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Call for Exhibits: Focus on Nature XIV

Image by: BOBBI ANGELL Bottle Gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) Etching, (copper plate) on paper, 2011  Marlboro, Vermont, USAFocus on Nature XIV will run from December 3, 2016, through April 9, 2017, at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI) in Jamestown, New York. We are very excited and honored to collaborate with this institute that is dedicated to continuing the tradition of natural history illustration. The RTPI mission is to “honor and continue … to foster understanding, appreciation, and protection for the natural world”. RTPI is a beautiful facility with exhibition space of high standard. To learn more about RTPI, visit: http://rtpi.org/

> Bottle Gourd (Lagenaria siceraria), Etching, (copper plate) on paper, 2011. Bobbi Angell, Marlboro, Vermont, USA

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Mapping Our Future: GNSI Strategic Planning Initiative

From time to time, it’s a good exercise for us all to sit back and “take stock”: who we are, where we are, where are we going, where do we want to go? It’s a good exercise for organizations and businesses as well; it gets the fancy (but apt) title of Strategic Planning. The goal is to map the status and health of the organization, and to plan, as much as possible, what needs to be done to keep the group healthy and progressing in our fast-changing world.

To this end, the Board of the GNSI, along with several members-at-large who have recently shared their thoughts and ideas about the future of the GNSI and our profession, has launched a Strategic Planning Initiative. Our goal is to take a good, hard, honest look at where we are, and where we want to be to best support our members and our profession.

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The Power of Images

Homophones by Bruce Worden“Bruce, you’ve demonstrated so clearly the power of images! Can you/will you gather some of your favorites for a Journal article?” How could any illustrator resist a request like that? Even if it does mean discussing images that are, at best, only tangentially related to the natural sciences. 

In 2011 I launched a blog in which I illustrate pairs of words that are spelled differently but pronounced the same (homophones). I post a new pair of images every week, so it’s called Homophones, Weakly. Get it? Har har. 

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2016 Margaret Flockton Award

The Margaret Flockton Award commemorates the contribution Margaret Flockton made to Australian scientific botanical illustration. The Foundation & Friends of the Botanic Gardens, as a major fundraising organization and supporter of the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, is pleased to sponsor the Margaret Flockton Award for Excellence in Scientific Botanical Illustration.

In the bicentennial year of the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Margaret Flockton Award Exhibition will be held in the Joseph Maiden Theatre from Saturday, April 9 to Sunday, May 1, 2016.

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Watercolor on Canvas

watercolor on canvasAs a watercolor artist, I have always wanted to create art that could be handled in the same way as an oil or acrylic (i.e., framed and hung without glass or backing). Works on paper are beautiful, and I love the way the paper and pigment interact. But when it comes to creativity, I want to stretch the boundaries so as to have as many options for expression as possible. Another consideration, for me, is the apparent value perception through which the general public views works on canvas versus those on paper. Those of us who work in the art field know that watercolor paintings are just as durable as works on canvas. We see plenty of evidence of these watercolors in museums, with over 500-year-old illuminated manuscripts, masters’ watercolor paintings, naturalist, and botanical paintings that are holding up just as well as oils. Despite this, the popular perception is that works on canvas or wood panels are more valuable, and the “Sold” price for canvas vs. paper (as reported by curators) reflects this perception.

The Ultimate Inspiration

Earlier this year, I visited the J Paul Getty Museum’s hosted exhibition, J.W. Turner: Painting Set Free. Within this exhibit, which included approximately 50 paintings on loan from the Tate Gallery and various private collections, there was a room of about twenty rare watercolors. While examining these paintings in great detail, I was amazed at the way Turner handled watercolor on paper much the same as oils on canvas. How did he achieve these visually stunning paintings?

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Call for Exhibits: Fauna and Flora Illustrata

Red Oak: Quercus rubra Watercolor on Vellum Wendy BrockmanThe Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (MLA) and the Andersen Horticultural Library (AHL) are excited to begin a long-term project, Flora and Fauna Illustrata (FFI), to document, in scientifically accurate fine art, the plant and animal species that occur at the Arboretum.

> Red Oak, Quercus rubra, Watercolor on Vellum, Wendy Brockman

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Call for Exhibits: 2016 Pollinator Poster

The Pollinator Partnership is seeking an artist to render the 2016 Pollinator Poster, this year focusing on “Trees for Bees.” To apply to illustrate the poster, please send a one-page narrative concept idea with a draft sketch to Kelly Rourke at [email protected] by Friday, December 11, 2015, by 3 PM PST. Final illustration will be due by Monday, February 1, 2016.

Background

The Pollinator Partnership (P2) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization-- the largest organization in the world dedicated to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems. Birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small mammals that pollinate plants are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food. They also sustain our ecosystems and produce our natural resources by helping plants reproduce. Unfortunately, they are in trouble. Some species have seen a 90% decline in their populations over the last decade.  Without the actions of pollinators, agricultural economies, our food supply, and surrounding landscapes would break down.

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Orphan Works Legislation

If you are concerned about your ability to make a living as an artist under proposed changes to copyright law, it is time to act. Over 2600 letters were written in the initial comment period. Most by artists concerned about or against the proposed changes to copyright.  But now it is time to put a nail in the coffin. Below is a communication we are passing on from the Illustrators Partnership. Please take some time to read some of the letters written and either write a first one for yourself (in case you missed the initial opportunity), or comment on points made by others.  This is important to show that those interested in gaining access to your art, on their terms, will not have the last say...

Your GNSI Board of Directors supports strong protection for your copyrights and urges you to stand up and do the same. Writing a letter to the Copyright Office will have a real impact.

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GNSI members featured in the Creators Project

Several GNSI members’ art and commentary are featured in the blog, Why Science Illustration Still Needs a Human Touch, on The Creators Project, a global celebration of creativity, arts and technology. The article features a discussion on the need for Illustration as opposed to the other visual media photography. 

Launched in 2009 with Intel as a founding partner, the platform features the works of visionary artists across multiple disciplines who are using technology to push the boundaries of creative expression and worldwide includes a number of innovators in the arts, sciences, and communication fields.

Copyright Changes? See What People Are Saying

In early August, we urged you to write the Copyright office to let them know how copyright affects you and your business. The office is proposing changes to the Copyright Law that would impair your ability to conduct a viable art business. We hope you responded. Now the copyright office has posted the letters submitted (as a very large PDF).  They also extended the comment period to October 1st, so you can comment on the letters submitted or add a comment if you missed the initial opportunity.

Below is a report on how to access the comments or add a new one, from the Illustrators Partnership. The issue is not settled, and your attention is still needed.

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Nancy Halliday is awarded GNSI Emeritus Membership

Nancy HallidayNancy Halliday’s seemingly inexhaustible contributions to science illustration and to the GNSI were honored this July at the Annual Conference in Glenside, PA. Nancy, a GNSI member since 1969, was awarded Emeritus Life Membership status by GNSI President Amelia Janes, along with our thanks for her dedication and service.

Rediscovering the Benefits of Drawing

In a new blog entry on Scientific American's Symbiartic, GNSI member Dr. Jennifer Landin makes the case for the importance of drawing in everyone's life, starting with some background of the early 20th century. Then she tells of the results with her own student's efforts and the impact drawing has on one's life. Read about her course and how it benefits biology (not art!) students in their studies and careers.

2015 GNSI Educational Series Workshop: announcement

Sign up now for a special 3-D digital illustration workshop with instructor Chuck Carter at the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center, the University of Maine, OronoOctober 23 through 25, 2015. The workshop "Visualizing Dinosaurs: Introduction to Science Illustration in 3-D" is sponsored by the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators as part of its continuing education series.

Participants will create a dinosaur scene in the 3-D program MODO®, learning how to render, add lighting, and make a series of images. The images will then be imported into Adobe®After Effects™ to explore basic animation, to create organic animation using the puppet tool, and how to use the 3D workspace to create a final animation.

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Call for Volunteers: Guild Handbook of Scientific Illustration

Did you know the GNSI publishes a comprehensive Handbook of Science Illustration? Do you know the book? Do you use the Handbook regularly, or not at all?

We would like to hear from you about your knowledge of the Handbook and how you use it or don't use it. We have posted a brief SURVEY ON THE WEB (http://form.jotformpro.com/form/52585213694966) and ask that you respond whether or not you have a copy of the Handbook or use it, or even if you have never heard of it. The survey results will form the basis of an article in an upcoming issue of the Journal, and help us market this valuable resource.

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GNSI President-Elect Linda Feltner Talks About Her Career

Linda FeltnerGNSI President-elect Linda Feltner discusses her career and background with the Sierra Vista Herald, Arizona:

"Just about anywhere you go throughout the western hemisphere, Linda has either been there or her interpretive illustrations of wildlife habitats — accurate in every detail — have informed and guided your visits to national parks, museums and myriad other natural attractions.

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GNSI member Mark Klingler featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Mark KlinglerPaleoartist and GNSI member Mark Klinger is featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Given Mark A. Klingler’s occupation, it’s no surprise he spent his childhood hiking through the woods looking for bugs, birds and other wildlife and representing what he saw with pencils and paintbrushes.

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Call for Exhibits: The Afterlife of Trees

The Afterlife of Trees is an exhibit inspired by scientific research on tree decomposition. The Arts Center invites artists living or working in Oregon to submit artwork as a Request for Proposals to be considered for the January-February 2016 exhibit.

We invite artists to use the idea of “rot” or decomposition of trees in the forest as a starting point for the creation of artwork. This may include interpretations and visualizations of the concept of tree decay, research into their decay, as well as the environments where tree decay and research takes place. The ecological phenomena of tree decomposition in situ may inspire work of visual narratives, abstracted beauty, and ecological comments. While the artwork needs to deal with the concept of the decomposition of a tree(s) in the forest, it does not have to be about the specific site in the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest. Additionally, the exhibit will feature artwork with connections to science, but is not limited to that; poetic representation of situations of decomposition is also encouraged.

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Call for Exhibits: Wild Mushrooms and Functional Fungi

The Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History seeks nature illustrators who wish to exhibit artwork depicting mushrooms, lichen or similar natural growth in our exhibition.  Artists working in any medium are encouraged to apply.

Poisonous Mushrooms © Zeke Smith

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Member Spotlight: Marlene Hill Donnelly

Marlene Hill DonnellyI am not a plumber. My extended professional artist family hoped I would take after my great-grandfather, become a successful plumber and make a great living, but a different direction called.

My focus from a very early age was nature and science, though initially from a culinary viewpoint—my mother said that as a toddler I was an avid hunter-gatherer, focused on berries and fat insects in our wild backyard.  Fortunately, this pursuit soon gave way to sketching, where my early hunting skills still came in handy.

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GNSI Member "OC" Carlisle Featured In Southern Distinction Magazine

"OC" (C Olivia) Carlisle is a recent graduate in Scientific Illustration from the University of Georgia. She studied medical, botanical and entomological subjects, creating detailed renderings using carbon pencil and dust, graphite, watercolor, pen & ink, in addition to computer illustration and graphics techniques as well as fine art. Carlisle's fine art, photography and scientific illustration have been shown in invitational, solo and juried exhibitions in the Southeast and beyond, collecting several awards along the way. Read about her experiences and goals in this article.

Southern Distinction magazine is a bi-monthly full-color magazine with a distribution throughout Northeast Georgia and the Golden Isles; online subscriptions will begin with the August-September issue.