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. 

Pinterest gets right what Tumblr got wrong


Follow Me on Pinterest

I've started making boards on 
Pinterest, a fascinating new site that I think is going to be a big thing for artists. 

Attributing artwork is something I believe to of huge importance, not just the letter of the copyright laws, but also attributing art to artists who've dead for hundreds of years. I've written about it *ahem* a few times. (Thisthisthisthis...)

Here on Blogger, if I want to re-share some artwork, I need to save it to my drive, and re-upload it. There's a bit of work involved. So attributing the art is just a tiny step, and one I think is more likely for bloggers to do since they're crafting a whole post. 

While there are ways to effectively use Tumblr and be respectful of creators, as I've written before, it's easy to lose track of a creator of an image and have it shared and re-shared thousands of time without attribution. The reblog button makes the initial person's mistake too easy to replicate.  In part, I created the Trilobite Boy Tumblr to get a handle on how Tumblr works. You can attach an url that would follow the artwork, but it's not mandatory. So tons of people just blog away, and creators lose all credit for their images all too often. 

Enter the new site Pinterest. 







Pinterest was first on my radar when my wife mentioned it looked interesting for sharing artwork. Then, via Twitter, I read ZDNet's "Why small business can't afford to overlook Pinterest". I maintain a Twitter feed for a national retailer, and thought this was right on the mark. But I like to test things with my own accounts before bringing it to clients. Then, my friend and fantastic artist Eric Orchard started in on it in a big way. He has a good eye for effective media for artists.

Pinterest takes the responsibility of attribution away from the user: I'm using it in Chrome, and I placed a little button on my Bookmarks bar. If I'm on a site, and wish to pin an inspiring piece of artwork onto one of my themed bulletin Boards (say, "science art that inspires me") then I click on the Pin It button, and Pinterest creates a screen that has all the images from that webpage on it. I pick the one I want, click, write a description if I wish, and post on the board. There's the option to tweet or Facebook-stream it too.

But the best part? Anyone else following that bulletin board of mine who decides to pin it on their board, will still have the original link to the original website functional if someone clicks on the art itself. The more artwork is shared on Pinterest, the more potential hits the blog, gallery or website will have.

Pinterest got respect for creators right. And they made it so easy.



You can find my Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/flyingtrilobite

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

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Creating Atheist Fine Art - post at Mad Art Lab

I'm really excited that today I've got my first post up at Mad Art Lab, the Skepchick art, skepticism and science blog.

It's raising the issue of creating atheist fine art - can metaphorical imagery create paintings as effective in their message as Gnu Atheist bloggers do in their writing?

I'd love for The Flying Trilobite's readership to check out the post, and please comment there! Do I make a good case?  Are there better examples than the ones I use?

Thanks to Surly Amy for the invitation to contribute to Mad Art Lab and to Brian G George for help with editing and formatting.

Check out the post!

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

My atheist billboard












The Freedom from Religion Foundation has a fast, neat little application to make your own atheist billboard.  Mine's above and you can see more of them here. I learned about it from radio-show host Mike Haubrich.

When thinking about a quote, I thought about how a lot of people will possibly reference science or morality for these quotes (you can see them all here).  As an artist and an atheist, I thought I would try to sum-up some of the feelings I wrote about it in this post two years ago: Gift from God? I don't think so.

In the post, addressing the 'compliment' of artistic ability being a 'gift', I said;
Just because something is hard to understand, just because complicated processes occurred that you did not witness, does not mean it was caused by a benevolent mythical being who hands out aptitudes like Santa with presents...
...That was studying. That was attempts at keen observation. That was making countless mistakes I attempted to learn from. Feedback. Crits and criticisms. Learning from indifference. Trying new materials. Replicating happy accidents. Sharing techniques. 

I received a lot of support in the comments. When I re-posted it at my RedBubble (online store) account, I ended up with concern trolls.

Far too many artists believe in the divine - probably more in New Age nonsense than organized religion, though there are plenty of those types too. "Meant to be" is the cause of many happy accidents to many artists, when in fact, happy accidents have a lot more in common with Richard Dawkins' ratcheting up Mount Improbable: you hang on to the successes, duplicate them as close as you can and eliminate the artistic attempts that fail in your eyes. Developing a skill, technique and style in art has a lot in common with natural selection. 

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Good-bye and some art by colleagues

Today marks my last day working for DeSerres, Canada's largest art craft and creative retailer.  (You need a  postal code to enter the site and there's no shipping outside Canada - here's a Toronto postal code for non-residents who are curious about where I've been working: M6J 2C8).

I've never named where I work directly in a blog post, although you can see where on my LinkedIn profile or if you ask me.

It's been 10 years since I started in the company, most of that time managing stores and working with dynamic, creative people.

I thought in honour of my last day I would post the artwork of just a few of the people I have had the privilege of working with.  Please make sure to visit their websites and blogs.  I wish I could somehow showcase the compassion and talent of many of the non-artsy by essential people who give the company heart as well.  To my colleagues I have neglected to include in this post, my apologies.

I've learned a lot from everyone there, and I hope you've learned some things from me.
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The Affair, © by Jesse Graham.  Blog: ILL Droppings 
A squid and a mermaid!

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Art ©  by Adam Swinbourne.  His site here - head over for the ka-pow.
I keep meaning to ask Adam if that dog is Laika.
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Carousel, © by Michael Kuchma.  A review of his work and life at Angell Gallery
I need to pause here and say a few things about Michael.  Michael only worked on my team briefly, for about 3 months back in 2007. He was a fascinating guy, nonchalant and unpretentious and he liked talking about big ideas: the universe, time, and art.  He was interested in urban spaces, both to walk in and to paint.  We lost touch after a while, and in 2009 I found out Michael had died, having taken his own life in March 2008.

Michael was very individual, and typical of the people I have worked with over the years: talented artistically, compassionate towards others, with a really clever mind. He started up a blog talking about art in many of the galleries here on West Queen West, and shrugged off the criticisms with ease and had fun with it.

I remember one day in March 2007, frustrated with my self for having done nothing with my artwork after many years of painting and sitting stewing about while having a day off from work, I decided to check out Michael's blog, and see if there was some way I could teach myself to start an art blog.  If he could do it, maybe I could. Not knowing a damn thing about it, I started The Flying Trilobite that day.  I owe a lot to Michael's example.  

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©  Anna-Karoliina Koskinen.  Her gallery site is here.
Karoliina's an amazing portrait painter.
Run from the Rainbow Land Sprite, children!
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Background painting © by Taras Ostapchuk. His blog is here
I love lamp.
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This roaringly good (har har) piece is © Gillian Newland.  You can read her profile at McClelland.com and Gillians's also a member of Sketchkrieg. Children's books with her illustrations can be found on Amazon.
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A drawing of Maddy Kettle and her flying boat, © Eric Orchard.  Eric's amazing blog is here, and he updates like every day. You can also see Eric's portfolio here, and his books on Amazon here.
Watch for his upcoming comic book and other projects.
The enthusiasm Eric shows on his blog for art is only surpassed by his enthusiasm in person.
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Bride and Doom, ©  Holly Gilmour.
Holly has tremendous talent and I expect she'll be picked up by some major studio one day.
Everything she paints would be a cool action figure.
Holly's blog: Miss HollyHoolaHoop
Go and check out the hipster bunny and zombie ice cream.

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S'long, folks!  But not good-bye.


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


All art work in this post is © to the respective artists.
Please visit their sites for copyright info or contact them before copying this artwork.
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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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Blog
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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.

Portfolio
Blog
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New! Art Evolved aggregate feed