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Call for Volunteers: Social Media Mavens, 2016 GNSI Annual Conference

Interested in helping the world see what a GNSI conference is all about?  If you have social media experience and would like to work with the GNSI Social Media Committee, contact Diana Marques or Fiona Martin to express your interest. Find a more detailed description of what's involved and the perks below.

Social Media Assistant for the GNSI Annual Conference Core Conference, Santa Cruz CA, July 3-6

So you’re interested in helping the world see what a GNSI conference is all about? Great! We are looking for someone who:

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Pocket Handbook for the Twitterilliterate

During the first week of March, the Twittersphere becomes an orgy of science-related art as the Scientific American Symbiartic blogging team (consisting of Glendon Mellow, Kalliopi Monoyios, and Katie McKissick) lead the charge for their annual #sciart tweetstorm. Some brave GNSI members took the opportunity to see what Twitter was all about with varying degrees of satisfaction. If you're still scratching your head about what all the Twitter fuss is about, this article is for you.

So what exactly is Twitter? Perhaps you have the impression that it's a way for you to update everyone who cares (is that nobody?) about what you had for breakfast, who just flipped you off in the parking lot, why you desperately need a coffee, etc. If that's your impression, I don't blame you for ignoring it! But maybe you've heard friends and colleagues who appear slightly more "in-the-know" when it comes to social media wax poetic about the power of Twitter. You trust these folks and are intrigued, but good grief, is it just another instant messaging thingie? A group texting tool? A Facebook wannabe with the weird constraint of 140 characters?

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In Memoriam: Carolyn Gast

Portrait of Carolyn Gast, painted by her husband, Michael Gast in 1984. Photo by Michael Nicholson.Carolyn Bartlett Gast, the primary founder of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, passed away in September 2015. Carolyn may have left us, but certainly, her efforts to establish an organization to bring scientific illustrators together has flourished beyond her expectations since GNSI became a reality in 1968.

> Portrait of Carolyn Gast, painted by her husband, Michael Gast in 1984. Photo by Michael Nicholson.

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GNSI-DC chapter: Disorder is Systematically Organized

A video recording of Sandra Schachat's lecture for the GNSI-DC Chapter is now available on the GNSI's YouTube Channel and below.

Sandra R. Schachat's work combines insect evolution and visual evidence in various ways: she has studied the evolution of moth and butterfly wing patterns, has examined fossil leaves for evidence of insect feeding, and has explored how the history of art can be used to understand evolving societal attitudes toward insects.

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Book Review: Nature Mandalas

Leopard Frog Leaping, Tim Phelps

There is no doubt that Tim Phelps is a very talented natural science artist: a quick glance at his faculty website at Johns Hopkins University reveals meticulously accurate illustrations of the dog musculoskeletal system, alternative routes for venous outflow from the human brain, techniques for carotid artery anastomosis, and others. 

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Call for Volunteers: Book Reviewers

From time to time GNSI is asked to review books that relate to science illustration. We are looking to compile a list of people to contact to conduct these reviews. What’s the catch? You need to read the book and write up your review for the Journal and the web in a timely fashion, but you get to keep the book(s) for your library! 

We have general guidelines for reviews. If you have time to read a book thoughtfully, and feel comfortable writing up your thoughts, we’d appreciate that you add your name to the list. We’ll then assign books as they come in. We will try to connect books with volunteers’ areas of interest; otherwise, we’ll do random selection so everyone has a chance to review. Please contact Gail directly at [email protected], and let her know your particular area of expertise or interest (botanical, zoological, paleo, art education, general illustration, or ...???)

GNSI member Ikumi Kayama speaks about web marketing strategies

Ikumi Kayama was recently interviewed by Petovera, a web marketing firm, on her web marketing strategies for landing new clients. Ikumi is the GNSI Board Recording Secretary, a TEDx speaker, and owner of Studio Kayama; she specializes in medical illustration. Check out the interview for web marketing ideas.

https://petovera.com/niche-marketing-example-tedx-interview/

Call for Exhibits: Exploring the World of Birds

The GNSI-Great Lakes Chapter invites all GNSI members living in states that border the Great Lakes to exhibit this spring at the Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods, Riverwoods, Illinois. The Brushwood Center seeks to nurture art, nature, and discovery in its mission of environmental education.

Prospectus

Subject matter can include birds, nests, eggs, bird-related plants, etc.  All media and styles will be considered. Brushwood Center hosts six art exhibitions a year that explore the intersection of art, science, and nature.  They exhibit work in all visual media (photography, sculpture, painting, mixed media, drawing and video) that is inspired by, critiques or reflects on the natural world. 

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Call for Volunteers: 2016 GNSI Annual Conference

The Santa Cruz Conference team is making wonderful progress getting this conference together on very short notice. Your help is needed. If you would like to know more contact Conference Chair Robin Carlson: [email protected]

Volunteer Positions Open

Auction - organize donations at the conference, supervise auction setup, keep records of donations and sales. A busy job, but a relatively short one!

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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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Digitizing the Collection: evaluating photogrammetry

Increased demand for access to museum collections is driving a trend toward specimen digitization. Three dimensional (3D) digital models provide researchers with rapid on-line access and augment publications. The availability of accurate 3D digital models reduces the need for museums to loan specimens, and thus reduces the risk of loss and/or damage.

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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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Book Review: Name Those Grasses; Identifying Grasses, Sedges and Rushes

Grasses are notoriously difficult to identify, ask any botanist. Having evolved along the same basic physical plan and superficially resembling one another, grasses must be identified by studying tiny structures that cannot be observed without magnification. By default, this has traditionally been left to experts, who still have difficulty separating species. Because of the exactitude involved, written descriptions in botanical atlases and floras are written by and for experts. Most laypeople turn away in bewilderment, wishing that some interpretive guide existed that could help to decipher the code.

And now one does! Ian Clarke’s book, Name Those Grasses; Identifying Grasses, Sedges, and Rushes helps those without specialized knowledge use identification manuals and botanical keys and clarifies the identification of grasses and grass-like plants. Stuffed with practical information, the book is designed, written, and profusely illustrated with ink/scraperboard drawings and color photographs by Clarke. He knows his topic well, having worked in the botanical field for more than 40 years, first for the University of Melbourne School of Botany and later for the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria’s identification and information services. He has a longtime interest in botanical illustration and has served on the selection panel for many botanical art exhibitions.

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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.