My copyright. Mine. Go 'way.

I assert a copyright from this day forth on painting mosasaurs in the pose of a hummingbird.

© Glendon Mellow 2011 not just on the artwork itself, but the pose and that shade of blue 3 mm from the right next to the funny-looking bubble. 

Go read this at Art Evolved. Important copyright assertions and analysis.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Print Shop

Neener neener.

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?

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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.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

I write like

This morning I analyzed my writing style using the "I Write Like" site that's so popular at the moment. Everyone's doing it.  I threw in my blog post about making The Last Refuge for analysis.  

I write like
Arthur C. Clarke
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

"Any sufficiently advanced flying trilobite is indistinguishable from awesome." 

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

Print Shop

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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Triloblogiversary Cubed!

Three years ago today, The Flying Trilobite launched. Happy Triloblogiversary Cubed!

Thanks to everyone who comments, supports and encourages my every whim. Next year though, I expect fealty and a percentage of your harvest. By then the Mythical Flying Trilobite Fossil will have grown to Mothra-like proportions.

Thanks for sharing in my awe of science through art. That was an awkward sentence.
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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 ***
Apparently the spellchecker has a problem with "triloblogiversary".
And "spellchecker".

I'm a zombie teddy bear

My friend Chris Zenga, who blogs his artwork at The Day After Art did this drawing. Of me.

As a zombie teddy bear.


You can check out Chris's blog, and his print shop. He's also on Twitter, and is taking commissions through his Etsy shop.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence. Except the bear above. That's by Chris Zenga.
Weren't you paying attention? Zombie bears are going to eat the stuffing out of you.

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

A graffiti prezzie!

Artist and nature illustrator Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen who blogs at Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding gave me this via Facebook's graffiti application for my birthday earlier this month:Hee! Wait - what's in that luggage? Not clothes...?

You can find Carel's book of astounding art here. Check out that juicy hippo maw!

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow under Creative Commons Licence.
Except this piece above, this art came from a Master to whom I bow my head.

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