Member Spotlight Mary Ellen Taylor

Member Spotlight: Mary Ellen Taylor

1_Member Spotlight ME Taylor_ Mangrove FinchWhen considering my circuitous career path toward botanical and nature art over the past 40 years, I clearly see that—apart from quantum leaps, serendipities, and sheer determination along the way, the seed was well and truly planted during my time living in the Galápagos Islands. Witnessing first-hand the extraordinary forms, colors, and sizes that the flora and fauna evolved into—ensuring survival on these inhospitable islands 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador—engraved on my soul a powerful respect and awe for them. My view of the world we live in and our humble place as human beings was changed forever. Growing up, I was always “arty” and influenced by my father and grandmother, spending creative summers painting or building projects and tasting raw nature in rural Vermont. I went on to pursue Fine Art and a stint of Graphic Art before making my way to London for my semester abroad. I felt I had come home in England’s green and pleasant land. After nearly three years, my visa expired and I never finished at the university... but I knew I would return...somehow.

< The endemic mangrove finch (Camarhynchus heliobates) and red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) on the Galapagos Islands.

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2021 Visual SciComm Conference

GNSI 21 Logo GIFLearn a New Skill, Make New Connections, Renew Your Passion! 

Core Conference: July 17–18, 2021; Workshops: July 24–25, 2021 

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Drawing for Scientific Illustrations: Technique and Rendering—How To Keep Illustrating When the WiFi Goes Out

Sayner in his OfficeWritten by Donald B. Sayner and Gladys Bennett Menhennet. Edited by Lana Koepke Johnson and Jeanette R. O’Hare, foreword by Paul Mirocha.

— Reviewed by Joel Floyd

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Book Review: The Science Behind Flowers with Dick Rauh

- Reviewed by Camille Werther

Sci of Flowers_D_Rauh_CoverGNSI Past President, Dr. Dick Rauh, has written an invaluable reference book for those who love flowers, those who teach scientific and botanical illustration, and artists who want to deepen their knowledge of how plants work. The author is both an artist and a scientist, having earned a PhD in Plant Sciences at CUNY, and brings his knowledge of both disciplines to the format of the book.

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Corona Cuisine with Scott Rawlins

 

- with Scott Rawlins

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Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture By Eleanor Jones Harvey

Review by Theophilus Britt Griswold

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Product Review: Stonehenge Aqua Black

Product Review: Stonehenge Aqua Black

by Gail Guth and Camille Werther

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COVID-19 Visualizers Wanted!

Hello, illustrators!  Our fearless leader has been contacted by a journalist seeking illustrators who have produced work on COVID-19, particularly data visualization.  We've created a form to collect information on who's done what, which you can find here.  Please do respond if you have something to share!

In Memoriam: Elaine R. S. Hodges

Elaine_Hodges_Office fig. 1Casting our minds back 51 years, we find two young natural science illustrators at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Carolyn Bartlett Gast and Elaine R. S. Hodges had noticed the lack of connection among staff illustrators and had become the prime movers to bridge the gap. In order to do that, Carolyn planned illustrators’ luncheons with programs related to the media that would be helpful to these previously isolated artists. This served as a means to introduce illustrators to one another and for them to recognize the benefits of coming together. Carolyn found Elaine to be a willing ally and, as Carolyn saw it, Elaine had enthusiasm for the project as well as access to a typewriter—and could type. With that skill they produced elegant invitations and descriptions of the programs. Their success in this endeavor led to the founding of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators on December 2, 1968, and the connection among natural science illustrators that we’ve all enjoyed for 51 years. Thus began a lifelong effort by Elaine to bring together people who specialized in the art of seeing—the art of perceiving an object, not just looking at it. All of this in the service of science. (Above: Elaine in her office, 1987.)


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The Geography of the GNSI

The Geography of the GNSI

Geography_GNSI

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What GNSI Conference Planning Is About

What GNSI Conference Planning Is About
by Britt Griswold

Conference Gang_2020It all starts with an urge to give your GNSI friends a place to gather. Then you remember all the cool things you could show them. Then you remember the connections you have to your local institutions and suddenly you think “my friends and I could do this!” Fortunately, the Guild has developed a sophisticated set of tools to help you plan and organize talks, workshops and field trips, along with the celebration of the Guild family gathering each year.

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Member Spotlight: Rick Simonson

I was born in Minneapolis and grew up on a farm near Benson, Minnesota. Growing up on a farm certainly nurtured my interest in the natural world; I’ve always loved drawing and being outside.

Rick Simonson in StudioMy parents were always very supportive of everything I wanted to do, always encouraging my interests in art and science. Mom would often buy drawing paper and pencils for me; Dad built a great drawing table board that I still use. When I was a little kid, I would often make drawings of different types of animals and staple the sheets together to make simple books. I would create a book about spiders and one about snakes and so on. I never guessed that I would be doing the same type of work as a career.

(Left: In my studio working on a new drawing)

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2019 GNSI & AMBI Members' Digital Exhibit: Rendering Science - Clarity and Concepts

The 2019 GNSI and AMBI Members' Digital Exhibit: Rendering Science - Clarity and Concepts, is now available to view in the GNSI website image galleries. This excellent exhibit combined GNSI and AIMBI member’s work, showcasing traditional and digital illustration, photography and animation entries. From July 1 - July 7, the exhibit displayed across 5 projection panels in the main entrance of the Queensland Museum, and also in the auditorium adjacent to the main entrance.

The evening of the exhibit opening started with a water taxi tour on the Brisbane River, from Women’s College to downtown Brisbane. Walking to the museum from the water taxi stop included a look at the pelican bronzes by Leonard and Kathleen Shillam, an inner-city beach and lagoon, and a treetop squabble between a ring-tailed possum and a fruit bat! The exhibit reception was a highlight of our exceptional conference experience in Australia.

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Building Dinosaurs with Michael Holland

A new GNSI video is posted for your viewing pleasure!
Michael Holland_ Building DinosaursArtist Michael Holland discusses the materials, techniques, and knowledge he uses at the intersection of art and science to create skeletal reconstructions of dinosaurs.  Images of various processes are shown, and he presents work in progress - a famous and iconic Smithsonian dinosaur that has been on display for over a century - as you’ve never seen him (or her) before! 
Michael Holland has created exhibit features for a number of natural history museums, including the Museum of the Rockies, the U.C. Berkeley Museum of Paleontology, the Natural History Museum of Utah, and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.  He recently finished his work on the Deep Time exhibition at the Smithsonian.
View the full-length talk on the GNSI YouTube Channel.

Product Review: Inktense Pencils

Product Review: Inktense® Pencils by Derwent®
By Minnelli Lucy France

M. L. France Inktense Fig. 1Are you looking for art materials that may not trigger allergies as severely as paints with fumes, or solvents from oils and acrylics? This summer, I was desperate for just that. To this end, I re-evaluated my various art media and in doing so I ventured upon new discoveries and artistic possibilities. Inktense by Derwent was one of my favorite new discoveries and is now rapidly becoming one of my main media.

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Non-Photo Blue Pencils

I’ve only been using them to sketch for about four or five years since I discovered the artwork of John Muir Laws1,2—and became more inspired after attending the 2016 GNSI Conference in Santa Cruz where John was a presenter. I really like the freedom to work rough and loose without later worrying about the blue lines competing with the final sketch. This allows me to keep my final sketch and rough sketches together, i.e., in my sketchbook instead of using a separate sheet of paper (and light box/pad) to create the final piece. You can then digitally remove the blue sketch with Photoshop as I learned from Ikumi Kayama’s excellent demo on her YouTube channel. [The video is called Photoshop Tutorial for Scientific Illustrators: Separating Out Non-Photo Blue from Graphite.]


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The Great Auction

Great Auction _ White SharkTuesday, July 2nd, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM, H. Marks Hall, Women's College. 

The annual GNSI auction is always a conference highlight, full of anticipation, suspense, and excitement!  The 2019 auction will be no different, although there will be some important things to take into consideration this year. Due to the greater distances traveled by many attendees, we will not be able to transport medium to large auction items. Instead, we will focus on small items that fit easily into luggage, AND a whole new suite of non-tangible items this year!  Start thinking about experiences that you might like to offer, such as:

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Registration Opens for the 2019 Brisbane Conference

Registration for the GNSI 2019 Annual Conference in Brisbane, Australia is now open! Click here to register for the Conference.
Please visit the conference website (http://2019gnsi-conf.org/) for all of the details about the conference. Here are the registration dates:
Early Registration opens: April 10, 2019 (US) / April 11, 2019 (AUS)
Early Registration closes: May 17, 2019 (US) / May 18, 2019 (AUS)
All Full Conference Registration closes: June 7, 2019 (US) / June 8, 2019 (AUS)
Day and Guest Registration will remain open through the conference, space permitting.

Call for Entries: Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Program

The Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Program is hosting the 2019 Ocean Awareness Contest, for young artists, thinkers, and activists (ages 11-18). The program is seeking entries with the theme of Presence of the Future.

Applicants are asked to create a piece about a coastal/marine species, place, or system that will be threatened, altered, or lost due to climate change. Submissions accepted include visual art, poetry, prose, film, and music. Deadline for submission - June 17th, 2019.

Accepted artists’ works will have an opportunity to exhibit in pop-up art shows and film screenings sponsored by the Bow Seat Program. Awards will also be presented to winners in their age divisions. A detailed call for entry and submission can be found here

2019 Paleoartists Survey

The blog Love in the Time of Chasmosaurus is conducting a survey of paleoartists to understand how paleoartists practice their craft: how they research their work, what they charge their clients, how they work towards scientific rigor and avoid repeating errors in existing work. The anonymous survey can be found here.