Arthropod Meeting

Sometimes I forget just how useful warm-up sketches and painting can be. Enjoying taking old pencil sketches and digitally watercolour painting them with ArtRage to get my engine running for commissioned projects. 

I tend to build up a lot of neurotic "all conditions must be perfect in life, studio and mindset" hang-ups before I get started on things. It's good to visually slap myself out of it by working on pieces like this that are already decent drawings, and just play loose with the colour. 

I like this enough I made prints available in my store- - - - - - - -

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

Print Shop

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

Two Arthropods Meet - a teeny commission challenge

After meeting the tireless Karyn Traphagen at ScienceOnline11 in January, she asked me for an unusual commissioned painting: something on slate, no larger than 1.5"x2".

It was more difficult than I had thought.  I have often painted creatures and details that small -I knew I had the right brushes- but I had never tried to fit a whole composition in something that small.

The challenge was on.

Apparently I drink too much coffee to reliably use the camera's up-close feature.
The piece languished on my desk for a little while, unfinished, until I came up with the idea of adding the ladybug, an image that I've done in a similar way before in pencil. I added a bit of gold-coloured paint (actually titanium-coated mica flakes) to the ladybug to give it a shimmer.

Here's the final piece:

Thanks Karyn!
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Interested? I have a couple of larger, similar pieces painted on slate for sale and I remain available for commissions.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Conference

There's a slew of gorgeous posters created by the talented members of The Guild of Natural Science Illustrators for the upcoming conference in July. Although I have not attended one of these conferences yet, I think the results of these lush, gorgeous and scientifically accurate artists speak for themselves.

If you are a new artist, up-and-coming, or established and need of some new techniques, get yourself to Ithaca and learn from these modern masters.

I often wonder if in a hundred years' time the art world will look back on pieces like these and marvel at their (sometimes) unrecognised value in the face of post-modernist navel-gazing. Their artwork is all the more relevant to anyone amazed by the vanishing biodiversity on our planet.

In particular, check out the work by Heather Ward (the coral reef begins!), Emily Damstra, Gina Mikel, Barry MacKay,, heck, prepare yourself for beauty and strangeness that only the real world can deliver by going to the Guild's image bank, or check out the links in my blogroll. Grab a coffee and croissant, and spend an hour this weekend marvelling.

And be responsible folks: these images are under copyright, and these folks earn their bread producing images to help scientists, medical professionals, teachers and students understand the world better. Be sure to contact artists about creating illustrations for use before cribbing them off the net!

Arthropod Meeting

Being human is awesome. I like this image a lot. It's the meeting between two species separated by about 550 million years. The trilobite is similar to elrathia, (it's missing some segments, elrathia had 13).

I like this scene. You can imagine any number of things. Hot young ladybug with a penchant for wearing red with polkadots, meets worldly, older trilobite with a scottish brogue. He's aloof, an old world reserve in his demeanor. She's desperately hoping to ask him out for a cappuccino, and who knows where the evening will go? Back to his shale for a nightcap?

Or perhaps they are from the arthropod U.N., and he's concerned about dragonfly larva settling in the coastal waters of his brethren, and she is there to negotiate a truce.

Probably though, he's just thirsty, hoping she has some nice squishy aphids he can devour.