina, genus Balcoracania have these nifty spines halfway down the body, that just lent to my imagination wing-coverings. (I highly recommend , an excellent site by Sam Gon III!)
Chitinous wings are buzzing. This is the start of The Flying Trilobite Blog. There will be images up soon.

--Glendon Mellow