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Call for Exhibits: Focus on Nature XII

Focus on Nature (FON) is a biennial exhibition of scientific, natural and cultural history illustration. Since its inception in 1990, the number and quality of submissions have risen, the range of materials and media have expanded, and the geographic representation of artists has broadened. A five-member jury of scientists and artists selects artwork that accurately represent the subjects, or research results and processes. FON seeks to demonstrate the connection between science and images; stimulate an interest in natural history art among practicing artists, aspiring artists, and the public; and bring natural history illustration to the attention of people who might not otherwise be aware of the important role it plays in research and the dissemination of knowledge.

Each exhibit invites a guest juror from among artists who have previously participated in FON. Past jurors include Louisa Rawle Tine, Michael Rothman, Monika DeVries, Dick Rauh, and Rosemarie Schwab. The guest juror for FON XII is Francesca Anderson. For a full description of FON exhibitions, award winners, exhibition catalogs, as well as the online entry form, please visit the FON website at http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/fon/about/index.html.

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2011 GNSI Educational Series Workshop: review

2011 GNSI Educational Series WorkshopThe “Illustrating Birds” workshop, held April 2-4, 2011, in Kearney, Nebraska, combined all the best elements of a typical GNSI education experience: intensive content that provides a great foundation for illustrative work, wonderful mentoring that promotes accurate and exceptional art, and artistic camaraderie that inspires all who participate.

Workshop participant and Susan W. Frank Scholarship recipient Nancy Gehrig summarized it well: “The Bird Illustration Workshop was a wonderful immersion into the world of birds. I really enjoyed the three days and feel I have a good sense of how to improve my work. The lecture on bird anatomy was a perfect start for me, and I found the sketching of the live birds very challenging. I am pleased to say that I am looking and thinking of birds a bit differently, checking out the anatomy and structure and thinking of the shapes and landmarks—thinking about which feathers I am seeing and that structure lies underneath. Linda Feltner is a marvelous teacher, and I really appreciate her passing on her vast knowledge and experience. It was a great class and a fun group of people. We even practiced figure 8 flapping!”

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Call for Exhibits: Nature’s Medicine Chest–Plants, Animals, Minerals

The Greater New York Chapter of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators in conjunction with Highstead Arboretum of Redding Connecticut requests submissions from members for an exhibition to be held at the Highstead Arboretum from Saturday, September 10 through Saturday, October 29, 2011.

Submission deadline: Monday June 20, 2011.

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GNSI members interviewed by ArtPlantae

Recently three members of the GNSI have been featured by the online magazine ArtPlantae Today.

Bring the Ocean Into Your Classroom

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You Get What You Pay For

This post was originally published in Symbiartic , a Scientific American blog, and is reproduced here with permission.

Last week, a very prominent artist in the paleontology community somewhat publicly blew a gasket. His tirade started a conversation that has been sorely in need of attention for some time now. At issue is a fundamental conflict of interests: between science and its tradition of cumulative knowledge, and the rights of the artists who contribute so heavily to such knowledge. It’s a conflict that has irked both artists and researchers, but as budgets tighten and opportunities dwindle, artists are increasingly getting the short end of the stick.

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Science Illustrator Research Opportunity

Apply to sail on the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) “Superfast Spreading Rate Crust 4” Expedition 335, aboard the scientific research vessel, JOIDES Resolution. IODP Expedition 335 will be the fourth research expedition of the "Superfast" campaign to drill a deep hole into intact oceanic crust. This expedition will return to Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Hole 1256D off the coast of Costa Rica to deepen ODP Hole 1256D by a significant distance into cumulate gabbros. Cores and data recovered during the Superfast 4 Expedition will provide new observations that will be used to evaluate and test models of the accretion and evolution of the oceanic crust.

Deadline to apply is 21 February. Expedition dates: 13 April-3 June 2011.

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Call for Exhibit: Morton Arboretum

GNSI Exhibit at the Morton Arboretum (Feb. 15 - June 4, 2011), open to all GNSI members in good standing.

Subject matter: all scientific illustration, no medical illustration

Please include a brief description of the work and the reason it was created.

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Scanning, scanning, scanning

This installment of Ripped from the List reviews three recent listserv threads that dealt with techniques for converting traditional art to digital media, preliminary considerations, and subsequent manipulations of the scanned images.

Scanning Large Artwork

Rick L. Simonson: Does anyone have a good method for getting large (maybe 24” x 36”) traditional artwork into the computer? Scanning seems like a good idea, unfortunately, large format scanners are quite expensive. I suppose I could scan it multiple times and stitch it together in Photoshop. Or send it to a large format scanning service?

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Call For Exhibits: 2011 Margaret Flockton Award

The Award Committee of the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney has announced details for the upcoming 2011 Margaret Flockton Award and Exhibition.

Illustrators are invited to submit one or two original scientific botanical illustrations in black and white by close of business Friday 4th Feb 2011. Prize money:1st prize—$5000 AUD, 2nd prize—$2000 AUD, plus three Highly Commended awards will be presented upon the opening of the exhibition on Thursday 31 March 2011.

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Sharpening Colored Pencils

This installment of Ripped from the List reviews a recent listserv thread that dealt with techniques for sharpening colored pencils.

Question from Bruce: Glendon, have you ever had someone burst into the store you manage announcing loudly, “I found it!” A way to sharpen color pencils without the leads breaking!” If so, would you kindly pass along the specifics of this person’s discovery? Many of us, I suspect, are not amused by this constant annoyance. It appears that a bump forms somewhere along the sharpening line that causes the pencil to wiggle. I should probably note that I use the little red General sharpeners. Does anyone have any experience with the Dahle pencil sharpener? If it works as stated it might be worth the $50.

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Cleaning Clayboard

This installment of Ripped from the List reviews one recent listserv thread that dealt with techniques for cleaning clayboard.

Question from Jeff: Does anyone have experience cleaning smudges off of clayboard? Specifically, I put a thumb print of newspaper ink into one of my projects.

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Britt Griswold featured in the Big Bang Theory

One of the fruits of my collaborations in the NASA WMAP project is an Education Outreach product - the WMAP beach ball. It is a great educational tool for explaining the shape and origins of the universe. 

This fall our in-house astrophysics EPO group did an interview with me, about the creation of the ball, for their "Blueshift" Blog.

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Artist For Conservation's virtual exhibit

In 2010, in lieu of a live gallery exhibit, the Artists for Conservation (AFC) is producing its first virtual exhibit. In future years, this will complement live gallery exhibits and make them more widely accessible to an international audience. The Artists for Conservation mission is to support wildlife and habitat conservation, biodiversity, sustainability, and environmental education through art that celebrates our natural heritage.

Several GNSI members are part of AFC's 500 member organization, including Patricia Savage, Barry MacKay, John Megahan, and Linda Feltner.

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2010 GNSI Educational Series Workshop: review

CLASSROOM OF STUDENTS AT WORK. PHOTO BY D. K.B. CHEUNGThe Smithsonian Natural History Museum was once again the setting for the 2010 GNSI Educational Series workshop, which took place March 18-21, 2010. Here, at an institution “dedicated to inspiring curiosity, discovery, and learning,” a wide diversity of participants from traditional media illustrators to scientists to comic book illustrators, gathered to engage themselves in new techniques that will help them succeed in an increasingly digital world. Many previous students returned this year to further refine their skills and take advantage of the diverse learning community.

Lessons were organized and led by Marie Metz, GNSI educational director and former Smithsonian Illustrator, Jennifer Fairman, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, and David Clarke, president of the Washington D.C. chapter of GNSI. The workshop began with a talk about the synergistic relationship between science/technology and illustration, by guest lecturer Dr. James Giordano, University of Oxford. Beginning with a discussion of prehistoric cave drawings and our innate human ability to communicate visually, Dr. Giordano explained the role illustration plays in the communication of scientific knowledge. He also gave examples of how illustration furthers science and vice versa. Participants left the lecture inspired and ready to begin learning.

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Shipping Artwork

Artists love to show their work: it’s an artist’s stage and performance. Transporting artwork to a local gallery is comparatively simple, usually involving only the time to carry the pieces to an exhibition. Shipping to a distant location, however, can be more difficult. And more disappointing if the artwork is returned damaged. Or not returned at all. A modicum of planning should make this process more successful, and relatively anxiety-free. However, one should remember Murphy’s Fourth Law: Mother Nature always sides with the hidden flaw in the system. Since the “system” includes a huge transportation network, one should be prepared for the occasional, often incongruous, surprise.

Timing

Whenever possible, give the preparation, packaging, and shipping of artwork the time it deserves. And well before the deadline so you won’t be hurrying. Uh-huh. And the rest of us humans should seriously consider shipping to an exhibit at least a month before the opening. Imagine a gallery operator receiving a hundred pieces of artwork the same week as an exhibit opening, and I’m certain you can also imagine that some of the artwork won’t receive the care and attention it deserves.

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Vesalius Trust Award applications open

The Vesalius Trust for Visual Communication in the Health Sciences is  accepting applications for the 2011 Dr. Frank H. Netter Award for Special  Contributions to Medical Education. This award is given annually in  recognition of the development of visually-oriented educational materials  that have made a significant contribution to the advancement of education and  research in the health sciences. There is no application fee. The award  includes a plaque and monetary award of US$1,000. Past winners have made  innovative contributions in healthcare education including anatomical models,  books, simulators, videos, and interactive learning materials. More  information is available on the Vesalius Trust website.  

http://www.vesaliustrust.org/scholarships.html#Netter

GNSI Blast From the Past

How many of these people do you recognize? A surprising number of them are still GNSI members. This group photo was taken at the National Zoo in Washington DC, in July of 1996. Over 200 people attended the Washington DC conference, our largest gathering ever. This was the year my youngest daughter was born, during the conference, so I was not in the group that day (I am local to DC).

One of the standout faces in this image is Elaine Hodges, one of my mentors, and now unfortunately removed from our lives too early.

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Space Art by Lynette Cook

Lynette’s illustration of the newly discovered “Goldilocks” planetAstronomical artist Lynette Cook works in the world of science news deadlines. Lynette’s illustration of the newly discovered “Goldilocks” planet was made on an especially tight deadline. It ended up being featured in a number of news venues, including the NBC Nightly News (West Coast edition), AP, NPR, Reuters, the NY Times, USA Today, space.com, astronomy.com, Astronomy Picture of the Day, Yahoo, and Seed Magazine online.

Lynette writes:  "I was traveling with my mother for a couple of weeks and arrived home to find a request from astronomer Steve Vogt, one of the discoverers, asking if I could do a rush job. I was back in the nick of time to say ‘Yes!’ So I buried my face in the computer for a few days, working quickly from rough through the final stage, communicating back and forth with Dr. Vogt several times each day. The press conference was held at the National Science Foundation on Wednesday, September 29, and the news story and image began showing up on the web and on television broadcasts that evening. One never knows what will happen when a press release like this goes out. Over the years I have been involved with several and remember that some received little attention and others really excited the media and the public to the point of 'going viral.'

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You can help protect USA Artist rights

Dear GNSI members and Friends,

The same group that worked so hard to defeat the Orphaned Works bill in Congress is going on the offensive to help secure real benefits for U.S. artists. They will be presenting this month to the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFRRO). The intent is to gain recognition in the international community as an official organization handling reproduction rights funds.

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In Memoriam: Hedvig Ostern

Nancy Halliday with Hedvig Østern, GNSI conference, Washington DC, 1996.It is with profound sorrow that I inform you of the death of my friend, nature illustrator Hedvig Østern of Norway. Elaine Hodges introduced us at the GNSI conference in 1988, and we have remained pen friends since. Hedvig came again to the GNSI conference in 1996, and in 1998 I visited her at her home and studio near Drammen. Only then did I realize the full extent of her artwork. Despite physical disabilities and poor health, Hedvig had nevertheless documented much of Norway’s alpine flora in watercolor. Hedvig did not limit herself to flowers: she also painted fungi, fossils, and butterflies, teaching herself by making models of butterfly wings.

> Nancy Halliday with Hedvig Østern, GNSI conference, Washington DC, 1996.

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