Fossil Gears









One of the highlights during our road trip from Toronto to Halifax was spending a night at atheist-political-sciencey blogger Lousy Canuck's place. Jason and Jodi were kind enough to put our travelling caravan up for the night and introduce us to the wonder of Portal 2. 

To thank @lousycanuck and @pixelsnake for their hospitality, I repainted one of the paintings on slate from my (now-dismantled) final school project into this new work, Fossil Gears

The visit was far too short. We need to meet up again some time! 


Flying Trilobite, left, Lousy Canuck, right.



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

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Forgotten art for a late night.



Taking apart a room due to some slight water damage. Listening to Stromkern (thanks Stephanie!) and Wolfsheim. Here's some of my slate pieces from my final school project scanned and converted to black and white. I almost put this image in my latest print collection, and then skipped it and forgot about it.


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

Flying Trilobite Etsy

There's a lot of new original art and signed prints in my Etsy store


Encrinurus trilobite






Eremotherium (extinct sloth) and Glyptodon skulls


Mythical Flying Trilobite Fossil IV


Young Darwin Discovers Glyptodon sketch

 Admittedly, freelancing has been pretty rough and I'm in some immediate need, so I've put a few originals in here I haven't attempted to sell before. Consider buying one of these on Etsy and help me keep the lights on. Or you can contact me at theflyingtrilobite@gmail.com about them.

I also continue to sell prints, calendars, stickers, posters, postcards and greeting cards through my RedBubble Print Shop. As usual, my work appears online under Creative Commons and can be enjoyed digitally for free minus the cost of the weirdness inflicted.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

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

Art Monday: Fossil Forms

Fossil Form 1 © Glendon Mellow 2010

Fossil Form 2 © Glendon Mellow 2010


These two original oil paintings on slate are for sale in my new Etsy store - not prints, the originals. [Crisp autumn leaves not included.]
They also appear in my Calendar Collection #3, new for 2011. Available in my print shop.

This type of painting is meditative and relaxing for me: just playing with forms, uncovering what I find. Well; as meditative and relaxing as listening to Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim can be, anyway. 

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

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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:
















And
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. 




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

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Art Monday: slate fragments



Some of the dismantled pieces from my 
final undergrad project.

It's funny, after the discussion it provoked I have ended up dismantling it anyway.  I kind of like the pieces, and I'm going to experiment with ways of hanging them on the wall.  This is the type of slate pieces I've been thinking I may put into my eventual Etsy shop.

I kind of like how the slight difference in thickness of the bottom piece of slate ("gears") causes all buy the center to become blurry.  Depth of field is funny with scanners.

Here's an up close picture of my brushstrokes on that creepy eye. You can see I didn't use white, I instead used naples yellow and naples yellow red, which I think give it a tired feel.

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

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Medium overriding the message?


When presenting the final project of my undergrad here on The Flying Trilobite, (see the process here: one, two, three, four and five) some excellent points have been raised in the comments of the last post.

My Art Evolved peeps Craig and Peter have been discussing whether or not unconventional mediums (like a wooden cube with busted slate tiles painted and hanging from wire) end up muddying the message more than conventional, easier to read forms.

Here are a couple of more photos, different from the the last post in that they show off the individual paintings more:
Click to enlarge.

This picture was taken on a weird angle. Sorry.


It was an interesting experience for me to have some of my artwork turn off someone for being post-modern and medium-focused. Typically, I am a painter in love with creating representational, realistic paintings.

As Craig pointed out, the medium is the message. We see here not only a 3D series of paintings hanging in a cube, we see them through the lens of a camera and displayed on a computer screen. It's very removed from say, Darwin Took Steps, a much more 2D picture which translates better through scanning and being online.

How much can the presentation enhance or interfere? Would video of a 3D object present better online, panning, zooming and with soft techno music in the background? Would it be clearer to scan individual pieces and present them as head-on photos?

Is this presentation in the immortal words of Mo the bartender, "po-mo; postmodern; weird for the sake of weird" or is something more getting across?

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


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Next time on The Flying Trilobite: my interpretive dance fossil project!