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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.

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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[Compiled] 2015 Annual GNSI Conference


2015 conference logo


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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.

Leaf Rubbing as Educational Outreach

Leaf Rubbing by Gail SelfridgeWhen I was a kid the best part of going back to school was getting all new art supplies: crayons, pencils, erasers, paper, and a set of Prang watercolors complete with brush. That was BC (before computers) when we had low-tech materials and used some pretty basic techniques. One day the teacher showed us how to make crayon rubbings. We ran around making rubbings of all kinds of things, but my favorite was finding and using leaves. From those humble beginnings, I developed an interest in making scientifically accurate plant drawings, so by the time I got to high school Biology class I had a corner on the market of plant illustration, and firmly believe it was what allowed me to actually pass the class.

Making rubbings is still a good way to introduce the appreciation of nature and science, and it can be used as part of educational outreach programs for both children and adults. As a one-time event, in which the rubbing becomes the end product, is particularly good for dealing with younger children who have much shorter attention spans and a need for hands-on activities.

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Artists Selected for Focus On Nature XIII

The New York State Museum has announced the artists selected for the Focus on Nature XIII exhibition. The GNSI has a strong showing of members! Twenty-five of the seventy-one artists chosen are GNSI members and are listed below. Congratulations!

Entries to FON XIII came from eighteen countries and the chance of having artwork selected for this biennial exhibition is about 17%. Because of the large number of entries, there is a two-step process to the jury selection. Initially the five jurors (three scientists and two artists/illustrators) review the works independently and score them, 1 (favorite) 2 (possibly) 3 (not for this exhibit). Based on these scores, each piece is then assigned another rating of 1-5. When the jury meets in person, they start looking at pieces that have the highest scores (1, then 1.2, 1.5 etc.). In the end, the jury reviews all pieces to make sure they feel it is a balanced exhibition in terms of the FON criteria (media, subject matter, educational value, etc.) The high quality of the work makes choices exceptionally difficult and many excellent pieces cannot be included.

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Book Reviews: Botanical Illustration

Introduction

Like many of you, I am curious when a book asserts itself as an authoritative survey of a favorite subject. Charged by Gail Guth with reviewing Martyn Rix’s The Golden Age of Botanical Art, I chose four other titles for comparison and will present summaries of each in chronological order of publication. The Martin Rix book is number four.

The Art of Botanical IllustrationThe earliest of the series discussed here is The Art of Botanical Illustration by Wilfrid Blunt (with the assistance of William T. Stearn), my volume published by Collins, London, 2nd ed., 1967 (1st edit. 1950). Compared to the number of images in the other books, this one has a modest 46 color plates; 32 black and white plates; 61 illustrations; and 18 figures to amplify the text. Having the 3 appendices and a comprehensive index contributes significant value to this volume. The 2015 reprint of the 2001 edition of the book has a steep list price of almost $70 but includes many more illustrations than the original. Of the four volumes considered here this one is the one most clearly directed towards educating the aspiring or even professional botanical artist in technique as well as offering an appreciation of the field’s history. It is also the most historically comprehensive (even trumping Rix with a photo of a Paleolithic plant carving). William Stearn is the notable author of Botanical Latin, so you can be sure this book brings both the expertise of the trained botanist as well as that of the professional artist. It’s important to remember that Blunt was born in 1901 and writes much in the insightful, detailed style of that day. Of all of them, it’s probably the most helpful to the intermediate and advanced botanical artist and teacher because of its comprehensiveness.

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