Albino Squirrels (plural!) of Trinity-Bellwoods

While walking in Trinity-Bellwoods Park a couple of weeks ago, Michelle and I saw two of the albino squirrels!

Yesterday, I managed to snap a photo of them both together before one raced out of frame up a tree. The other is on the ground in the far right of the photo. Click to enlarge.

One seems a little bigger than the other.

Excellent. Perhaps by next winter there will be a whole colony. (What's the group-name for squirrels? Herd? Clutch? Brace?)

You can see other posts about the albino squirrels of Trinity-Bellwoods here.

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new Flying Trilobite Fossil tattoo pic

Here's a new picture my wife took of my flying trilobite fossil tattoo, all healed up.

Please ignore that I'm being hurled backwards and wearing sunglasses indoors.

...That was a good day.

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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.

Artwork Mondays: reference & when not to use it

The revamp of my Dimetrodon-Sphinx concept from over a decade ago continues. The original drawing is below, and is part of a larger drawing seen here.

And below, is where I am so far.

To reach this stage, it was important to use a lot of reference. A part of this exercise was to see how much I may have improved. A lot of that improvement likely comes from using references, such as a model for the woman's body, and looking at other artists' representations of living dimetrodons for the back-half. As well, I used these two photos I took last summer when visiting the Royal Tyrrell Museum.












(Actually, I'm not sure that the one on the left in the left-hand photo is actually a dimetrodon; the head seems to be quite a different shape. A pelycosaur nonetheless. )

There is still some work to do. I thought I might be able to complete the drawing in time this week.

I struggled a lot with the hair. I tried tiaras, an Egyptian sphinx headdress, no hair, tight curls, messy hair whipping in the wind, and even the bob on the one in the original. Eventually I decided to go with slick wet hair, as I could be fun to paint this as a rainy scene.

The mouth and lips are way off, and will need some work, and I messed up the left hand. One of the ways many artists' check the progress of a composition or the realism if a piece, is to flip it:

This allows some mistakes to jump out, and gives the familiar pencil strokes a foreign eye, as a viewer will likely have for the first time they see it. Looking at the piece in the mirror is one way, and using Photoshop is another great way to try this technique. Remember though, that no face or body is perfectly symmetrical, not even Pac-Man's. (Look close, you'll see his left eye is 1 pixel closer to his nose than his right.) I think the Sphinx's hair could be more ropy and knotty.

Looking at the lone dimetrodon above, I can see there are about 24 of the long vertebra supporting the sail. My Sphinx's pretty back is not long enough to support quite that many, so here is a point where reference and I part company. Another is in the feet. When I was at the Royal Ontario Museum's Darwin exhibit recently, I was reminded of how fascinated I am by the irregular-looking toes of an iguana. And so, I abandoned the realism of a dimetrodon's no-doubt noble foot, in favour of the broken-looking toes of the green iguana. And to top it off, I didn't use a reference *gasp*.

This piece seems to evoke a night-time feel to me, and so I began roughing in some rocky shapes in the background, and darkening the sail to illustrate the translucency and rock silhouettes showing through. Last week, I spoke about the possibilities of camouflage. Now, I think any colouration choices would have to wait for me to paint the piece.

Will I add colour? It's at the right stage for it. A scan and print onto canvas-paper and I could apply my oils. There's some great tips on colouring and texturing using Photoshop in ImagineFX, a magazine I just picked up a couple of weeks ago. However I've spent longer on this drawing than I thought I would over the last few Artwork Mondays. Next week, it may be time to move onto something new.
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The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow. The contents of this blog are under a Creative Commons Licence. See sidebar for details.

Albino Squirrel of Trinity-Bellwoods

The last few years a tiny surprise has hopped and bobbed its jaunty tail through Trinity-Bellwoods Park here in Toronto's downtown. My wife saw this resident for the first time last week, and this morning I was lucky enough to snap a couple of photos.
Trinity-Bellwoods is not the largest or most wooded park in Toronto, but I pass through it to and from work every day. The little albino squirrel, going about its squirrely business with its grey and black squirrelerific friends, is something of a local celebrity. Nearby boutiques on the hipster-filled Queen St. West scene will occasionally have messages in their window, or on their sidewalk signs. One store even had a plush one in the window.
This second pic is horribly blurry. I'd like to blame that on my kindness in not pursuing the squirrel too closely, as I'm sure it is followed by paparazzi hoping to catch a glimpse of a wardrobe malfunction more often than the other squirrels. But I think the picture may be blurry due to the icy ground, and the amount of coffee I had this morning. Blurred like this though, doesn't it look a bit like it's going to pelt an acorn at my head? It's eyeing me, like I'm just another shutterbug.

I love this park. Lots of "refuge-points" in the landscape, trees dotted here and there, trees that rustle in the breeze. Walking through there is one of the best parts of my day.

(For more great posts on albinism in animals, check out Zooillogix.)

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.

1st Blogiversary of The Flying Trilobite

...and this time, instead of paintings, I have photos.

The Flying Trilobite began as a way to promote my artwork and find new commissions and collaborations. It has also turned out to be a terrific outlet for my intellectual growth and artistic development; I am constantly engaged by new ideas I read from the scientific, Bright and arts communities. As I mentioned in my year-end round up, I also discovered a welcoming community of creative and shiny people online.

So, let's celebrate with cake, shall we?!

Uh-oh. The Mythical Flying Trilobite Fossil found it first. Yummy!

Thanks again to everyone who has made it such a great 1st year. If you keep viewing and commenting, (and commissioning!), I'll keep painting. Deal?

Let's eat cake.

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(No monarch butterflies were harmed in the making of this blog post. At least - not harmed by me. What you are seeing are wings found lying in a park last summer with some ants on the sticky bits. Perhaps a bird or dragonfly was responsible, but it was mainly only the wings left. Scouts' honour.)


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 contact me before reproducing elsewhere.